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Run the Riffles 2020 - MINI Urban Stream Adventure

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Salway Park

4336 Spring Grove Ave.

Cincinnati, OH 45223

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Come on Down to the Creek for Great Outdoor Week[end]!

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Join us for the 2nd Annual Mill Creek Alliance "Run the Riffles" Event!

****Seats are limited.  Once tickets are sold out, you will be put on a waiting list. If you are on the waiting list, consider stopping down at Salway Park at the time of the event to check on last minute seat availability. Enjoy one of our other events while you are there.

Join our Mini Urban Stream Adventure on the Mill Creek.  Paddling with the expert guides of the Mill Creek Yacht Club (MCYC) is the best way to experience the Mill Creek wonders while learning about our long-abused but surprisingly resurgent urban stream.  Fortunately, canoes and individual kayaks provide a >6 foot physical distance to maintain safe social distancing during COVID-19!

Opportunities for paddlers of every level.

  • 9 am: The morning starts with kayak time trials. A fun paddle around buoys and through riffles vying for the best time. Take a chance at winning on a 1/2 mile course through a set of riffles.
  • 9 -11:30am: BioBlitz! Walk the trails at Salway Park and learn about local species. Make observations using iNaturalist app and capture data to be included in the 2020 Mill Creek Bioblitz/Species Count.
  • 9 - noon: Explore macro invertebrates in the creek near Salway Park.
  • 11 am: A "Mini" Urban Stream Adventure from Salway to Yellow Bridge. Put-in at Salway main ramp, paddle down to Yellow Bridge (~1.3 mile). This is a Paddle/Peddle Loop trip, with the return trip back to Salway on bike or by foot.
  • 11 - 12:30 pm: Urban Hike along the Mill Creek Greenway trail, investigating ecosystems as well as the built environment along the trail. We will be looking at some of the restoration projects in the creek as well as some of the installation’s along the trail. These include the constructed riffles that mitigate the low head dam that cuts across Mill Creek, the edible forest garden located on the banks of Mill Creek at Freedom Tree, as well as discussing the CSO’s (Combined Sewer Overflows) that we will pass along the way.
  • 11:30 am: Experience the Mill Creek by paddling upstream from Salway Park to a small sandbar just below the Clifton Avenue Bridge. A short and easy paddle with a stop on a sand bar for exploration. Round trip, put-in and take-out is less than 30 minutes, from Salway boat ramp.

Registration for the paddle is open now through noon on Friday, September 24th, or until all available seats have been reserved. Seats are limited.  Once tickets are sold out, you will be put on a waiting list. If you are on the waiting list, consider stopping down at Salway Park at the time of the event to check on last minute seat availability. All paddlers must sign a waiver form before embarking on the trip.  Paddle in one of our canoes or use your own kayak.  Sturdy foot wear (not opened toed) is required.  Come prepared for sun & bugs, wet & mud. In order to keep the experience safe for all participants, all paddlers should wear masks, maintain social distance, sign up in pairs for canoes and singles for kayaks, stay home if not feeling well, and be prepared to have temperature taken upon arrival.

Opportunities in this section include: stream life (plants and animals-load of fish, turtles, heron and more), interesting architecture and bridges, familiar route via unfamiliar territory, highly populated, hands dirty/feet wet, and so much more.

Challenges on this section of the stream include: jagged and sharp objects in stream, required portaging of your canoe or kayak, low-head dams that can be hard to navigate, slow current and shallow waters during dry spells, strainers – overhanging branches where water current and depth are navigable, rocky riffles that are difficult to paddle or portage.

See below for important safety information before registering. 

Important Safety Information: 

Ohio EPA recommends no contact with waters of the Mill Creek because it can have high levels of fecal coliform bacteria and other pathogens from time to time, especially within 48 to 72 hours of a rainstorm heavy enough to cause combined sewer overflows. 

It is your personal choice on whether to participate, based largely on the strength of your immune system and your willingness to take a calculated risk.  If you have an open cut or weakened immunities, you should not go.  You should be 18 or older to be on the water with us.

You will need to be sure-footed in some places.  Be ready to climb out of the canoe to get past shallow spots and low-head dams.  Potential safety hazards include sudden drop-offs, hidden holes, foot entrapments, slippery algae, submerged obstacles, jagged objects and sealed bottles with volatile methadone ingredients.  Germicidal gel and a simple first-aid kit will be available.

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Salway Park

4336 Spring Grove Ave.

Cincinnati, OH 45223

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