Exploring Pymatuning Creek

ORANGEVILLE — As Kinsman officials wait to hear from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources on whether Pymatuning Creek will be officially designated as a “state wild scenic river,” local and state officials took kayak and canoe rides on the river to explore and view the area.

If the creek receives the designation, it will be the first in Trumbull County to receive the honor.

Kinsman Trustee Greg Leonhard said the river travels through both Trumbull and Ashtabula counties, including Kinsman, north into Ashtabula County to the tributary headwater west of Andover and Cherry Valley.

He said 14 Kinsman and Ashtabula officials, and representatives from Army Corp of Engineers and Ohio Department of Natural Resources took part in a recent canoe and kayak ride on the river starting at the dam area in Orangeville.

Bob Gable, scenic rivers program administrator for ODNR, said a report was completed on getting the river designated as “scenic and wild” in Columbus

“We want to raise the awareness of what we are trying to do. Kayaking on the river is getting bigger and bigger,” Leonhard said.

Gable said this is the 50th anniversary for scenic rivers in Ohio.

Leonhard said with the anniversary that is one of the reasons the trustees are trying to get the destination.

“We will be the only one in Trumbull County with this designation. Ashtabula has four already,” Leonhard said.

Matthew Smith with ODNR said Pymatuning Creek is a wetland stream with wetland areas, sandhill cranes, bald eagles and northern pike.

State Reps. Michael O’Brien (D-Bazetta) and State Rep. John Patterson (D-Jefferson) were among those on the river tour.

Gable said the request will be reviewed by the ODNR director and decide whether Pymatuning Creek will or will not receive the designation of “state wild and scenic.” If approved, there will be a 30-day comment period before it is finalized.

Smith said there have been support from political subdivisions supporting the designation.

He said the river is also evaluated for water quality, conservation of local resources and biological diversity

If designated, Pymatuning Creek will become the 15th river in 50 years to receive the designation since the scenic river program was started in 1968.

“This does not happen a lot. It is a badge of honor to get this designation. This designation is prestigious for the river and the community around the river,” Gable said.

Vernon Trustee Walter Horodyski said he likes the wildlife of the area.

“It is unbelievable the wildlife by the river. I hope to get the designation,” he said.

Patterson said through research there is only one other county in the nation i Tennessee with three scenic river designation likes Ashtabula.

Patterson said in Ashtabula the Conneaut River, Grand River, and Ashtabula River are all designated “scenic” and parts of Grant and Conneaut are designated “wild,” which is “a rare designation to achieve.”

“If we can get this river certified as scenic all four major tribuatries — three north in Ashtabula and one south of Ashtabula, will be designated,” Patterson said.

In 2018, 14 rivers in Ohio have been designated as scenic and wild rivers, through the ODNR Division of Parks and Wildlife which determine the designation.