The Press Box: Ohio River Offers Summer Recreation
If you are a local you might have seen or heard about the city’s efforts to re-install the Allan Maxwell Memorial Boat Docks at the city’s public boat launch at the end of Charles Street on the Ohio River. The historic docks have been a part of the city’s history for more than 50 years. It’s a beautiful spot along the waterfront with views of the Sistersville Ferry crossing, and offers the public a bird’s eye view of the marina from above at the city’s Veterans’ Park. What began as a private club with boat owners owning and managing the docks, eventually evolved into a city owned marina after the docks were donated to the municipality from the original owners. In more recent years the docks have suffered some ups and downs with lower numbers of boating tenets, but the knock down blow came several years ago after major flooding destroyed the ramp granting access to the docks and eventually the docks themselves.
And maybe you are wondering how a Press Box article could possibly have anything to do with the Allan Maxwell Memorial Boat Docks; well I am here to tell you. The Ohio River offers many recreational and sporting activities to individuals and families throughout the summer and into the early fall. If you have never enjoyed the beauty of the Ohio River and its surrounding hillsides from a pleasure boat and live in this area, you are truly missing one of the gems for which this valley is famous. The beautiful blue skies, the lush green riverbanks and the reflective quality of a flat morning river combine to make your first time voyage one you will keep in your memory bank forever. We are truly fortunate to have so much beauty surround us here in Sistersville and the Ohio Valley. Now let’s see how we can utilize it better.
The return of the Allan Maxwell Memorial Boat Docks offers boat owners a place to easily slip their boat to gain quick access whenever time is available to enjoy a ride or adventure. Some of the activities power boats can offer to friends and family are water skiing, tubing and fishing. I don’t own a boat, but I used to for many years while living in a community along Lake Michigan.
Some of our favorite memories were made on the water exploring together as a family. Tubing was the water sport of choice for my kids.
It gives the rider lots of thrills depending on the speed of the power boat and the wake or chop of the water.
If you get the chance to tube, one thing to remember is always follow safe boating rules for water sports. No matter what, wear a PFD, use a spotter, know your equipment and your rider, drive responsibly and always check your surroundings before starting. Following these safety rules helps ensure a fun and safe day for everyone.
The Allan Maxwell Memorial Boat Docks will eventually offer public access to those families that don’t slip but still use the ramp to launch their boats. Once their boat is on the water, boat captains can pull around to the docks and pick up their party making it a safer access for everyone.
The old bricks that make up the Charles Street boat launch can become very slippery and dangerous to anyone trying to board a boat from street level.
For those people that enjoy a quieter river experience kayaking has gained in popularity over recent years. I personally have never tried it. I don’t think I could get my legs to fold in that position at this stage of the game, but it is a great way to get an up-close view of river wildlife and natural vegetation. A buddy of mine kayaks regularly and says it is a great upper body workout. And don’t forget some of the beautiful river homes along the banks. Many people in our community along the river take great pride in keeping both the front and the back of their homes in great condition enhancing the view from the water. If you’re looking for a business opportunity it seems kayak and canoe rentals might be the way to go, because I couldn’t find any stores with rental opportunities in the immediate area.
And I want to thank Mayor Rice and city council for seeing the value of replacing the city boat docks for our community. Much of the work was completed by the city crew all while trying to finish the installation of the water project piping and the new sewer line in town. Our city workers put in long days and often don’t hear how much they are appreciated. Hope they hear me.
And I can’t finish this Press Box without mentioning our own River Walk Trail. It is a beautiful path for a morning or evening stroll with many lovely views of the river. Several benches have been placed along the route to offer rest for those challenged by its length or grade. Runners and bikers are welcome to the trail, too. It is free to use and you usually bump into someone you know while out and about making it a social experience, too.
Two other local communities offer trails and docks. Paden City provides an enjoyable walking trail which extends along the city park close to their boat docks. Another riverside community within a few minute’s drive is New Martinsville. Their docks are conveniently located in the downtown area while their walking trail is designated along Hydrodrive. This trail leads to the dam and is approximately 2 miles one way in length. Also near the dam are many well known designated fishing spots.
We are truly fortunate to have all these healthy options in our backyard. These are the kind of outdoor activities that promote not only tourism, but the good health of local residents and visitors alike. There are federal, state and local grant applications that can be written for the purchase of equipment to attract the adventure seeker looking for the perfect escape along the Ohio. Our little communities just need to have a bigger vision of what we have and what we can build!