Bike to it! Paddle to it! Drive to it! Then go to the next one!

Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois. River mile 0 through river mile 981.

Frontier Boat LaunchParks are public places, places where ordinary people can view the river, get on the river in canoes, kayaks, motorboats, and sternwheelers, get into the river through wading, swimming, and diving, drink the water from the river, and eat its produce, including fish, mussels, and riparian plants. The Ohio River is one of the major rivers in the United States. It drains most of the eastern third of the United States. If you are looking at this website from any of 14 states in the United States — New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana or Ohio — you may be in or near the watershed of the Ohio River. Contaminants from the Ohio River are carried out past New Orleans and contribute to hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico.

“What can people learn about the ecology and history of the Ohio River when they visit the parks located along it?” is the question that motivates this research project. Hopefully we can learn a lot about the quality of its water, about the health of the fish, plants, and animals that live in, on, and around it, and about how humans use the river, both now and in the past.


In this project we survey all of the parks along the north side of the Ohio River from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Cairo, Illinois.  Click on a park to see more information about it!

For each park we ask what natural ecosystem services does it provide: tree cover and permeable surface? What is the landscape strategy used to design it? Can people access the river from the park? How can they access it? By looking at it from their car? By drinking its water or eating its fish? What amenities does the park afford to visitors? Finally, how much information does the park provide about the Ohio River?

These questions are addressed in two ways: by a graphic image that summarizes the qualities of the park and by a webpage that describes it in detail. The graphic above indicates that the park offers enormous amounts of information about the Ohio River. It has little tree cover, lots of impermeable surface, and an organized landscape design. The park is at the level of the riverside, and people can access the water by looking at it sitting in their cars or on a bench facing the river or via a dock and a boat launch. The park has a vault toilet, a drinking fountain, and lots of information. This park is the Frontier Boat Launch in Wayne National Forest, Washington County, Ohio.

August 2015