Ohio, Meigs County, Reedsville
river mile 204
All of these US Army Corps of Engineers Locks and Dam parks provide important public amenities. Here at Belleville Locks and Dam, as elsewhere, a large mowed lawn, dotted with trees. A picnic shelter, picnic tables, grills. Elsewhere playgrounds or ballfields also appear. Often there is fishing. Sometimes there is information about the Ohio River. Occasionally, as at Hannibal Locks and Dam park, a museum of sorts.
Best of all, most of these Locks and Dam parks provide two of the services most lacking from most Ohio River parks: flush toilets, and drinking water. Here at Reedsville, there’s not only a drinking fountain — which works! — but also a spigot next to the restrooms. This creates an opportunity: Army Corps of Engineers: how about making camping one of the possibilities at the Locks and Dam parks? Is it possible? (It may be: the research team has never seen any “No Camping” signs at these parks.) Recreation is part of your mandate, and you already often serve fishermen. Widen the kinds of people you serve by including camping!
Not full service camping — already there are lots of wonderful Army Corps campgrounds at dams. Just simple what’s called “primitive camping.” No electricity, no sewer hookups, but a flat place with a clean restroom and water nearby. Paddlers and bicyclists could use those spaces, and occasional families with popups. These parks are definitely safe places: there’s someone there 24 hours a day. That would provide more publicity for your work. It also would help the economies of some of the small towns you’re located in. In this case, Reedsville does have one gas station/ convenience store with a small supply of provisions. It wouldn’t be hard to do: just add reservations for these parks to the online reservation service recreation.gov.
Reedsville provides a special opportunity. Usually there is no place for paddlers to exit from the river. Here at Reedsville the Corps has a small dock for their maintenance vessels, so one would need only slight modifications to take canoes and kayaks. That’s also an advantage here, particularly. Public launch ramps with families such as water and sewer are scarce along this part of the river, and those that do exist tend to be far from towns. So try it out, Army Corps!!!
Next park: Forked Run Ohio River Access
Field research October 2018