Under the capable leadership of John Lane the boating program has significantly expanded this year. There were impromptu Kayak Schools, winter roll sessions, new Columbus Outdoor Pursuits boating T-shirt, a trip south to warmer climes in March, many of the usual boating schools, a boating film festival in March, a cleanup of the Hocking River, and trips nearly every weekend.
There are so many great bicycling events that accommodate hundred of participants that it is easy to think that bicycling is the dominate activity of Columbus Outdoor Pursuits. The boating program which by its nature is going to have fewer participants. It would be a strange boating event indeed to have 3000 people on the river at the same time. Year after year great Ohio Bicycle Adventure has been filled to capacity of 3000 with many more turned away. This the twelfth year is no different with the seven day tour visiting Fremont, Tiffin, Marion, Bellefontaine, Bluffton and Bowling Green. A few of the high notes of the week included: lunch stop and tour of Seneca Caverns; lunch stop in Harrod (pop. 700) in the outstanding veterans park; lunch stop in Upper Sandusky (where they really know how to take care of Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure); snack stop in Beaverdam (pop. 500) with helicopter rides; a beautiful orchestrated bike parade in Fremont jump-started by a cannon boom and ending up at the fabulous Hayes Presidential grounds; the portajohn fire in Tiffin; the Marion Community Band; and the swing sounds of Stan Sterner Band.
The third XOBA started at Fort Recovery on the Indiana line and wandered through the center of Ohio visiting Wapakoneta, Kenton, Bucyrus, Loundonville, Dalton, Urichsville and ending at the Ohio River at Connerville. One hundred twenty five participants had a great time under the leadership of tour director Randy Bennett.
BACKPACKING & HIKING
Hiking trips included Dawes Arboretum, New Albany County Club, Buck Creek State Park, Glen Helen Nature Preserve, Lobdell Reserve, Great Seal State Park, Zaleski State Park, John Bryan State Park, Wakeena Nature Preserve, Stages Pond, Highland Nature Sanctuary, Malabar Farm, The Wilds, Taft Reserve Park, Oak Openings Park, Wildcat Hollow, Mohican State Forest, Tar Hollow State Park, Alum Creek State Park, Black Hand Gorge, Old Worthington, and Old Man’s Cave.
And then there is backpacking. Trips included were Pacific Crest Trail Borrego Mexico to Springs area in Colorado, C & O Towpath Maryland, Great Smokey Mountains, Oregon, Cascades, Virginia Appalachian Trail, Maine Appalachian Trail, Quebec Run Pennsylvania, and Red River Gorge Kentucky.
The hiking and backpacking program provided an enjoyable time. This is what Columbus Outdoor Pursuits stands for, recreational opportunities while living and traveling simply.
PARTY IN THE PARK 2000
July 14, 15 & 16 brought many of the activities together with a three day outing for hiking, boating, cycling, rock climbing, swimming and most importantly, food. This year the location was the 4-H Camp Clifton Main Camp next to John Bryan State Park. After participating in their own activity the group came together each evening for a party in the park.
In the two years since Columbus Outdoor Pursuits became a separate organization the memberships has grown to nearly 2000, a 15% increase. Assets have doubled in this time.
This year more than 3500 participants enjoyed the annual bicycle trip to Portsmouth and back on Mothers Day weekend.
THE OHIO TO ERIE TRAIL
In 1990 Tom Barlow came up with the idea for across Ohio Rails-to-Trails project. He presented the plan to Governor Richard Celeste’s Ohio Bicycle Advisory Committee. With the help of Tom Barlow and Ed Honton the committee determined that a route using the existing Little Miami Scenic Trail in Southwest Ohio to connect to the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area in the Akron-Cleveland area would benefit many Ohioans. A “Feasibility Study” for The Ohio to Erie Trail was written and presented to the State of Ohio. It was approved in 1991. Funds were needed to organize this nonprofit and Columbus Outdoor Pursuits stepped forward to help with start-up cost. Columbus Outdoor Pursuits helped in other ways by allowing the first brochures to list their post office box and phone number as the contact.
The Ohio to Erie Trail needed money to purchase right-of-way so that local political subdivisions would step forward to build and maintain the paved trail. The idea of using excess income from the Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure was also a natural as the Board of Columbus Outdoor Pursuits had agreed from the beginning that excess of income over expenses would be used to benefit the bicycling community within Ohio. Ten miles of right-of-way were purchased from the railroads in Tuscarawas County, 3 miles in Madison County , 6 miles in Greene County and in 2001 3 more miles in Madison County.
Columbus Outdoor Pursuits has helped other organizations with the proceeds of the Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure: repairing th T. J. Evans Trail in 1993, and purchasing bicycles to start police on bikes in several Central Oho Communities.
Ed Honton, President of The Ohio to Erie Trail stated “without Columbus Outdoor Pursuits support the Trail would never have happened. The The Ohio to Erie Trail Fund Directors are extremely grateful for the continued support of Columbus Outdoor Pursuits.”
COP recently lost one of its favorite sons, Jerry was a zealous canoeist and member who led his life looking and traveling forward. He helped make AYH a very special 20-25 years ago. He was a trip leader, canoe instructor, and friend to many. His influence and example can still be seen in Columbus Outdoor Pursuits.
HIGHLANDS NATURE SANCTUARY
A $20,000 contribution was made from COP’s general fund to the Highland Nature Sanctuary in Highland County. This is to secure a parcel known as Elders Landing to extend and preserve from either commercial or residential development land along Paint Creek. While the total cost was in the $75,000 range, this contribution was very important to securing the land.