The Ohio River Trail Council (ORTC) in partnership with the Port of Pittsburgh Commission, National Park Service, and the Pennsylvania Environmental Commission is developing a water trail system in Beaver County to connect with the Three Rivers Water Trail in Allegheny County, Pa. The Ohio River Water Trail Project goal is to provide safe access to our waterways while also providing connections to our history, ecology, geology, heritage, wildlife and economic stimulus.
The Ohio River Water Trail Project specifically provides for the expansion of canoe, kayak and rowing access along the Ohio River and its tributaries with the objective to add the Beaver River, Little Beaver Creek, Ohio River and Raccoon Creek to the Pennsylvania Water Trails System. Two or more access or launch points spaced no more than five miles apart is to be added to our local waterways. This development will permit the ORTC to apply for an official designation by the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission and the Pennsylvania Environmental Commission. This achievement will provide the ORTC mapping assistance and access to the Pennsylvania Water Trails logo. In addition, the Ohio River Water Trail will earn the right to be listed on the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission (PFBC) website and Paddle PA publication.
The Travel Industry Association of America reports that 55.1 million Americans are “Geotourists”, interested in sustainable and eco-tourism, including adventure tourism activities like kayaking and canoeing. Kayaking is one of the top ten adventure activities for baby boomers, following fishing, biking and hiking. According to the Outdoor Industry Association 17.8 million Americans participated in kayaking, canoeing and rafting in 2008, with 7.8 million paddling kayaks alone. Kayaking is named by many as the fastest growing outdoor sport, with millions taking part and millions more on the edge waiting for the opportunity to dip their first paddle into pristine lakes and roaring rivers.
Once the Ohio River Water Trail gains the recognition of a state water trail, this accomplishment will assist our partner communities to meet our shared goal of increased ecotourism and economic stimulus as well as improved utilization of our natural and recreational resources for our residents.
Our multi-municipal organization is committed to excellence and has passion for delivering outstanding results. The council is composed of a dedicated and visionary leadership to develop strategies and implement our initiative. We ask you to support us to capitalize on our strengths and assist us in implementing our vision.
A. Beaver River, Ohio River & Raccoon Creek Water Trail Proposal (Beaver County)
1. Raccoon Creek Water Trail Proposal (Beaver County)
Raccoon Creek Water Trail (existing) - length 24 miles:
The Raccoon Creek canoeing/kayaking trail was developed by a group of canoeing enthusiasts, called “Canoe Raccoon Creek,” in cooperation with the Beaver County Conservation District. The trail begins at the first put-in point in Murdocksville, at the Washington County border, and extends for more than 24 miles to the confluence of the creek with the Ohio River. Four other access points have been established: at Route 30 adjacent to Raccoon Creek State Park; Route 151 near the Beaver County Conservation District Environmental Education Center; Green Garden Road across from Green Garden Plaza; and Raccoon Creek Road south of Route 18.
Raccoon Creek Canoe Trails
Witherspoon Road to Raccoon Park….…..7 mi.
Raccoon Park to Independence Marsh.....5 mi.
Independence Marsh to Green Garden.....6 mi.
Green Garden Road to Rocky Bottom.....10 mi.
This water trail is seasonal since water levels are only high enough for canoes/kayaks in spring and early summer. The Raccoon Creek Trail is presently not an officially designated state water trail.
2. Little Beaver Creek Water Trail & Ohio River Water Trail Proposed (Beaver County)
The Little Beaver Creek is a wild and scenic area in Ohio and Pennsylvania. The Little Beaver Creek watershed is located primarily in Columbiana County in northeast Ohio, and in portions of Carroll County, Mahoning County, and western Pennsylvania, draining approximately 605 miles, of which 503 miles are in Ohio. The creek is protected by a number of classifications, including Ohio Wild and Scenic River and National Scenic River, as well as being part of Ohio's state park system. It is the only major river in Ohio to have dual State Wild and Scenic and National Scenic River designations. The creek empties into the Ohio River at Glasgow, Pa just east of East Liverpool, Ohio. Little Beaver Creek supports 63 species of fish, 49 mammal species, 140 types of birds and 46 species of reptiles and amphibians, including the rare and protected salamander known as the hellbender. It is an exceptionally clean waterway with a highly diverse ecosystem.
Little Beaver Creek and Ohio River Water Trail (proposed) - length 9 miles:
This nearly nine (9) mile long water trail would begin on Little Beaver Creek, in Ohio, at a put-in point at Grimm’s Bridge. The trail would follow the creek downstream to the Lock 57 Park in Ohioville Borough. From the Park, the trail will continue to the Ohio River and follow the river upstream to the Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge. In Pennsylvania, the refuge includes two protected islands, Phillis and Georgetown Islands. These islands are undeveloped and support a variety of bird life. From there, the paddlers would return to Lock 57.
3. Connoquenessing Creek Water Trail Proposed
Connoquenessing Creek Water Trail (proposed) - length 18 miles:
The scenic Connoquenessing Creek, which crosses the northeast corner of Beaver County, presents another opportunity for an 18-mile seasonal water trail. Access to the creek is being planned in Harmony, Butler County. Boats can also be put in at the former Rock Point Park, in Lawrence County, where the creek empties into the Beaver River. The Wild Waterways Conservancy recently purchased the land at the confluence of t he Connoquenessing Creek and Beaver River. There are currently no public access points along Connoquenessing Creek in Beaver County. A feasibility study is proposed to determine if there are locations that could be developed as additional access sites.
4. Beaver River Water Trail Proposed (Beaver County)
The Beaver River is a tributary of the Ohio River in Western Pennsylvania in the United States with a length of approximately 21 miles. It flows through a historically important coal-producing region north of Pittsburgh. The Beaver River is formed in Lawrence County by the confluence of the Mahoning and Shenango rivers at a point approximately 3 miles southwest of New Castle. It flows generally south, past West Pittsburg and Homewood, roughly parallel to the border with the state of Ohio. It receives Connoquenessing Creek west of Ellwood City and flows past Beaver Falls and New Brighton. It joins the Ohio at Beaver and Rochester, flowing between these two cities, at the downstream end of a sharp bend in the Ohio approximately 20 miles northwest of Pittsburgh. In the lower reaches near the Ohio River, the Beaver cuts through a gorge of underlying sandstone.
Beaver River Water Trail (proposed) - length 13 miles:
This water trail would extend the entire length of the Beaver River in the County stretching thirteen (13) miles from Lawrence County to the Ohio River. According to the Canoeing Guide to Western Pennsylvania and Northern West Virginia the Beaver River is canoeable from New Castle, Pa. (Lawrence County) to the Ohio River. Communities that are served by the water trail are New Castle, West Pittsburgh, Taylor Twp, Wampum, New Beaver, Elwood City, Koppel, Homewood, West Mayfield, White Twp, Eastvale, Beaver Falls, New Brighton, Patterson, Fallston, Bridgewater, Rochester and Monaca.
Trail users could put into the river, at Lawrence County. In addition, the Bevington Boat Launch has been recently completed on River Road, Taylor Township. The upper stretch of the river between Lawrence County and Beaver Falls is remote and scenic, surrounded by steep, forested riverbanks. The central portion of the river trail would pass through old river towns, and trail users would be required to portage their boats around three dams at Eastvale, Beaver Falls, and New Brighton. An additional boat launch is located at Rock Park, New Brighton.
The lower stretch of the trail would continue downstream, past Rochester Township to the Bridgewater launch area or Rochester Riverfront Park, where a boat access ramp exists and the Beaver County Rowing Association maintains its boathouse. From Rochester, the trail would continue to Bridgewater Crossing, where a boat dock will permit boaters to embark and disembark, and to the planned Beaver Riverfront Park, where a boat ramp has been incorporated in the design. In addition, boaters could put in at the Monaca boat launch across the Ohio River. This proposed water trail could be used in its entirety year round.
B. Shenango-Beaver WaterTrail Pilot Project Map (Lawrence County)
C. Ohio River Water Trail Proposal (Allegheny County)
The Ohio River Trail Council (ORTC) fully supports the Friends of the Riverfront Three Rivers Water Trail project in Allegheny County. The ORTC proposes a partnership to connect the proposed water trails in Beaver and Allegheny County and to provide additional launch points in Aliquippa and Moon Township along the Ohio River Land Trail. The length of the Three Rivers Water Trail from the Point is approximately fifteen (15) miles to the Beaver County line and the Ohio River Trail stretches twenty five (25) miles to the Ohio State line.
Ohio River Water Trail Proposed (Beaver County)
Please join the ORTC to assist in the development of this project.
- Beaver County Planning Commission Reports
- Beaver County Planning Commission Greenway Trail Plan
- Allegheny County River Dialogue: Water Trails
- Friends of the Riverfront Water Trails
- Washington County Greenways Plan
Authored by Dr. Vincent Troia, January 2009. Updated August 2010.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), tourism is the second largest industry in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. “Penn’s Woods” is teaming with wild resources and beautiful vistas. The Keystone State’s natural resorces are like a “magnificent gem on display” attracting visitors, who facilitate job growth in ecotourism-related opportunities like river rafting tours, canoeing and kayaking. In addition, visiting water trail users patronize the downtown restaurants, retail stores, hotels and bed & breakfasts, thereby building vibrant communities.
Three Rivers Water Trail