Recreation On The Blanchard
Did you know that according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, recreational paddling has nearly quadrupled since 2006? Ohio has more than 650 miles of designated water trails to explore, including one right in our own backyard. A portion of the Blanchard River running through and around Findlay has been designated as a water trail consisting of 37.6 miles of paddling pleasure. Although not a designated water trail beyond the last Findlay drop-in point, paddlers can continue west for approximately 17 miles on the Blanchard River and find multiple drop-in points along the way at Gilboa and Ottawa. The Village of Ottawa has an ideal launch site behind the Water Treatment Plant, known as Reservoir Landing, and if followed through the Village, an exit point at Arrowhead Park, known as Arrowhead Landing. This stretch of the Blanchard River provides a leisurely four mile journey through the Village.
Safety On The River
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources identifies the following paddling hazards on rivers and streams. These are the most common on Ohio's river and streams. Some are always present that represent an avoidable risk; others are related to weather conditions and water levels - still avoidable if you check your sources before deciding to go paddling.
Low Head Dams and Waterfalls:
Know the location of all lowhead dams and waterfalls on the river that you plan to boat. Under no circumstances should you attempt to boat over a dam. Small dams look harmless, particularly in swollen streams, but they are very dangerous because of the turbulence or hydraulic which may form at the base of the damn. Boats as well as people may become trapped in this hydraulic. Carry your boat around the hazard and launch at a safe distance downstream from all dams. Waterfalls should also be scouted and portaged. If possible, scout a river or stream in advance of any boating trip and plan your trip to avoid any dams or river obstructions.
Floods and Swift Water:
Paddlers should never boat on streams with water spilling out of the banks. High water causes hazards, such as low head dams, to become even more dangerous. Unseen obstacles, such as floating logs or submerged trees, may also threaten a boater. Flood levels are monitored throughout the state. Know the water conditions before you go.
River obstructions that allow water to flow through them, but which block or "strain" people and boats, are known as "strainers." They are frequently found in the form of overhanging branches and limbs, log jams and flooded islands. All strainers should be avoided, especially in swift water. At low water, overhanging limbs and island can be avoided and log jams are more exposed. In high and fast water, a paddler may not realize the danger until their boat is stuck or wedged.
If you watercraft capsizes, do not attempt to stand or walk if you are in swift-moving water. You might slip or be overcome by the current. If your foot gets pinned, the force of the current can push you under the water and hold you there. Always lay back to float in swift water with your feet up heading downstream, and swim to calm water before standing.
Hypothermia is the lowering of the body's core temperature. It can be caused by exposure to cold water but can also be brought on by chilling winds and wet weather or perspiration. When air and water temperatures combined do not exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit, hypothermia becomes a hazard. Boaters should be prepared for cold air and water by dressing properly, in wetsuits, drysuits or other protective clothing. Every boater should be aware of the symptoms of hypothermia and be knowledgeable of its treatment.