GALENA — On a pleasant autumn Saturday morning, the Delaware County Friends of the Trail (DCFT) gathered to celebrate its own demise.
“After 20 years of hard work, our goal of completing the Ohio to Erie Trail is in sight,” said member Jeanna Burrell. “As such, the group has decided to disband.”
The Ohio to Erie Trail, also known as OTET, goes from the Ohio River to Lake Erie, 326 miles in all. It consists of portions of 22 different existing trails, on former canal towpaths or former railways converted to walking or bicycle riding trails. OTET starts in Cincinnati and goes through Columbus and ends in Cleveland. On its way, it passes through Delaware County in Genoa Township, Galena and Sunbury.
DCFT said OTET uses the Big Walnut Community Trail, Galena Brick Trail, Genoa Township Trail, Hoover Scenic Trail and Meredith State Trail in Delaware County.
However, the trail has a few gaps here and there in the county and the state, and that’s where the “Friends of the Trail” concept comes into play. These nonprofits work to get funding to connect and pave in those gaps and remove the portions that require street or road sections in order to make the trail truly recreational. Funding is through donations and grant writing.
“Delaware County Friends of the Trail (DCFT) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the health and safety of the citizens of Delaware County through the promotion, planning and building of multi-use trails for recreation and transportation,” the organization’s website states. “DCFT is focused on completing the Delaware County portion of the Ohio to Erie Trail.”
OTET’s website said 84%, or about 275 miles of the entire route, is designated as trail way, with 51 miles, or about 16%, on separated paved trails.
“We like to talk in terms of what’s left to do,” said OTET Executive Director Lisa Daris. “Since I’ve come on in 2016, we’ve had the most ribbon cuttings in the state for sections here in Delaware County.”
What’s left in the county is connections from Genoa to Dustin and Plumb roads, as well as connecting Sunbury to Centerburg. The Gazette was told by those in attendance that they expected completion of these connections next spring.
DCFT board members and volunteers, current and former, along with local dignitaries, met at the Galena Brick Trailhead to take a photo Saturday. As soon as they did that, they started walking down the trail. Later, they had a lunch catered by Glass Rooster Cannery at the Galena Village Hall.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.