Lorain County Parks Adds Boat Trail

Black River in Lorain County, Ohio

This summer, Lorain County (Ohio) Metro Parks will add a 27-mile (43 km) long water trail for canoes, kayaks and other paddle boats.x1 The trail starts at the park system’s Vermilion River Reservation, goes down the Vermilion River to Lake Erie, hugs the lake shore eastward for eleven miles, then heads up the Black River to the Black River Reservation. Unlike the park system’s bike and hiking trails, the water trail needs no acquisition, grading or paving. The freedom to travel the water trail is ancient, and kept by Ohio law – basically, the public may travel any waterway that can float a canoe.x2 What the park system adds to the trail are boat ramps, parking lots near the ramps, and some mileage markers. The park system will also issue maps and any hazard warnings — such as low water, log jams, and, presumably, choppy lake waters. A privately-owned kayak rental shop stands near one ramp to the Black River in the city of Lorain.

27-mile-long boat trail (Google Map)

The Vermilion River cuts into the shale at Mill Hollow. (Lorain County Metro Parks)

Vermilion River at Mill Hollow (Back Roads and Beaches) Photo by Mark Teleha

Marina on the Vermilion River in the city of Vermilion (myphotoalbum.com)

Lorain Harbor lighthouse (ckpiros @ webshots.com)

Black River in Lorain, Ohio (Back Roads and Beaches Blog)

The boat trail passes under a hiking trail in the Black River Resservation. (Lorain County Metro Parks)

A Great Blue Heron takes off from the Black River (Back Roads and Beaches Blog)

See more Lorain County photos at Lorain County Photographer’s Blog.


1 ‘Metro Parks to dedicate boat trail’ by Alison Dietz, The (Elyria) Chronicle-Telegram, 2008-07-18

2 ‘Ohio Navigability Report’ – American Whitewater

Summary: Ohio is kind to recreational boaters. Ohio allows the public to use streams capable of floating recreational boats (e.g., kayaking and canoeing). Factors for determining whether the public has a right to use a stream (besides physical characteristics of the stream) include the stream’s history of public use for recreational boating and the existence of public access. There is some evidence that Ohio boaters may have the right to portage, although no definitive law on the subject exists.

State Test of Navigability: Navigation for pleasure and recreation is regarded as just as important as navigation for a commercial purpose by the Ohio courts.1) A watercourse in Ohio is navigable if it is capable of being used for recreational boating.2) If it is a naturally navigable watercourse, it is public. …

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By Quinn Hungeski – Posted at G.N.N. & TheParagraph.com

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Mark Teleha
14 years ago

The photo of the bridge reflected in the Vermilion River from the Back Roads and Beaches page is mine. Would you be so kind as to credit me for the photo or remove it?


Mark Teleha
14 years ago

Thanks a ton for the credit on the photo AND the link back to the blog.

Greatly appreciated!!