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On Saturday, May 16, come celebrate the Cuyahoga River during the 25th annual River Day event.

River Day was created out of a desire to get people out to spend some time along the Cuyahoga and its system of wetlands. This is the first year that the local community will participate in organized River Day activities, offering families the opportunity to experience this local treasure close to home.

At 11 am, visitors will have the opportunity to experience a guided hike through the Mantua Bog State Nature Preserve. This Preserve was designated as a National Natural Landmark, and is normally closed to the public. Visitors will have the rare opportunity to see this treasure, accompanied by an experienced guide. At 1 pm, another guided hike will be led through the nearby Tummonds State Nature Preserve and Glacial Esker Trail on Mats Road. Adam Wohlever from the ODNR Division of Natural Areas will guide these hikes. Meet at Buchert Park on E. High Street for the Mantua Bog hike by 10:45 am. Gather near Tummonds / Glacial Esker Trail on Mats Road at 12:45 for the final hike.

At noon, Lynn Vogel from Portage County Soil and Water will conduct a wetland metaphor activity for school-age kids at Mantua’s Buchert Park Pavillion. Shortly after, Crestwood teacher and naturalist Rosemary Krupar will provide an amphibian oasis activity. Throughout the day, student photography from Crestwood High School will be showcased at the park, as well. The photo exhibition was made possible through a grant from the Hiram Community Trust.

At 2:30pm, individuals or families are invited to enjoy a guided paddle in the undeveloped beauty of the upper Cuyahoga River. The Cuyahoga River was designated as an American Heritage River in 1999. This designation was given in order to highlight the distinctive natural, economic, agricultural, scenic, historic, and cultural characteristics, and the recreational resources that make the river unique.

“The river is a jewel of Portage County,” marveled Kendra Becker, owner of Camp Hi Canoe Livery in Hiram. She continued. “It’s a great place to be surrounded by the quiet of nature. This spring, we’ve seen warblers and other migratory birds; recently, my husband spotted a bald eagle.” The 25 miles of river used by Camp Hi Canoe Livery are also designated as a State Scenic River. From Burton, heading south to State Route 303, it is a woodland stream roughly 50 feet wide, with an average depth of two to three feet. A naturalist will be on hand to serve as a guide during the special River Day excursion.

The canoe trip will depart at 2:30 pm from the Camp Hi Canoe Livery on Abbott Road in Hiram. Camp Hi is offering a special River Day rental rate of $25.00 per 17-foot canoe, which can comfortably accommodate two adults and up to three small kids. Solo kayaks will be available at $15 per person. Pre-trip instruction, lifejackets, paddles and transportation back to cars are included.  Preregistration is required by May 13th, call (330) 569-7621 or visit camphicanoe.com to reserve your spot.

Whether you decide to canoe, bike, hike, view wildlife or simply enjoy the view, be part of River Day 2015.