East Fork hike/bike trail opens - SW Ohio
WILLIAMSBURG – For nearly a decade, Mayor Mary Ann Lefker has been
beating the bushes to garner support for a 2.5-mile nature trail so
hikers and bicyclists can travel between this Clermont County village
and East Fork State Park.
Phase I of the Williamsburg-Batavia Hike/Bike Trail, which cost about
$250,000, will officially open to the public Friday. A ribbon cutting
is scheduled for 11 a.m. at the trailhead on Broadway.
“It’s a beautiful, unique trail,” Lefker said. “There are some hills,
twists and turns … and two scenic overlooks.”
It’s hoped that the trail, which has overlooks of the East Fork of the
Little Miami River in Williamsburg and nearby Harsha Lake in East Fork
State Park, will provide an economic boost to the village, Lefker
The 10,000-acre park draws 1 million visits annually, and the village
hopes some of those people end up spending money at restaurants,
antique shops and other stores in Williamsburg, Lefker said.
Those who use the trail can park and unload bikes at three sites:
Harmony Hill historical museum at 299 S. Third St., Community Park at
150 E. Main St. and the village parking lot at 285 W. Main St.
Deborah Clepper, a former Batavia Township trustee who is now county
recorder, worked with Lefker in initial planning of the trail.
Donations, grants and state funds helped pay for it, while County
Engineer Pat Manger’s office contributed labor.
The Clermont County Park District handled the money, and director
Chris Clingman dealt with state officials and other agencies to obtain
permission for the trail.
Ohio allocated $210,000 to build a hike-bike bridge over Cain Run,
which was key to connecting the village with the park, Clingman said.
“We just got the bridge in this past month,” Lefker said. “Everybody
here is using the trail already.”
It includes old roads that were abandoned after the Army Corps of
Engineers completed a dam in 1978 to create 2,160-acre Harsha Lake as
part of a flood-control project.
About $500,000 has already been lined up for Phase 2, which would
extend the trail to the campground in the park. Work is to begin next
year. It’s hoped that section of the trail will open in 2011.
The trail is to eventually span 15 miles, stretching from the village
of Williamsburg through Williamsburg Township and Batavia Township to
the village of Batavia. Total cost could top $3.2 million.
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