A grand opening event will be held for the Mad River Run at Eastwood MetroPark at 12:30 p.m. Monday, May 5. Enter at 1385 Harshman Road.
Part conservation, part recreation, the Mad River Run includes a kayak and canoe whitewater feature in the Mad River, river access points, and an area for observing paddlers or just enjoying the river. Construction was funded in part by a $100,000 donation from the Rotary Club of Dayton. Members will celebrate and commemorate the Mad River Run during the grand opening.
“The Rotary Club of Dayton is excited to support this new destination for free, active outdoor recreation and place where everyone can connect with the Mad River,” said Greg Birkemeyer, president of the Rotary Club of Dayton. “Enhancing our river assets is critical to making the Miami Valley an even better place to live, work and play.
“Recovery work after Dayton’s great flood of 1913 was the first relief project for Rotary International, so this was the perfect project for the Rotary Club of Dayton to support to commemorate our 100 years of service to the local community,” Birkemeyer added.
The Mad River Run also improved the aquatic habitat and safety characteristics of the river while providing a 4-mile paddling experience from Eastwood to RiverScape MetroParks.
“The Mad River Run is part of a renewed focus on rivers in our community, and this project accentuates a key river corridor that leads right into downtown,” MetroParks Executive Director Becky Benná said. “Improving outdoor recreation opportunities is a key component in attracting and retaining the workforce that will power our regional economy, as well as in strengthening Dayton’s vibrancy.
“We thank the Rotary Club of Dayton for its generous donation that has helped Five Rivers MetroParks’ fulfill its mission to protect the region’s natural heritage and provide outdoor experiences that inspire a personal connection with nature,” Benná added.
In addition to the new play areas for paddlers at Mad River Run, spectators can view the action from the riverbank. The river feature serves as a swiftwater rescue training classroom, and additional programs are planned for advanced paddling and maneuvering training in moving water.
“The features on the Mad River have helped meet the needs of the paddling community — not only for current paddlers and the new ones we gain daily, but for future generations,” said local paddling expert and enthusiast Lamar Jackson. “As a father of two, a paddler and instructor, I see the big picture of something like this and can assure you my children and I will be taking full advantage of what the current feature and planned features have to offer. The ease of access and location makes this a great place for instructional clinics for paddling or swift water rescue, and the location of the Mad River Run couldn’t be at a better spot for the public to see.”
In addition, those interested in fishing will benefit from deep water holes formed by the water flow around the River Run rock structures, where fish tend to concentrate to stay out of the river current.
“The Mad River Run is a great addition to the Miami Valley,” said Pete Ziehler of the National Association of Professional River Anglers. “It’s a place for anglers to seek fish pooled above and below the run. This also enables fly anglers to hone their skills with the calmness of the waters. This gem is really a keystone in the continued development of the waterways in the MetroParks system.”