Little Beaver Creek
April 15, 16, 17, 2011



Watching the creek

The week prior to the Little Beaver Creek trip, Matthew Smith, administrator of the Northeastern Ohio Scenic River program, called Harold and Jock about the upcoming trip. He said that he would like to see ODNR and OHCRA work together. He wanted to bring several Watercraft Officers and Scenic River personnel to paddle with us. The only trouble was, the only day that they could paddle was Friday. Jock agreed to go over a day early and paddle with them.

On Wednesday, Matthew called Jock and said that the river was high, fast and thought that it might not be worth the time to come over on Friday and that Jock might not be able to get on the river. ODNR were going no matter what. They had dry suits and helmets to wear. Jock told him that he was going over Thursday evening and bringing a friend, Bevin Barnett, with him. Creeks like Little Beaver Creek come up fast and go down fast. It was agreed that everyone would meet at the primitive campground at Little Beaver Creek State Park, which was to be the clubs campsite for the weekend.

Friday morning around 9:30am a Water Craft officer from ODNR arrived with a trailer load of canoes. Shortly after that the other gentlemen arrived. Jock asked if that was everyone that was going to paddle. Someone responded that it was, except for the guy down there, "with the way too pretty canoe"--it was Tom Burger with his homemade cedar strip canoe. He had just gotten there and was setting up camp in the wrong spot.

A little after 10am, they shuttled two vehicles to the take out, which was a boat ramp over in PA. After coming back from the shuttle, Matthew made the introductions and everyone hit the river. It was smooth paddling for a while. Then it started twisting and turning along with rock shelves. With the rock shelves came standing waves, a couple feet high. There were several of these. Everyone took on water, especially where the north fork comes in. There was a long stretch of high standing waves.


Talking to Tom after the trip he said, "When we hit that long stretch of standing waves, I said to myself--what am I doing here?!!" He took on water over the bow and over the sides. He said, "Another 100 feet of them, I would have dumped," because of so much water in his canoe.

Talking to the ODNR people at lunch break, many of them had not seen that part of the river before because most of the time it's too low to paddle

It was a good day to paddle--sun shining and warm. The trip was approximately 10 miles long and took them a little over 2 hours. The feel was it benefited both groups and OHCRA should get more involved with ODNR as far as training novelist canoers. OHCRA would like to thank Matthew Smith for getting everyone together. It was a very rewarding experience.

Friday evening Harold and Laurie rolled in, followed by Tony and Alice. Paul Kerlin got into camp around 9:30 and had to set up in the dark. Sometime during the night the wind picked up and it started raining...and kept raining.

As Laurie and Alice were not paddling, we only needed one vehicle for shuttling. We were going up to Elkton to put in as there is an ODNR launch point there.

The first thing noticed after putting in was all of the trash coming down the creek--Styrofoam cups galore. They saw refrigerators among other things. In fact, after they got off the river they saw a fridge come floating down the river, along with whole trees. No one had any trouble on the river but, they still had to look out for rocks slightly underwater.

Dry spot

When Bevan & Jock got to the campsite Thursday evening, they put a stake at the water's edge. Every couple of hours they would put in another stake in. By the time they took off Friday morning the water had gone down probably a foot vertically. When they got back from paddling it was down even more. When they got up Saturday morning, it was a different story. It was STILL raining and the river was coming back up. When they finished paddling Saturday, looking at the stakes and the river, it was above the highest stake they had put in on Thursday and rising fast. Everyone was getting very uneasy about how fast the water was rising. Jock put everything, except the tent and sleeping bags, in the truck as he was getting ready for a quick exit. Tony and Alice had their teardrop camper and it was reconnected to the vehicle. Jock had a line picked out so when the water reached it, they would be out of there!! Fortunately, for them, the water did not get that high. The river came up, crested, and started receding, in about 4 hours. Everyone was glad of that!

It was a very pretty paddle Saturday, despite the rain. The water was pouring off the hillsides by the barrels full creating beautiful, temporary, waterfalls.

Sunday the canoers woke up with no rain. Thank goodness, but the river was still raging. Harold made a wise decision not to paddle. Everyone broke camp and headed out to see a historical marker that Harold had told us about on Saturday evening. It was a place on the border of PA and Ohio that at that point separated the east from the west. Until this point was established, none of the Ohio lands could be surveyed. That was very interesting to all because they had never heard of it before.

Despite the rain, everyone enjoyed the trip, even though they didn't paddle on Sunday. They also learned a little bit about the history of the area. Beaver Creek was part of the canal system through Ohio. You can still see remnants of some of the locks. From the historical marker, everyone said their goodbyes until next month, on the Big Darby.

Historical Marker

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