Roads Rivers and Trails

Dream. Plan. Live.

Monthly Archives: May 2016


A Glimpse into Cincinnati’s Fossil History

By: Olivia Eads

Have you ever noticed the frequency of shells and other organisms fossilized in limestone around the Cincinnati area? They’re everywhere—used as the framework in buildings, exposed on cliff faces, and in back yards—but where did they come from? In order to dive into this topic further we must take a trip back, deep into time.

Roughly 490 million years ago, Cincinnati was a completely different ecosystem in a very different geographical location. In geologic time, it was considered the Ordovician Period, a very dynamic period in biodiversity of organisms, glaciation, active and passive tectonic margins, and solar system cyclicity. During this period Cincinnati was located just south of the equator experiencing a shallow marine habitat and tropical weather conditions, a very similar ecosystem to that of coral reefs in the equatorial zones today. The extent of this bionetwork stretched through regions of Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana, all considered part of the Cincinnatian Arch. The depths of water ranged, depending on geography, and were determined using context clues such as: fossilized organisms associated with living ancestors, rock types, and features present. The clues indicated an intertidal (above water at low tide, covered at high tide) to subtidal (submerged except during full/ new moon events) zones in Cincinnati.

fossil11

An Ordovician world

When identifying lifestyles of the organisms that dwelled upon this area there are a few things to remember. Fossilization is a very intricate process and favors hard bodied organisms. Not all creatures or parts of their bodies are preserved. The Ordovician began, following the Cambrian explosion, a rapid burst of biodiversity in flora and fauna. It was a very dynamic time in both landscape evolution and species biodiversity. There are many things still unknown about the livelihood and behaviors of these organisms. A majority of that knowledge stems from what is already known about living fossils or the modern example of these ancestral species. Now to the fossil9fossils!

fossil10Bryozoans

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anatomy

Bryozoans are considered ‘moss- like’ invertebrates. They typically grew in colonies attached to hard surfaces, but could also establish individually. Brackish and coastal waters are favored by these organisms due to the decreased salinity. Lophophores, tiny tentacle like structures, were used during feeding by popping out to collect tiny, suspended sediments, then bring them back to the mouth for digestion. The monticules or bumps along the surface of their bodies are suggested to be an escape current produced by the action of lophophores while feeding. The framework of these colonies created a large habitat for all types of aquatic life. Many of the fossils preserved are in pieces due to the ocean’s mechanical weathering on the skeletons.

Crinoids

These are another fossil that are typically found in pieces. The fragmented parts of the stem resemble small to large buttons or, if there are multiple larger ones stuck together, a roll of mints. A more common name for this animal is a sea lily. Their body cavities are divided into three main sections. The column or stem which consists of disc shaped endoskeleton stacked upon each other that are held together with ligaments. The calyx sits on top of the stem and holds the body cavity. Then there are the feathery arms that protrude out of the calyx. They collect suspended sediments in the water and bring it towards the mouth for digestion. Due to the soft and fragile nature of the arms, they are not typically preserved in the fossil record. The size of these organisms can range up to a few meters in length and typically attach to hard substrate with a holdfast; however, some modern species have been observed moving independently across the sea floor. The independent movement was more than likely an adaptation to the evolution of predators and probably not present in Ordovician sea crinoids.

fossil8fossil7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

fossil6Brachiopods

Brachiopods are the most abundant shell fossil found in the Cincinnati area. They are divided into two main categories: articulated and inarticulated (based on the presence or absence of hinge teeth and sockets.) Both shells are symmetrical across the mid line, but the top and bottom shell are not equal in size. They have a pedicle or fleshy stalk that helps them attach to the sea floor or burrow down into sediments. As a filter feeder, they open and close their shell with currents allowing water and sediment to pass through. Using their lophophore, sediment is caught for consumption.

 

 

Bivalves

Bivalves include shelled organisms such as: clams, oysters, mussels and scallops. They were not very abundant during the Ordovician probably due their niche being previously occupied by brachiopods. The shells are symmetrical across the hinge line, and some have growth lines that can be observed. Some bivalve species permanently cement themselves to hard substrate, while others use their muscular tongue or foot to burrow down into the sediment. A siphon is then used for filter feeding to suck water into the shell cavity for subsistence.

fossil5Rugose Corals

Commonly known as horn corals, these organisms typically lived in a colony at the bottom of the ocean floor. As a colony, they created large reef like structures. However, some lived in solidarity. These microcarnivores had small tentacles that were used to catch prey and are bilaterally symmetrical.

 

 

 

 

 

Gastropodsfossil4

Otherwise known as SNAILS! These mollusks eat anything and everything (herbivore, carnivore, omnivore, and scavenger.) During the Ordovician these creatures were marine dwelling and used a muscular foot to transport themselves around. The shell located on their back is for protection against predation and to house organs. Typically, their shells are the only thing preserved in fossils and they vary greatly in size and shape. All shells follow the same general spiral pattern. As time progressed snails were able to adapt to marine, aquatic, and terrestrial landscapes.

 

 

Trilobites

Trilobites are a very diverse group of organisms with over 20,000 different species with very different modes of life. Although now extinct their reign in the ocean lasted around three billion years, wide spread reaching every continent. Trilobites were some of the first organisms to have complex eye structures. Their body can be divided into three main segments: the cephalon (head), thorax (body), and pygidium (tail). Thanks to incredibly preserved fossils (such as the Burgess Shale), trilobites are shown to have soft appendages such as jointed legs and antennae. As they grew their exoskeleton did not grow with them. Instead they molted a chitinous skeleton (similar to a lobster’s) which is mainly preserved. In order to escape predation, they could roll up into a ball so that their exoskeleton was only exposed or burrow down into sediments. Different species took on very different modes of life.

fossil3.jpg

 

Nautiloids

Nautiloids are cephalopods (in the same family as octopuses and squids) with many tentacles and straight shells. The shell has many chambers and a siphuncle in order to control buoyancy while swimming in their marine ecosystem. As they grow their shell secretes more material growing with them. They were the fearsome predator of the sea.

fossil2

There are many more fossilized organisms and features in Cincinnati’s strata, but that dives a little too deep for the topics being discussed today. These organisms cover the basics of what are copious in Cincinnati’s fossiliferous limestone. There are quite a few fossilized features that represent storm events and the abundance and amount of weathering can give insight into environments where those fossils were deposited! Alas, those shall be saved for another day. This should be a good start in the exploration to Cincinnati’s geologic history. Hopefully, in the near future, some of you can join me in person on upcoming RRT sponsored hikes! We can discuss these features and fossils more in depth while learning identification techniques in the field! Until next time.

Sources:

http://www.sms.si.edu/irlspec/IntroBryozoa.htm

http://www.asoldasthehills.org/Echinoderms.html

https://www.fossilera.com/pages/about-crinoids

https://www.mcgill.ca/redpath/node/15/exhibits/special/ordoviciandiorama

http://hoopermuseum.earthsci.carleton.ca/gastropoda/morphology3.html

http://www.amnh.org/our-research/paleontology/paleontology-faq/trilobite-website

Stanley, Steven M. Earth System History. S.l.: W.H.Freeman & Co, 2014. Print.

Return of the SLOBO: Rocketship Underpants

Read the first article in the Return of the SLOBO series, 799 Zero Days Later
 “You know, Hobbes, some days even my lucky rocketship underpants don’t help.”

―from Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson

 

Oh! The dreaded gear installment!

One would think that, after hiking thousands of miles, working at an outfitter, and keeping up with innovations in the backpacking industry, old Goatman would just be waiting to tell you everything he knows about the gear you should take on a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. The problem is this: I am not you. I’m not packing for you, I’m not resupplying with you, I’m not throwing your bag on my back, and I’m not hiking a single mile of the trail for you.

The gear I use is simply that: it’s what I use while on the trail. I could type up a spreadsheet with weight and cost and every other variable listed out, post it here, and be done with this article, but all you would know is what I take on a hike and not what you, dear reader, should take on a hike. Again, I am not you. I don’t have your feet, I don’t worry about your fears, and I happen to be as strong as one donkey and one mule combined in man form, thus rendering the weight concerns of your average human meaningless to me.

You may be asking yourself: “Well, Goatman, what exactly are you going to talk about in this article besides being a mutant-hybrid pack creature?” Good question. Let’s get to the meat of it. Despite current fashion or gear trends, the gear you take on the AT should do the following things for you: keep you safe, keep you happy, and keep you moving.

Gear Should Keep You Safe

Seems pretty simple. I don’t wear a rain shell when the skies are blue just to look cool. I wear it when it is raining to goatman 043keep dry and warm. I might wear it above treeline to keep the sun and wind off, but otherwise, it is sitting in my pack, waiting for the weather to turn nasty. I don’t put it in a bounce box just because it looks like a nice couple of days ahead. It is not useless weight just because I carry it as much as I wear it; it is still serving its function as a piece of bad weather gear when tucked away.

Try and check the weather predictions along the entire AT for a six month period. Nonsense, right? You don’t pack for the perfect days. You pack with the hard days in mind and you pack to lessen the effect that hard days will have on you, whenever they come.

This can be extended to almost anything in your bag: a headlamp is only useful in the dark, but get caught without one on an overcast night when you get stuck out late on the bogs and see if you don’t wish you had one.

Before leaving something at home, ask yourself, “Am I sacrificing safety by not having this with me?” If you are fine with the risk imposed, then by all means, get it out of your pack. There are things that work as a safety blanket more than they work as functional gear. You will learn the difference on the trail if not before.

Something we tend to emphasize that bears repeating: do not set foot on your thru-hike with gear that you have never hiked with before. Think you need a 7 inch bear hunting knife for safety? Well, take it out on a weekend trip and see how many times you actually need it. Guess what? People have hiked the AT with less useful things and made it every step of the way. Were they being stubborn? Undoubtedly. Could they have lightened their load? Of course. Did it matter in the end? Not one bit. No one is standing at the terminus, counting all of the calories you wasted carrying extra stuff. There’s no thru-hiker report card being filled out. Either you make it or you don’t. If the things in your bag helped you make it, then they were useful whatever they were.

Let’s step back for a moment: What do I mean by safety? Safety on a thru-hike for me means successfully hiking from town to town and eventually reaching the terminus without grievous injury to yourself or anyone around you. This does not entail carting around a 3 lb. first aid kit that you don’t even know how to utilize to its full extent. This does not mean bringing a gun. This does mean, however, choosing socks and footwear that do not cause blistering, loss of toenails, or nerve damage to your feet. It means having appropriate layers of clothing to deal with the rapidly changing temperatures on a long distance hike. It means having shelter from the elements when you get caught out in them. It means having a sleep system that allows you to truly rest at night and regain your strength for the next day. It means carrying enough calories to see you through to the next resupply and/or buffet. And it means having water purification so you don’t poop yourself off the trail.

Gear Should Keep You Happy

I realize that happiness is relative. I’m not worried about whether or not you define yourself as happy every step of the AT. You won’t. You will experience the entire gamut of emotions on the trail, including simultaneous emotional combinations that you didn’t even know that you had in you (i.e. “I’m sad that I’m out of peanut butter, which I hate as of now, but I’m hungry, which makes me angry, but my pack is a pound lighter and that makes me happy.”)

The point I want to make is that if you’re not going to be happy at times, it shouldn’t be because of your gear.

If you’re going to be sad, angry, or fgoat1rustrated, it should be because of some existential longing within your soul or some jerk you met, not because your pack doesn’t fit correctly (because you bought it off the internet without thought to torso size or load capacity.) I’m not a psychoanalyst, but I can fit a pack to your back with precision. There are few problems with gear that can’t be fixed. Remember that hike you’re going to do with all of your gear before you head out on the AT? That would be the time to figure out what hurts and why. And to fix it.

Happiness isn’t just decided by physical means, however. Everything can fit great, your pack can be light and comfortable, and your head can still be a mess. Sometimes, you just need your lucky rocketship underwear. What I mean by this is: don’t skimp on your luxury item, whatever that may be. I hiked the length of Maine with a 600+ page copy of my favorite book. It probably weighed upwards of a pound (I don’t want to know.)

Why? Well, the short answer is that I’m an avid reader and collector of books. It is part of who I am and, without this aspect of my life, I feel less connected to myself and what I’m doing on this Earth. I don’t like reading; I love reading. My vision of hell is a waiting room with nothing to read. And my vision of heaven? To be in the woods, miles away from civilization, with a book in my hand as the sun goes down. It is as simple as that. I made the decision to carry the extra weight so that, in the rare moments that I wasn’t hiking, eating, or sleeping, I could wind down and do a bit of what makes me happy no matter where I am. And I brought this particular favorite book as a symbolic boon for my hike.

There are lighter, more weather resistant, more practical items that I could have brought to keep me busy when not moving, but that was not the point. Carrying this book made me happy, so I carried it. Don’t let other people dictate what keeps you smiling. That doesn’t work. You won’t look at any AT pack list that includes Giant Pretentious Modernist Novel, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring one.

Gear Should Keep You Moving

Being safe and happy isn’t what hiking is all about. If these were your only goals, you might as well stay at home. Hiking isn’t always safe. Being in the woods can be dangerous and there are certainly a lot of things you can do to minimize the risk, but at the end of the day a bit of the Fear is part of the experience of hiking. As for happiness, I don’t think I need to repeat that this is a conditional state that you will move in and out of on the trail just as you do at home or any other place that you happen to be.

What hiking is all about is movement.

There is a saying on the trail: “It’s not about the miles, it’s about the smiles.”

However, in the paraphrased words of SLOBO extraordinaire the Bartender (’13): “That’s bull, man. If it were all about the smiles, I’d be back in Monson, drinking beer and hanging out. It’s gotta be about the miles if you want to finish.”

You’re not a hiker when you’re sitting around town. You’re not a hiker before or after your trip. You are only a hiker when you’re on the trail, making miles, and putting another footstep towards your goal.  The gear you take with you should help with your progress, not hinder it.goat2

This is where your pack weight comes in. It’s trendy these days to try to go as “ultralight” as possible. There’s good reason for this: the less weight in your pack, the less strain on your body, the more miles you can potentially do on the same amount of calories. Makes sense, right? Yes, it does, unless you are going so “ultralight” that you are sacrificing your safety or your happiness (see above.) There is a balance to be met, just as in all things.

So the point is to keep moving. No one knows what keeps you moving better than yourself, but there are a few universals. If you are injured, you will have to stop and rest. Your gear should not be the cause of injury (once again: shakedown hike! Please, for the love of all that is good in this world, shakedown hike!) If you don’t have the gear to move through and survive inclement weather, you will have to hole up in town. If you underestimate the amount of calories to pack out, you will find yourself tired, grumpy, and disoriented on the trail. A light pack isn’t going to help with any of these. So, yes, please, think about the weight of your pack and make sure that it isn’t weighing you down unnecessarily, but cutting weight just to cut weight is foolish if you are sacrificing your safety or happiness.

This is also the point where the longevity of your gear comes into play. Going into town is both fun and necessary at times, but going into a town you weren’t planning on going into in order to find a replacement for malfunctioning gear is a huge waste of time and energy. I realize that hikers are all about frugality, but there comes a point when it is more cost-effective to buy quality than to settle for something less that you will have to replace (possibly multiple times.) Case in point: I thought paying over $10 for a titanium long spoon was crazy when I could buy a cheap plastic spork that weighed less for a couple of bucks. And then I broke my plastic spork eating noodles. And then I broke my second plastic spork eating mashed potatoes and now I’m eating my dinner with filthy, burnt fingers for days before I can replace it with the spoon I originally snubbed as being too expensive.

There are definitely things that you can go cheap on, but when it comes to gear that is keeping you on the trail, you’ll find that spending the extra dough to get gear that is proven to last and warrantied against damage will save you a lot of time, effort, and money in the long run. The spork is a silly example in that I didn’t need it to keep moving. Had I skimped on my footwear and socks, however, I would have been limping back into town. Had I skimped on my backpack, I could have found myself at war with what should have been my dearest asset, whether that meant the straps rubbing me raw or the pack becoming nonfunctional.

Again, the goal is to keep moving. Keep this in mind when gathering your gear. Keep an eye on weight. Too heavy and you’ll be huffing and puffing every step. Too light and you might be sacrificing safety and happiness.

No one can pack for you. There are hundreds of example pack lists available on the internet. Look at them, learn from them, but in the end, you will come up with your own system that works for you. In all of my years of hiking, I have never come upon another hiker that is carrying the exact set up as I am. Why is that? Am I wrong? Is she wrong? How about that guy over there?

Find what works for you. Test it. Make sure it does what you need it to and that it will last. If you need advice, we at RRT are always here to help. In the end, no one else is going to hoist your pack and hit the trail for you.

 

(Shakedown hike!)

 

Previous     More Return of the SLOBO?     Next

Cincinnati Nature Center

What can we say about this place except that we are extremely lucky to have the Cincinnati Nature Center in our city! Over and over again the CNC leads not just our region, but the entire country in standards for trails, kids programs, play areas, and events.

This has been our stomping ground for trail hikes, nature photography, and conditioning before taking our trips for years now. We LOVE the Cincinnati Nature Center! When inspired by such a place, we feel the calling to give back. Beyond our personal memberships, we have been corporate members of the CNC since 2011 and part of their membership perks program since it began in 2014. This program offers a 10% discount at participating sponsors including RRT when you buy a yearly membership. We have been proud sponsors of Hoots and Hops since its inception in 2013, Back to Nature Fundraising donors and attendees since 2012, and Trail Building Volunteer organizers since 2013.

While being members and corporate members we assure that we are doing our part to help the nature center thrive, while ensuring that we have access to pristine trails and invites to super creative and fun events. Back to Nature is one of these events. This is the premier fundraising event for the CNC, which is why we both attend and often donate to the silent auction, offering anything from kayak expeditions to hiking gear packages.

Lending our time to make other CNC events special like the Hoots and Hops events is what makes RRT unique. This is an amazing event with local food and craft brews. What goes better with that combo than a lounge area amongst the trees? RRT brings hammocks and hanging lounge chairs to let guests just “hang out” in between activities. Claiming that hanging out with nature lovers and drinking beer with them is stewardship is kind of cutting it close though. We’ve started to organize Backpacking workshops along with group hikes in the nature center to raise awareness, membership, and education for the outdoors. The goal is to help make this great organization the best that it can be! Join us for a hike and complete your “Hike For Your Health Passport” with our RRT and CNC co-led hikes.

previous arrow
next arrow
Slider

RRT is most proud of their leadership in hosting trail building and maintenance volunteer events multiple times a year. We’ve helped cut honeysuckle, correct drainage patterns, fix trail erosion, and strengthen worn trails all while learning proper techniques from a naturalist. The work seems more like play, the people that come out are amazing, and everyone is filled with the satisfaction of volunteering for a cause. If you can make one of our trail building days, I strongly encourage it!

For more information on the Cincinnati Nature Center please visit the link below:

Cincinnati Nature Center

Back to Community Involvement Page

Appalachian Trail Conservancy

If you’ve met us you probably already know: we are all AT obsessed! The AT is part of the origin story at RRT, but is also what continues to make us who we are. We have been fortunate to continually have a staff that shares our passion for the trail and have completed portions or the trail in entirety. This is the quintessential match made in heaven. RRT owners have supported the ATC with personal memberships since 2007. RRT has been a supporting partner as a retailer since opening in 2010, contributing through the sales of ATC merchandise.

Indirect to the ATC, our biggest contribution has been our assistance, education, and passion that we have passed on for others to both enjoy and appreciate the trail. Spreading the word and growing the trail community to both use the trail and give back to it has been a surrounding message. Every year, RRT is able to help people chase their dreams on the AT. Through presentations and events, we help grow the imagination and confidence of the next generation of AT hikers.

In 2015, RRT wanted to bring as many of those people together, so they hosted their first ATC fundraiser. With giveaways, games, a photo booth, and local favorite 50 West Brewery, RRT raised an additional $500 to contribute to the ATC. We hope to continue to grow the AT community, and although we are in Milford, Ohio, we will continue our work as AT trail angels from afar.

For more information on the ATC please visit the link below:

Appalachian Trail Conservancy

Back to Community Involvement Page

Buckeye Trail Association

The Buckeye Trail is literally at our front door! How cool is that? The BTA has been organizing volunteers, maintaining the trail, conserving and protecting lands, mapping the trail, and much more since its inception in 1954. Their efforts have provided over 1,400 miles of hiking trails around the state of Ohio. In 2012, Milford had the ribbon cutting making the city an official “Trail Town”.

Since RRT’s first full year in 2011, we have been helping to sponsor events and fundraising for the BTA and, in 2012, became official sponsors of the Buckeye Trail Fest, the organization’s largest event. RRT continues support through events, Association promotions, and sponsorship.

2018 saw the first sponsored fundraiser for the Buckeye Trail at RRT. We were able to raise nearly $1,000 and also recruit over 2 dozen members for the BTA! We hope to co-organize more events including group hikes and increase exposure to this great trail as time goes on. Look for future events on the RRT page such as Buckeye Trail thru-hiker talks, ways to get involved, and trail town events! 2019’s fundraiser will be a day hike and camp-out along the Buckeye Trail! This event is co-sponsored by RRT, Osprey, and Little Miami Brewing Co. Stay tuned for details as space will be limited.

For more information on the Buckeye Trail Association visit the link below:

Buckeye Trail

Read “Trail Town” Blog

Back to Community Involvement Page

Little Miami Conservancy

The Little Miami Conservancy is a not-for-profit dedicated to the restoration and protection of the Little Miami River. The conservancy helps settle easements, owns and protects riverfront nature preserves, and provides a balanced approach to economic development and land management.

previous arrow
next arrow
Slider

Our partnership with the Little Miami Conservancy started in the RRT early years. Since 2011, we have made an effort to use whatever resources we can to support and promote the LMC. We have worked together to share booth space at sport shows, we have donated to fundraising efforts, we have had presentations and exhibits in store to promote a clean and healthy river, and in 2014 we worked with the LMC and Loveland Canoe and Kayak to create and print river maps for the Little Miami River. In 2017 we worked with the conservancy to start a co-sponsored fundraising ad campaign on WVXU radio, increasing the donor base LMC has.

In 2012 and 2013 we worked in joining forces and adding to the conservancy clean river sweep efforts. By 2014, we were ready to host and organize our own efforts. Together with 50 West Canoe and Kayak, we have organized 3-5 events per year to remove trash and debris from the river, spearheaded and led by RRT owner Bryan. Although the river is very clean and healthy, because of its often flooding tributaries, this will always be a continuing effort and one that RRT is committed to. In the fall of 2016 we hosted the first in store fundraiser event for the Conservancy, raising an additional $500 toward their efforts. The event grew to raise over $2,000 in November of 2017, and over $2,000 again in 2018. In both 2017 and again in 2018 we were happy to announce that we secured a grant for the LMC in the amount of $1,500 from Patagonia. In 2019 RRT helped to secure another grant from our friends at Patagonia in the amount of $18,000. This grant will be used for a future dam removal and further restoring our beautiful river.

previous arrow
next arrow
Slider

Because of our partnership and efforts we have now been the guests of honor and given an “Award of Appreciation” at their yearly dinner in both 2015 and 2016. Further out initiatives; RRT Owner Emily, was voted on to the executive board of the Conservancy in the Spring of 2017. One of her earliest projects was the adoption of a members perks program providing discounts for your LMC membership to outdoor stores like RRT along with canoe and kayak rental businesses along the Little Miami. If you live near or recreationally enjoy this river, we urge you to contribute to the cause anyway that you can, be it donation of time or money. Contact RRT for the next clean-up date or visit the link below to find more information about the conservancy or to make a donation.

Little Miami Conservancy

Back to Community Involvement Page

Pictures from past events

Adventure Crew

Adventure Crew, The Green Umbrella, The Ohio River Way, and Paddlefest

In 2011, RRT became corporate sponsors and donors for the Ohio River Way. At the time, the Ohio River Way was also the organizing group behind the Ohio River Paddlefest. Paddlefest is the premier paddling event in the Midwest and sees over 2,000 people paddle their way down the Ohio River. RRT remains a partner and financial sponsor for Paddlefest still today. The Ohio River Way along with RRT were also the leadership behind the Tri-State Guide to the Outdoors, a yearly free publication that highlights the areas outdoor recreation.

Later, the Ohio River Way would be operated as part of the Green Umbrella, a not-for-profit that aims at making Cincinnati one of the 10 most sustainable metro areas by 2020. RRT continued their financial support for the Green Umbrella and their sponsorship of Paddlefest. In 2014 and 2015, RRT donated their efforts to help make the Guide to the Outdoors publication possible. RRT owner Emily became one of the largest content contributors and organizers for the magazine and would see it reach new heights. The Green Umbrella would also host the Great Outdoor Weekend across the tri-state providing over a 100 free opportunities to get outside and experience something new, look for this years details here. Since 2012, RRT has sponsored the event and often hosted a free event for participants.

Meanwhile another organization was getting started: the Outdoor Adventure Clubs were formed in 2013 with RRT being one of their very first cooperating partners. The OAC is directed at getting more underserved students into nature by providing free school-based outdoor recreation, education, and conservation opportunities for urban teens. RRT immediately started working with the group, showing up to schools to promote the new club and travelling to different schools to present to club members and get them excited and prepared for outdoor events. RRT has also helped to lead local hiking trips for the inner city youth in the club. In 2017 we’ve began co-sponsoring WVXU radio spots with OAC to raise awareness and fundraising efforts.

previous arrow
next arrow
Slider

Working with Columbia we were able to secure a grant for the OAC in early 2017 totaling $5,000 of equipment and financing. In April of 2017 we hosted our first annual Fashion Show Fundraising event with Fifty West Brewery to benefit the OAC and raised almost $1,500 and our efforts were doubled in 2018 to raise $3,000!  Today, we continue to be financial sponsors, but also help with gear donations for the club’s events. If you have old outdoor equipment or clothing, please consider donating it to the club through RRT. Any donation is rewarded with a 10% discount on any same day purchases. Look for RRT to join with the OAC through out the year for some significant raffle donations as well; Support the OAC and test your luck with a different outdoor package every month including RRT packages worth hundreds of dollars!

The OAC also adopted Paddlefest for 2016 and looks to expand their outreach and programs. As of 2019 the organization has now transformed to the “Adventure Crew” and continues to improve the lives and outlook for hundreds of area youth. Please consider supporting their efforts anyway you can, and look for our fashion show fundraising event every April (tickets are limited and do sell out!). For more information visit them at the link below.

Adventure Crew Website

Read “The Ohio River Way Paddlefest” Blog

Back to Community Involvement Page

Historic Milford Association

There was no other place for RRT to start their story; Milford was to be our home without question. Owners Joe and Emily are Milford residents, Joe being born and raised here. Nature Outfitters, which was our predecessor, had a home here for about 20 years before us. The downtown area is special, hosting unique shops, unique restaurants, and a very unique position as a trail junction. We wanted to have a positive impact on the city and its economic development and also on its image and reputation across the tri-state.

The Historic Milford Association is a not-for-profit that helps the small businesses in Historic Milford unite and showcase themselves. The association fights to protect business owners’ interests with local government and allows for a stronger singular voice as a collective. HMA focuses on marketing the downtown, including several festivals and events every year like Hometown Holidays and the Longstone Street Festival.

Both Emily and Bryan have held several board positions since becoming members in 2010. Emily has taken on a larger role and expanded responsibilities, acting as the Longstone chair for both 2013 and 2014. Emily then moved to the position of treasurer through 2017. Today, Emily helps push social media and website content. All of these responsibilities are of course done as an unpaid volunteer to benefit the city in which we operate. In 2016 RRT was officially recognized by the Milford Miami Chamber of Commerce with an award for outstanding achievement within the community in “Environment and Education”.

Together with HMA we hope to continue to build the historic area of Milford to be an ever-growing and beautiful place to eat, shop, and play. For more information on the Historic Milford Association, please visit the HMA website below. For more information on the “Trail Junction” and Milford as a trail town please read the RRT blog by clicking the link below.

Historic Milford Association

Read “The Best Trail Town” Blog

Back to Community Involvement Page

Boy Scouts of America

RRT owner Joe White grew up with the Scouts. His father used the Scouting program to teach him character and discipline. Joe would reach the highest ranking of Eagle Scout. With Scouting, Philmont trips, and 150 acre backyard, Joe was glued to the outdoors. He joined a High Adventure trip to Alaska just after High School, and then landed a summer job guiding trips for the High Adventure Base. For 6 summers, he enjoyed backpacking, canoeing, sea kayaking, and road tripping all over Alaska while leading Scout programs.

We understand how important the Scouts are and we also understand the financial burden of any extracurricular on a family. That is why we immediately implemented a Scout discount. We also immediately started reaching out to local Boy Scout troops and hosting presentations, demonstrations, pack shakedowns, and merit badges. RRT wanted to reach out and assure that the troops had the information and resources they would need.

Joe and Bryan have taught at the University of Scouting since 2012, hosting up to six classes to prepare leaders of all levels. RRT has also had a presence at Peterloon since 2012, teaching through survival games and giveaways. Looking for more ways to help financially, we started two new programs in 2012: the 10+5 Program as well as a boot trade in program.

The 10+5 program offers registered troops an automatic same-day 10% discount, but also creates a troop account to cut back on additional expenses the troop has, there-in cutting back on the additional financial burden on families. RRT takes an additional 5% of all troop purchases and creates a spending account for the troop to use. Successful troops have cashed in on new stoves, filters, and tents at no expense to the troop.

Moving forward, RRT hopes to grow the boot program that offers a more affordable footwear option for growing Boy Scouts and an avenue for reselling the used footwear. If you or your troop would like to register for 10+5 or need more information on how RRT can help your troop, please contact us at rrt@roadsriversandtrails.com. For more information on the Boy Scouts, please visit their website:

Boy Scouts of America

Back to Community Involvement Page

Camping and Education Foundation

The Camping and Education Foundation

The Camping and Education Foundation was one of RRT’s first community partners. The Foundation would hold occasional meetings in RRT’s lounge and have RRT owner Emily sit in for feedback. The relationship grew and so did RRT’s involvement with the Foundation, from silent auction donations to working directly with the kids.

The Foundation started to work with local schools like Gamble Montessori along with attendees of Stepping Stones to provide an educational outdoor experience. This experience would include a canoe trip along the Ohio River provided by The Wilderness Inquiry as well as educational stations at city parks along the way. From 2012 to 2014, RRT store owner Bryan would dedicate a week to volunteering with the students in this program. Bryan would set up tents, show them how to purify water using a pump, cook using a backpacker’s stove, and of course he would bring dehydrated meals and ice cream bars for the kids to try afterward. The lesson often ended with each child taking a swing in the hammock.

This has been one of the most rewarding things that I’ve done through RRT” recalls Bryan. “It is amazing to see their excitement to simply crawl into a tent”. It is this kind of experience that drives RRT. Roads Rivers and Trails looks forward to future activities and events that the Foundation holds and to being a lifelong partner. For more information on the Camping and Education Foundation please visit the link below:

Camping and Education Foundation

Read “From the Beginning” Blog

Back to Community Involvement Page

Rent Now