April 2014


Friends of the Little Miami State Park is a non-profit group of volunteers dedicated to restoring and maintaining safety on the park's scenic trail. Working under the sanction of the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources, the Friends provide almost all maintenance on the trail. We depend on your support and invite you to join us in serving our community.
In This Issue
The Trail's Greatest Resource                    
by Janet Slater
Tens of thousands of people enjoy the Little Miami Scenic Trail every year. You're probably one of them. You like the beauty of the trees and the river, you're glad you don't have to worry about cars, you benefit from the fresh air and the exercise. The trail refreshes body and soul. You want to continue to enjoy it, and to be sure your family and friends can enjoy it, too. You're a trail person.
Scan through the photos in this newsletter, and you'll see there can be problems on our trail. Trees fall on it. The river encroaches on it. Alien plant species invade it. It cracks and slumps. The trail gives to our community, but it also needs care in return.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), charged with caring for the Little Miami State Park trail corridor, lacks the funding and staff to provide little more than regular mowing of the berm. The Friends provide the rest of the maintenance--emergency storm response, clearing sightlines and painting stop signs at intersections, repairing bumps and cracks on the trail surface, and providing improvements such as informational signs and kiosks and portable toilet facilities.

These activities require a variety of resources, both financial and human. Day-to-day maintenance requires funds to buy signs, paint, crack-filling materials, power tools and the gas to run them; rakes, brooms, gloves, shovels, and safety equipment. Larger projects, such as repaving, require funding well beyond the means of the Friends alone.

Our human resources--all volunteers--selflessly give their time, talents, and labor to maintain the trail. Currently about 200 volunteers care for 50 miles of trail and berm. That's scarcely one-tenth of one percent of those who use the trail.  It's not enough.

A resource, the dictionary says, is "a source of supply, support, or aid, especially one that can be readily drawn upon when needed." Our trail is a top-notch community resource, and it will remain so if the community, in turn, is a resource for the trail. If each of us who benefit from the trail gives back in some way, together we become a rich and diverse source of support.

In other words, the trail's greatest resource is you. Here are some ways you can do your part:

Join the Friends, or renew your annual membership. A $20 individual membership is a tax-deductible contribution to the group, carrying no other obligation. Watch for our email about easy online membership, or download a mail-in application here

Volunteer. Work on the trail, or give your time and abilities in recruiting, outreach, events, or social media, in either a leadership role or a staff role. Contact us for more information.


The River Giveth and the River Taketh Away

Following heavy rains on April 3, a section of riverbank near the trail slid into the river near mile marker 25, just north of Morgan's Riverside Campground.

"This is a natural process," reports Martin McAllister of Ohio State Parks. "Rivers serpentine, and their banks are often alluvial material which is easily eroded and deposited." This time the river moved its course dangerously close to the trail, and it's the trail that will have to yield. "Stream bank stabilization projects are possible on some streams," says McAllister, "but on a river this size and that has been designated as a state and national scenic river, large armament projects are almost always denied. The preferred option is to retreat (move the trail back)."

Engineers with the state Dept. of Natural Resources have already visited the site and drawn up plans for the trail move.

In the meantime, the Friends have placed barriers with flashing solar lights, cones, and tape to mark the site for the safety of trail users.


John's 330 in 30 for 30 Adventure

The Columbus Dispatch 


When he arrived at the hospital, John Robinson was a typical 14-year-old.

"I was cocky, a know-it-all; I thought nothing could stop me," the Clintonville resident said. "I thought they'd just give me some new blood and I'd be fine. Little did I know what I was in for."

What John was in for was a long, grueling battle with acute lymphocytic leukemia. He lost his hair and went from 160 pounds to 112 pounds. 

He almost died.

That was 30 years ago, and to celebrate what he now calls his cancerversary, John will ride the entire length of the Ohio to Erie Trail, which is about 330 miles, in 30 hours on June 27 to 28 to raise $10,000 for cancer research. Read full article 


Adopt-a-Trail: F & D, Friends of Friends      

Friends Barbee Hirtzel, Steve Hobart, Bill Schwinn, Judy Mills, Randy Hertzel and Don Mills got some help from FLMSP friends F & D Tree Service, who donated their chipper and two pairs of hands on April 12 to clear brush cut earlier from the trail berms between Beech and Center Streets. Thank you, Fred and Matt Mergy (second and third from right) of F & D Tree Service!



Our Adopt-a-Trail coordinator emails regular updates on the nuts and bolts of Adopt-a-Trail and Special Ops work on the trail to anyone who is interested. If you would like to receive these updates, please send an email with SUBSCRIBE TO AAT UPDATES in the subject line to 

Lyme Disease on the Rise
 by Janet Slater

Lyme disease, although less common here than in mid-Atlantic states, is on the rise in Ohio. The bacteria which causes the infection is spread almost exclusively by deer ticks, which live in the woods, along the edge of woods, in tall grass and brush areas--environments found along on our trail.

Early symptoms in the first 30 days after a bite from an infected tick include fatigue, chills, fever, headache, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes. Sometimes, but not always, there is a "bulls-eye" rash around the bite area. Anyone who has been in an environment where ticks may be present and develops these symptoms should see a doctor promptly. If reported early, Lyme disease can be quickly and completely cured, usually with a course of antibiotics. If untreated, however, the disease can become chronic and debilitating.

Guard against deer ticks by staying on the trail or in mown areas, using a bug repellent with DEET or Permethrin, and conducting tick checks on people and animals.

Here's a video showing the best way to remove a tick.

The Friends is a nonprofit organization devoted to the preservation and enhancement of the Little Miami State Park. We assist the Ohio Department of Natural Resources with development planning, routine maintenance, capital improvements, and safety concerns.   
   Monthly FLMSP Meeting
 Please join us!
Sunday, April 27
4:00 p.m. 

  7 West Main St. Spring Valley, OH
All are welcome at the open meeting.
Will You Prevent an Accident?

On March 30, a state park ranger called our Trail Hotline from just south of Xenia. Two people on a tandem bike had hit a log that had fallen across the trail (see photo), resulting in facial injuries and a broken bone. Both were at the hospital, and the ranger was writing the report.


Members of our chainsaw crew and the trail adopter for that segment hurried to the area and cut up and removed the tree.


What if a trail user passing earlier had taken a moment to call our hotline and report the downed tree? Perhaps it would have been removed sooner and the accident wouldn't have happened. Please add our Trail Hotline number to your contacts, and call if you see an unsafe trail condition:



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Look at all Those Wonderful Yellow Flowers-NOT

by Kathy Maurer 

On the trail now you may see, particularly near the river, large swaths of shiny green leaves covered with little yellow flowers. Isn't that pretty, you say. No.
This is lesser celandine (Ranunculus ficaria) an invasive species which is spreading quickly in the Little Miami River valley. The seeds and bulblets are carried downstream when the river floods and the plant rapidly expands to cover the flood plain. This thick mat of small shiny green leaves effectively crowds out our native spring flowers. Deer carry bulblets, which get caught in their hooves, into new areas as well. You do not want this in your home garden as it is very difficult to control and spreads rapidly. You might as well enjoy the flowers, but keep in mind it is not something we really wanted in our park!  


RENEW your Kroger rewards now!
Did you know you must renew your membership in the Kroger Community Rewards Program each year? Renew now for the May 2014-April 2015 rewards period.
Participating in Kroger's program costs you nothing, and Friends of the Little Miami State Park receives 2% of your purchase total every time you shop! All you need is a Kroger Plus Card.
More Places to Go 

The best seats on the trail this year just may be the new port-a-lets that the Friends are providing. Filling in where permanent restrooms are far between, rental units will be placed at the Spring Valley, Oregonia, South Lebanon, and Miamiville trail access points. The facilities will be serviced weekly and available year-round.




Fan Mail

"From the outset, the Friends of Little Miami State Park has been one of our most highly effective volunteer groups with the vision and ambition to get things done.  We appreciate your outstanding work on immediate needs, such as resurfacing the trail bridges and cleaning up storm debris, not to mention the ongoing trail maintenance and fundraising projects that you accomplish.  Congratulations on your recent recreational trails grant award, and thank you for sharing your time and resources to help us protect and improve this unique asset."

Jean Backs, Ohio State Parks