Nov./Dec. 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
Big Things Coming!

Photo by Mike Egan

Next year will be an exciting one not only for Friends of the Little Miami State Park but for all who love and use the trail. Several pieces of good news promise a better trail experience in 2015 and beyond:

  • The Little Miami State Park will receive a significant share of the $88.5 million that Ohio State Parks is investing in the 74 state parks, announced by Ohio Department of Natural Resources Director Jim Zehringer in June. This month, FLMSP president Steve Murphy and board members Aaron Rourke and Don Mills toured the trail with Gary Obermiller, Chief of Ohio State Parks. With the help of FLMSP's Master List of all trail features and problems, Obermiller saw firsthand the conditions along the trail. As a result of this tour, Little Miami State Park will receive capital to resolve trail slumps and erosion and drainage problems to prepare the trail for repaving, and then to repave as much of the trail as funds allow.
  • An Ohio State Park employee will be assigned full-time to the Little Miami State Park.  We expect this employee will have access to existing state equipment such as a backhoe, power brush, and dump truck. The Friends welcome the opportunity to work with this new state employee resource. 
  • A pending grant from the National Park Service would repave over 7 miles of the trail from Cunningham Road in Camp Dennison to just north of Cones Road in Loveland.
  • An opportunity to apply for a Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission grant that would fund repaving of the 6.5-mile portion of our trail in Greene County comes up in September 2015.

What does all this good news mean for the Friends of the Little Miami State Park? Primarily, it reinforces our philosophy that working with and supporting the state agencies responsible for the park promotes a better trail experience for us all. For example, the dedication of our volunteers and supporters, evident in the strong response to our pledge campaign last year, was vital to securing a grant that funded the completed repaving projects. Your big response to the state's online survey showed how important this park is to our community and certainly influenced the amount of help we now will receive from the state. FLMSP's Master List, the product of intimate knowledge coming from thousands of volunteer hours on the trail, documents specific trail needs in detail, facilitating the response generated by Obermiller's tour.


In short, the Friends believe their hard work over the last five years and the support of the community are finally paying off in a big way. We plan to continue our working relationship with Ohio Parks, for we believe we accomplish much more together than we can separately. With your continued support we can ensure our trail remains a treasured community resource for years to come.


Trail Blowing: Artists at Work

Bill Schwinn's firsthand account of the art of trail blowing:

"For the past several weeks four teams have weekly blown the full trail using the blower that was acquired by FLMSP last year. Tony Blizniak coordinates the use of the blower.  My team of Craig Richmond (in photo), Betsy Schwinn and Bill Schwinn cleared the trail on Wednesday mornings.


"It is really a one-person job, but after the first 15 minutes the novelty of using this high-powered blower wears thin and the second person provides company, encouragement and advice for the next 3 hours or so.  Our gig was to blow the trail from Loveland to Avoca Park and back.  Tony faithfully delivered the blower to Loveland at 9:00 AM and then picked it up after we returned to our starting point sometime after noon.


"There are so many variables to successful blowing that one has to conclude that getting clean results is an art form, not a science. Some of the variables are blower engine speed, vehicle speed, blower angle, wind direction, volume of leaves and dryness/wetness of leaves.  Walnuts and sticks provide their own problems.  Fences located close to the pavement challenge the operator the most.  Sometimes you are really frustrated when you see how many leaves you have redeposited on the trail.  I'll let you in on my secret: blow wet leaves because once they are blown off the trail they stay put."


Thank you to Tony Blizniak and all the blower crews for keeping the trail clear and safe this fall.


One Family, Two Railroads         

  by Janet Slater

The historical foundation of the Little Miami Scenic Trail is not one, but two railroads. You know about the one with iron rails, but are you aware of the secret one, the one built on the convictions and courage of those who stood against slavery? A small community group is working to erect a historical marker along the trail at Butterworth Station, 2.6 miles north of Loveland, to honor the family who helped establish the Little Miami Railroad and conduct slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad in the 1830s and 1840s.

Benjamin and Rachel Butterworth moved from Virginia to settle in the Ohio wilderness in 1812. They purchased land ($3/acre) to establish a farm along the Little Miami River, and in 1820 completed the stone house that is visible from the trail across a field (see photo). The farm is still owned by their descendents.

The Butterworth family believed in giving to the community, and supported projects including the Montgomery Pike (today's State Rte. 22/3), the Maineville Academy, and the Little Miami Railroad. They gave funding, right-of-way for the tracks to pass through their property, and use of their water tower.


The round stone station no longer stands, but its location right next to the trail was recently discovered by a group led by Dr. Karen Dinsmore seeking to place an informative marker. A plaque will mark the location of the physical station, but it marks the secret "station" as well.


"I wanted the marker to be on the bike trail so people could learn about this incredible family that risked everything to shelter runaway slaves and transport them to the next stop," says Dinsmore. "They gave so much to this country."


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.   
Next Meeting

 Please join us for our open meeting!


November 23

4:00 p.m.


Spring Valley Town Hall

7 W. Main Street

Spring Valley, Ohio


Learn more about the "Big Things Coming" (see article at left) that will make this meeting definitely worth the drive.




Quick Links
Volunteers: Log your hours!


Recording the hours you give to trail work, attending meetings, and travel to these helps FLMSP document the involvement of our group when applying for grants or state funding. It's now easier to record your hours; do it right on our web site.

Mouse over "Adopt-a-Trail" from top menu and click on Downloads from the pull-down menu. Log in as a registered user; if you need help with this respond to this newsletter. In the right column is a prominent graphic for the Volunteer Hours Submission Form. Click the link to open the simple form, which is self-explanatory. You can enter all hours in one entry from the last time they were recorded.


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Trail Hotline



Call or email to report downed trees or other non-emergency safety issues. Photos helpful!





Meet the Crew

A hearty Friends welcome to new chainsaw crew members Ron Gorley and George Stockham!