Jan/Feb 2015
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
A Trail Is Born

Photo by Eric Partee, ca. 1990, from I-275 bridge south of Loveland

It was a close-run thing.

- Winston Churchill,
commenting on the Battle of Britain
following the British victory

Well, Sir Winston, so was the Little Miami Scenic Trail. There were some "close calls" involved in converting abandoned railroad tracks into a first-rate multi-use trail; had these close calls gone the wrong way, it would have been much more difficult, if not impossible. . .


Find out how it took a helicopter, a train, a canoe, a high school band, a bi-partisan Congressional effort, and the Ohio Supreme Court to bring us our trail. You'll even meet a cigar-smoking chimpanzee. Click here for the whole story, researched and written by TrailMail contributor Tom Wallace. 

Little Miami State Park Usage Soars!
Trail-counter volunteer Barb VanOrsdel holds counter equipment she camouflage-painted for better concealment in the woods adjacent to the trail

by Paul Morgan

Total visits to the Little Miami State Park in 2014 were 760,000! This figure is from our first-ever comprehensive count of trail visits. The last estimate, 200,000, done by OKI in 1998, was based on very limited manual count data and a shorter trail length.

The 2014 estimate was calculated using electronic counters operating 24/7 for at least one month on each of the 22 "counting" sections of our 50-mile trail. The monthly counts were extrapolated to annual visits using data from the National Bike & Pedestrian Documentation project and with support from the Rails to Trails Conservancy.

FLMSP will use the new estimate to encourage grantors and other organizations to invest more money into the maintenance of this trail. We'll help them understand what we trail users already know-that our trail is cherished by the individual users and by the communities the trail passes through, and is a valuable asset to our entire region.

Our counting program will continue for the foreseeable future. If you'd like to help, contact us through our website.

Many thanks to Paul Morgan, FLMSP Board member, for ground-breaking research and development of the trail-counter program. 

Trailside Historical Marker Approved       

  by Janet Slater

Hamilton Township's first historical marker, explaining the contribution of the Butterworth family to the Little Miami Railroad, the Underground Railroad, and Maineville Academy, will be placed along our trail at Butterworth Station, 2.6 miles north of Loveland. It will mark the location of the stone depot, no longer standing but pictured above.

The boy in the old photo is Thomas Foster, a Butterworth descendent. Although Thomas is deceased, his wife Avery lives in Mason and supplied the photo. The depot is round because it doubled as a water tower for the railroad, using water from nearby springs, as well as a place to await the train.

The engraved sign with a picture and the state-required dedication ceremony require about $3,000 in funding, and the local group who worked for the historical marker needs your help. The caretaker of Butterworth Farm, located just east of the approved marker, is offering a special tour of the stone house where slaves were hidden in the 1830s and 40s to all who contribute $100 or more toward the project.

To contribute, please send a check made out to the Warren County Foundation, designated for Butterworth Station, to: Warren County Foundation, 118 Main St., Lebanon, OH 45036.

A public dedication ceremony for the marker is planned for June 6, 2015. 


WCWS Blasts Buried Culvert

by Paul Morgan

Preserving and protecting our trail and its infrastructure demands many kinds of work - such as assuring that rainwater flows safely through the hundreds of culverts that pass under the trail. Many of these date back to the 1840s when the rail beds were built.

A buried culvert - filled with gravel & dirt with both openings buried in sediment was found by trail volunteers north of Loveland as they investigated water running over the trail. Many volunteer hours were spent digging by hand and backhoe to uncover the openings and restore the outlet ditch, but 30 feet of 24-inch pipe remained clogged. The solution?

Warren County Water & Sewer Department (WCWS) to the rescue! As a community service, the WCWS dispatched their skilled employees and huge equipment to jet-blast the debris out of the pipe. A job that would have been impossible using standard rental tools was quickly assessed and accomplished by WCWS employees John Kendrick and Adam Osterday, working in a stiff breeze and temperatures in the mid-20s. All it took was three hours and 3000 gallons of water sprayed under high pressure.

Many thanks to John and Adam, WCWS, and the many volunteers who fixed this drainage issue.

TrailMail, the e-newsletter of Friends of the Little Miami State Park, is published ten times a year. TrailMail welcomes submissions of trail-related photos and articles about people, events, history, and the trail's natural environment. Send submissions to:
Next Meeting

 Please join us for our open meeting!


February 22

4:00 p.m.


Loveland City Hall

120 W. Loveland Ave.

Loveland, OH 45140



Quick Links
Volunteer Memos
Fill out a new Volunteer Agreement Form for 2015. It's necessary for your protection in case of accident. Download it here.

Log your hours! It's easy; do it on our web site 


Toss limbs into the woods and pick up trash while lack of foliage makes the berm visible.

Do not clear snow or ice off the trail. ODNR made this policy to avoid possible lawsuits and because we can't do the whole trail.




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Trail Hotline



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





Plant Plug Workshop

January 24: Cincinnati State is offering a public workshop on reestablishing our beautiful native species using plant plug propagation, a method that costs only 25 cents per 10-inch plug. As we battle invasive species on the trail, volunteers trained in this method can help bring back native natural beauty to the trail and elsewhere. Click here for complete information.  




Tell Us We're Cracking Up

Help us identify bumps on the trail so they can be scarified and crack-filled this spring. Please send Don Hahn or Don Mills the mile marker location of any bump that is over 1/4" high.


Public Meeting: Peters Soil Cleanup

A public meeting will be held Thursday, Feb. 12 at 6:00 p.m. at the Warren County Administration Building regarding the lead-contaminated soil cleanup approved by the EPA at the former Peters Cartridge Factory. The contractors are planning to mobilize on Feb 16th, and the remedial action work is scheduled for completion between March and September 2015.




Cooperation Brings Quick Response


It's an hour before dark on Sunday, the last day of November, when an Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources wildlife officer encounters this tree fallen across the trail. He calls an ODNR parks officer, who in turn calls the Friends hotline. Aaron Rourke fields the call and contacts Dennis and Kathy Lewis, trail adopters for this northern section of the park, and they're on it right away. At noon the next day, the parks officer is back on the trail; he sends the photo below. Thanks to the cooperation between the state employees and FLMSP volunteers, this tree didn't lie around for long, even at the end of a holiday weekend. Said ODNR employee Heidi Evans, "You guys have it down to a science there. . . Thanks for all your group does!"