Green Umbrella in the News

  • May 06, 2020 3:16 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Eagle Country, 99.3 FM

    By: One Dearborn, Inc.

    Retired Great Parks of Hamilton County CEO Will Lead Dearborn Co. Trails Assessment

    (Dearborn Co., Ind.) - A new partnership is a big step toward the improvement and creation of trails within Dearborn County and their connection into neighboring counties.

    One Dearborn, the local economic development organization (LEDO) for Dearborn County, has contracted with county resident Jack Sutton to conduct a “State of Trails in Dearborn County” report in 2020.

    “Having a strong network of multi-use trails that connect people and communities will ensure Dearborn County remains a great place to live, work & play. I look forward to working with One Dearborn and our community leaders in planning for the future,” says Sutton.

    Sutton brings a high level of expertise in enhancing outdoor recreation and preserving natural resources in the Cincinnati region. He retired as the chief executive officer of the award-winning Great Parks of Hamilton County in May 2019 following a career which began with the public park system in 1989. Prior to serving as CEO, he held positions including park planner, planning director and deputy director. Sutton has served as chairman of the Hamilton County Natural Resources Assistance Council. He also served on the board of Green Umbrella, a sustainability alliance dedicated to the environmental health and vitality of the region, and the Tri-State Trails Committee. Additionally, Sutton is a committee member helping with the formation of the Ohio River Recreation Trail.

    The foundational “State of Trails in Dearborn County” report will give Dearborn County’s local governments, as well as non-profits and businesses with interests in trails, a common document from which to continue and enhance their trails planning and implementation efforts. It may also become a first step toward development of a Comprehensive Trails Master Plan for Dearborn County. Having such a master plan in place would allow those entities to check off a key qualification for obtaining grant funding.

    Sutton’s work under the contract will consist of four tasks:

    Inventory and analysis of existing trail assets and initiatives;

    Identification of potential funding resources for trail-related planning and construction;

    Preparation of an executive summary report documenting findings and next steps;

    Sharing the project findings with city and county officials, community stakeholder groups and citizens.

    Trail connectivity is one of the Big 8 Economic Development Drivers identified in the One Dearborn County Regional Economic Development Action Plan. The plan prioritizes extensions and improvements of the Dearborn Trail and Aurora Riverfront Trail, completing segments of Bright trails, and new trail projects across the county.

    “Not only does Jack Sutton have a zeal for the outdoors and recreation, but his professional and volunteer experience brings a unique and deep understanding of how to inventory trail and park assets across multiple communities. Jack is the perfect person to lead this important project,” says One Dearborn President and CEO Terri Randall.

    One Dearborn will play a supporting role behind Sutton’s work.

    Sutton’s report may also compliment One Dearborn’s August 2019 Dearborn County Housing Market Analysis & Implementation Action Plan in planning for neighborhood growth. Greenway trails are shown to have a significant positive impact on housing preferences and increase home values near the trails.

    “As One Dearborn strives to improve the quality of life for all in Dearborn County, understanding trails is increasingly vital to that discussion,” Randall adds.

    For more information on One Dearborn or to access the Dearborn County Regional Economic Development Plan or Dearborn County Housing Market Analysis & Implementation Action Plan, visit www.1dearborn.org/reports.


  • May 06, 2020 10:20 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Cincinnati Business Courier

    By: Bill Cieslewicz

    Former Great Parks of Hamilton County CEO Takes on New Role

    The former CEO of Great Parks of Hamilton County has landed a new position in Greater Cincinnati.

    Jack Sutton has contracted with One Dearborn, the economic development organization for Dearborn County, to conduct a “State of the Trails” report in the Southeast Indiana county of 50,000 people in 2020. The partnership is a big step toward the improvement and creation of trails within Dearborn County and their connection into neighboring counties.

    “Having a strong network of multi-use trails that connect people and communities will ensure Dearborn County remains a great place to live, work and play,” Sutton said in a release.

    Sutton, a resident of Dearborn County, retired in May 2019 following a 20-year career with the award-winning public park system. He was succeeded by Todd Palmeter, chief of planning

    Prior to serving as CEO, Sutton held positions including park planner, planning director and deputy director. Sutton also served as chairman of the Hamilton County Natural Resources Assistance Council, and on the boards of Green Umbrella, a sustainability alliance dedicated to the environmental health and vitality of the region, and the Tri-State Trails Committee. Sutton is also a committee member helping with the formation of the Ohio River Recreation Trail.

    The "State of Trails" report will give Dearborn County’s local governments as well as non-profits and businesses with interests in trails a common document from which to continue and enhance their trails planning and implementation efforts.

    It may also become a first step toward development of a Comprehensive Trails Master Plan for Dearborn County. Having such a master plan in place would allow those entities to check off a key qualification for obtaining grant funding.

    Great Parks of Hamilton County, a system of 17 parks and nature preserves, was created in 1930 as the Hamilton County Park District. 
Its mission is to preserve and protect natural resources and to provide outdoor recreation and education to enhance the quality of life for present and future generations.

  • May 05, 2020 9:18 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Soapbox Media

    By: Ryan Mooney-Bullock

    Green Umbrella: Connecting the dots between trails, food, greenspace, and healthy workplaces

    Green Umbrella convenes people and organizations working to improve the health of our region’s people, landscape, and climate impact. We connect education, non-profit, business, and government sectors, creating strong networks in times of crisis.

    It has been awe-inspiring to see the increased demand for and appreciation of the community assets we have been helping to strengthen over the last decade, most notably a connected trail network, protected natural areas, and a robust local food system.

    With gyms closed and less time at work, residents are finding recreation on our region’s trail network. Tri-State Trails compared the trail usage data from March 2019 to March 2020 and saw a huge increase in activity. On some trails the traffic tripled.

    We want to increase the number of residents who can easily get on a trail by continuing to connect trails to each other. That’s why we are advocating to build out the CROWN, the Cincinnati Riding Or Walking Network, which will connect at least 356,000 people in 49 Cincinnati neighborhoods to schools, parks, healthcare, and jobs.

    As spring unfolds, people are flocking to our parks, nature preserves, and other protected greenspaces. Time outside is providing us physical activity, mental clarity, opportunities for learning, and a break from being home 24/7. A few popular destinations have been seeing more people than is ideal given physical distancing.

    Green Umbrella’s list of Greenspace Gems provides fresh ideas for natural destinations, helping residents spread out while they get outside. Our outdoor and environmental education partners have been sharing educational resources with teachers and families to help them engage students in fun learning while they are at home. How amazing would it be if a generation of passionate nature protectors emerged from this unexpected spring and summer?

    Sales at local farmers markets are skyrocketing as people realize that buying directly from farmers and food artisans is safe, convenient, and reliable. This increased demand paired with social distancing has presented both challenges and opportunities for the local food system.

    Green Umbrella’s Food Policy Council has helped farmers markets identify strategies for staying open and preparing for the summer season, when supply and demand will be at their peak. We are working on a coordinated approach so that market managers have the support they need to safely connect farmers to their customers. We have provided financial assistance to re-launch direct-to-household food delivery programs to support farmers who planned on selling their products to restaurants, schools, and institutions, which are currently closed. And you can help by expanding your local food purchasing by committing to a Community Supported Agriculture program. For more information, check out the 2020 CORV Guide.

    As we all begin to contemplate what a return to work and school will look like in the coming months, the Cincinnati 2030 District is convening employers and building managers to think through what their new normal can look like. How can telecommuting continue to be part of the solution, not just for social distancing but for climate impact? How can the design and conditioning of spaces save energy and water (and therefore money) and slow the spread of COVID-19?

    Now is a great time to become a part of Greater Cincinnati’s movement for sustainability, resiliency, and environmental quality. We are forming new collaborations focused on faith communities going green, the health impacts of housing quality, and how local governments of all sizes can get started on their environmental journey. We need your support to keep this transformative work going for our region. Find out how you can get involved and make a donation at greenumbrella.org.

    Ryan Mooney-Bullock is the Executive Director of Green Umbrella. A Cincinnati native, Ryan lives with her husband and four children in the wilds of Spring Grove Village. During this unexpected season of homeschooling, she is thankful for the goats, chickens, dogs, cat, bees, birds, trees, and flowers that have brought a sense of abundance to social isolation.



  • May 04, 2020 1:39 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: WCPO

    By: Pat LaFleur

    It's Still Bike Month

    April and May are usually the busiest months of the year for Wade Johnston of Mount Washington. While the director of Tri-State Trails is keeping busy this spring, it's for different reasons.

    "For the first three weeks of...the stay-at-home order, we were monitoring trail use, and it was up, overall, 30% at the five locations that we do trail counting," Johnston told WCPO.

    Now that it's National Bike Month -- celebrated across the U.S. each May, usually with large social events and group rides throughout the month -- Johnston said he expects cyclists to continue using the region's nearly 600 miles of walking and biking trails.

    "Trail traffic appears to still be really high," Johnston said.

    But he also said -- now more than ever -- Bike Month is an occasion for cyclists to practice caution and maybe adjust their expectations.

    "Typically every year during Bike Month, we encourage people to go out and enjoy a group ride with friends and co-workers," he said. "We encourage people to bike to work. Obviously, with the COVID-19 pandemic, we've had to change our plans for group rides."

    Instead of dozens, or even hundreds, of cyclists gathering for group rides that culminate at picnics or breweries, Johnston said cyclists are organizing bike scavenger hunts and virtual group rides using mobile apps like Strava or Map My Ride.

    Tri-State Trails compiled this list of ways people can celebrate Bike Month while also observing the recommended amount of social distancing.

    "We're just encouraging folks to stay with your immediate household members and still get outside, still go ride your bike" Johnston said. "But make sure you're following all the guidelines from local health departments and the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]."

    A lot of Johnston's work at Tri-State Trails' over the last six weeks has been adjusting his messaging surrounding the region's trails. He said he's had to strike a balance between encouraging trail use while also encouraging caution.

    "If you go to a trail, and the trailhead is packed, or there's tons of people out there, we're encouraging you to go to a less busy trail so that you don't put yourself in an unsafe situation," Johnston said.

  • April 27, 2020 11:41 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: WVXU

    By: Ann Thompson

    Ways To Keep Workplaces Safe From COVID-19

    As millions of Americans get ready to return to work the subject of "healthy buildings" has come up, and Cincinnati facility engineers are explaining what's involved.

    Nobody is saying buildings have to be WELL certified (the equivalent of LEED but think employee health on top of energy efficiency). That could mean more money than most companies have in this pandemic economy.

    In a Cincinnati 2030 District sponsored event April 21, Siemens Building Technologies' Tim Foster and David Eslinger discussed individual steps businesses can take to ensure their facilities are healthy and promote wellness. Foster has specialized in building automation and energy efficiency for decades and Eslinger is an energy engineer with experience in building controls.

    Foster suggests installing a smart sensor system to measure employee movement throughout the building. It would create a digital map. "It really gives you more actionable data. Instead of cleaning every restroom, let's say four times a day, maybe you can kind of spot the restrooms that have the most (use) and you can deploy your cleaning resources to where they are most likely to be effective."

    Putting in hundreds of sensors would be expensive, but Foster suggests maybe the cost could be justified if the sensors were also used to monitor building occupancy, access and theft.

    What About Bringing In More Outside Air?

    "Certainly you wouldn't want to go out and replace your HVAC system," Foster tells building managers, "unless there was some other compelling need but you would want to understand at least how you're bringing in outside air."

    Without it, when somebody coughs the ventilation system moves those germs to another part of the building. So, Harvard's Joe Allen, who is an expert on healthy buildings, says the goal is to bring in 100% outdoor air with no recirculation. He tells facility managers if they have to recirculate air to have MERV or HEPA filters.

    But it can go bad if you don't change the filters, says Siemens' David Eslinger. "I go into a lot of these places and the air filter has a maintenance tag that says it was inspected last week and it turns out that the inspector came by and because the fan speed was so low at that moment in time it passed but you open it up and it's obviously coated in grime. ... When you open it up it will break apart the filter."

    Alternative Filtration Systems Are Likely To Gain Traction

    Think ultraviolet light like hospitals use for sterilization or ionization.

    "Not to say that's going to directly or indirectly help the COVID-19 situation but you may run into those applications," Foster says.

    Facilitiesnet.com reports having clean buildings isn't enough. Communicating what you've done to employees will be key to inspire confidence and peace of mind. Foster says it's important to make human resources executives aware of healthy changes made.


  • April 22, 2020 11:02 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: The Enquirer

    By: Chris Hopper

    Opinion: Greater Cincinnati among the greenest regions in US

    Fifty years ago, on April 22, 1970, an estimated 20 million Americans attended events across the country to support environmental reform. This first "Earth Day" is credited with launching the modern environmental movement in the United States. At Skanska, we believe in building for a better society, which includes constructing sustainable, resilient facilities such as schools, offices, hospitals, hotels, sports venues and aviation facilities that will benefit generations to come.

    While our country – and our world – have come a long way since 1970, we still have a long way to go. Last year, the world’s annual carbon emissions reached an all-time high, and while we are seeing a temporary reduction in emissions because of COVID-related travel bans, these emissions will likely resume their climb once this pandemic is resolved.

    The good news is that Greater Cincinnati is recognized as a national leader in environmental sustainability. In 2018, personal finance website Wallet Hub recognized Cincinnati as the "greenest" city in Ohio and one of the greenest in the country. In 2017 and 2018, Site Selection Magazine ranked our region the best in the country for sustainable development; we ranked second last year.

    Our community is fortunate that the city of Cincinnati has created an Office of Environment and Sustainability, and we have Green Umbrella, the regional nonprofit alliance with more than 200 member organizations whose mission is to create a vibrant and sustainable region.

    A cornerstone of sustainability efforts for both of these organizations was the creation of the Cincinnati 2030 District. It consists of regional property owners, developers and commercial tenants working together to create a network of healthy, high-performing buildings by reducing the energy use, water consumption and transportation emissions in these buildings by 50% by the year 2030.

    Skanska’s Cincinnati office is proud to be a member of the Cincinnati 2030 District because it is consistent with our long-term commitment to environmental sustainability, including LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) green building practices.


    In the Tristate, Skanska has constructed seven LEED Gold certified projects – the FBI Cincinnati Field Office in Kenwood, University of Kentucky’s Gatton College of Business and Economics Renovation and Expansion, three elementary schools for Northwest Local School District and two of Dayton Metro Library’s facilities.

    We’ve also built six LEED Silver certified projects, including the Teachers Complex renovation at the University of Cincinnati, Miami Valley Hospital’s Southeast Addition, and new buildings for Fairfield City Schools. Skanska is currently seeking LEED certification for our renovation of UC’s Fifth Third Arena, the upcoming UC College of Law renovation, and several new school buildings for Carlisle Local Schools, Winton Woods City Schools, Southwest Local Schools and Little Miami Schools.

    As a signatory to the Paris Climate Accord, Skanska has set aggressive global emissions-reduction goals. Assessments of a building’s emissions and life-cycle costs traditionally focus on energy efficiency, the operational carbon of a structure. Because of a lack of data or data too complex to evaluate, few tools have been available to benchmark the "embodied" carbon of a building, which reduces the carbon footprint of a structure even before it becomes operational.

    To address this problem, Skanska and its industry partners created the Embodied Carbon in Construction Calculator tool, an open-source platform that calculates embodied carbon emissions of building materials. Launched in September 2019, this tool allows developers and designers to make carbon-smart choices during the material-specifications and procurement process.

    In addition, Skanska and the U.S. Green Building Council created Insight, another tool that allows designers and developers to analyze the design attributes of LEED-certified building in specific geographic regions that allows them to adopt smart and practical sustainability strategies.

    As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day this month, we need to continue to develop innovative solutions to achieve the important goal of environmental sustainability – both in our community and throughout the world.

  • April 20, 2020 1:54 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: UC News

    By: Melanie Shefft

    'Gold-star' campus shines on Earth Day amid shutdown

    While University of Cincinnati's typical Earth Day events are normally observed through engaging activities held throughout the month, UC students are shifting the usual on-campus celebrations into a world of virtual adventures.

    “One of the aspects of resourceful sustainability is being able to adapt to change quickly and efficiently,” says Daniel Hart, sustainability coordinator in UC's department of Planning + Design + Construction.

    “And in record time, students jumped in during the COVID-19 shutdown and turned shuttered campus events into open virtual activities for everyone, including tours of Burnet Woods and the Cincinnati Zoo, Netflix watch parties and online games with chances to win prizes — all accessed through UC Sustainability’s social media and university websites.”

    Throughout Earth Week, April 20-25, UC Sustainability’s social media sites will present virtual at-home events, a weeklong bingo game and chances to win prizes. Check out the UC | Sustainability Facebook page for virtual Earth Week activities and to download your bingo sheet.

    Cool, virtual Earth Day activities include:

    Monday, 6 p.m., Netflix watch party on Facebook viewing the documentary “The Devil We Know,” detailing DuPont's alleged decades-long cover-up of the potential harm caused by chemicals used to make popular Teflon products. Also, share your favorite sustainability-themed artwork for a chance to win prizes. Don’t forget to include #UCEarthWeek2020 when you post on social media to be entered to win.

    Tuesday, 2 p.m., "live" tour through Burnet Woods. And share a photo from your favorite local trail while including #UCEarthWeek2020.

    Wednesday, all day, Virtual cleanup with Clean Up Cincy by picking up litter where you are and post a photo to win a prize with #UCEarthWeek2020.

    Thursday, 3 p.m., At-home safari with Cincinnati Zoo. Share a photo or fact about your favorite animal to win a prize and include #UCEarthWeek2020.

    Friday, 2 p.m., Submit bingo sheets by 2 p.m. Winners are announced at 4 p.m.

    More than a pretty face

    Some of the great ways UC works on being green and sustainable are conserving energy and developing award-winning Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified buildings. For example the new Allied Health Center, Gardner Neuroscience facilities on East campus are LEED certified. And the new Carl H. Lindner College of Business (LCOB) building has been submitted for LEED certification in hopes of receiving gold-level status — paralleling the gold earned in 2008 by UC College of Medicine’s CARE/Crawley Center for Academic Research on East campus.

    “LCOB actually has four intensive green roof systems on top of the building and a bioswale system on the western side of the building where it captures rainwater runoff,” says Hart. “Both features reduce our contribution to combined sewer overflow. So while it’s a really beautiful facility it has a lot of unique sustainable features within the design of the built space.”

    LCOB, as well as the new 1819 Innovation Hub and several other buildings on campus incorporate daylighting features, which uses daylight harvesting principals via architectural means to provide natural light and reduce electricity use.

    As part of UC’s geographic information system, a tree master plan maps where trees and natural vegetation strategically placed around campus buildings help effectively shade sun and block wind, adds Hart.

    UC’s new Sustainability + Climate Action Plan keeps the university on track, says Hart, serving as the guiding framework for how UC continues to work toward creating a culture of viable action while building awareness and encouraging behaviors that support the university’s strategic direction called Next Lives Here.

    Top-of-the-line utilities for a world-class university

    Facilities Management at UC supports over 40,000 people throughout its complex service network, and the university’s utilities keep main campus, UC’s College of Medicine and several surrounding hospitals in the area humming.

    “Our operations are driven by a state-of-the-art, high-efficiency, cogeneration central utility plant, making our energy resources twice as efficient as most power plants in the region,” says Mike Hofmann, director of UC’s Finance-Utilities Services. “While we maintain two plants supplying electric, steam and chilled water to main campus buildings, we are also cutting costs to our outlying campuses — maintaining a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions resulting in more than $1 million in rebates from Duke Energy over the last four years.

    “In lieu of natural gas or fossil fuels, we purchased a new green energy contract in 2019, sourcing 100% power from a more sustainable wind energy for the Clermont, UC Blue Ash, Victory Parkway and Reading campuses, as well as the 1819 Innovation Hub.”

    Students Pave the Way

    To showcase these milestones, engineering students in UC’s well-known co-op and experiential learning programs, partnering with Hofmann and UC Facilities Management, created, entered and won the national Campus Energy 2020 Student Video Contest.

    “This is a testament to how the integration of UC’s ongoing green/energy efforts are impacting the lives of students,” adds Hofmann. “And the engineering students who started the Society of Environmental Engineers group are making plans to help design the layout of the future solar applications of UC’s outlying buildings.”

    Sustainability as a focus has also been a key factor in the UC College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning ’s architecture program. For example fifth-year DAAP student Roger Chanin saw the value in sustainability early on while designing his path toward a career in architecture. “I think I’ll continue down the route of sustainability,” says Chanin in an interview with Venue magazine. “I got my LEED credentials because I realize there’s a lot of demand for an architect who can do sustainable design while also saving a company money.”

    The breadth and diversity of students currently weaving the value of sustainable living into their majors and future career goals is growing larger every year, Hart adds.

    Students are also taking the lead in research related to recycling behaviors in different areas of Cincinnati.

    “We looked at what influenced people to recycle, what restricted people, why it is important as well as some general trends to why people recycle or why not,” says Leo Readey, one of 13 UC students who surveyed the inner-city Cincinnati neighborhood of South Cumminsville and recycling habits there for a course-based senior capstone project.

    “Students take behaviors, perspectives and experiences from college with them for the rest of their lives, and it’s our intention that UC can serve as a living laboratory and demonstrative framework for what a sustainable community could look like,” says Hart. “Creating a culture of sustainability begins with the way we treat one another, the way we treat the land and what we envision the world to look like.”


    Practices that impact UC’s Gold-STAR rating include:

    UC’s Sustainability + Climate Action Plan, published in 2019, serves as the guiding framework for how UC continues to work toward enhancing a culture of sustainability and climate action.


    UC is a member of the Cincinnati 2030 District, a four-part collective commitment to reduce building energy use, water use and transportation emissions 50% by the year 2030, and includes a Wellbeing component being developed by UC professor Amanda Webb.

    UC’s Environmental Literacy Certificate Program is a co-curricular, not-for-credit professional certificate through the Office of Sustainability offered free to all students to demonstrate fundamental competencies in ecological principles and systems thinking.

    UC Food Service, directed by Katie Wahlke, received a 2019 Advancements in Waste Reduction Award for their efforts in waste reduction from Hamilton County Recycling and Solid Waste District.

    UC annually sponsors the Midwest Regional Sustainability Summit, hosting sustainability student groups from all around the country.

    Almost a decade of composting spent coffee grounds from campus dining and cafe locations has yielded over 16 tons of compost for campus landscape fertilizer.

    Transportation to move quickly and efficiently from one building to another or to travel out of town are located all across campus for Bearcats on the go. Check out the options.

    In 2019, the League of American Bicyclists awarded the University of Cincinnati's Uptown campus as one of the country's most bicycle-friendly.


  • April 20, 2020 10:41 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Cincinnati Parent Magazine

    By: Sarah McCosham

    Find any hiking trail in Cincinnati with Tri-State Trails

    If you’re getting stir crazy from staying home, there is a solution. Find any hiking trail in Cincinnati with Tri-State Trails!

    Since Governor DeWine issued the Stay-at-Home order over a month ago, I’ve been taking my kids out hiking a couple times a week. As per the order, outdoor exercise is allowed, as long as social distancing guidelines are maintained. My kids know the rules, and we make sure to keep our distance and wash our hands thoroughly upon arriving back home.

    I’ve really treasured this time with my kids, who are always up for an adventure. We’ve visited such a great variety of parks, that we haven’t even missed going to playgrounds. Most hiking trails are ones I’d never been on before, and getting to see this side of Cincinnati has been wonderful. I’ve been using Tri-State Trails, a free resource, to find kid-friendly hiking trails in the area, and have discovered some true hidden gems.


    Using Tri-State Trails is easy — simply use the Find a Trail search engine your area code or suburb to find trails in your area. (There are over 570 miles of trails in Greater Cincinnati!) The search results will give you GPS coordinates, park address and website
  • April 09, 2020 1:02 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Tri-State Trails

    By: Wade Johnston

    Covid-19 Increases Trail Use Around Greater Cincinnati

    COVID-19 has changed everyday life as we know it. In a time when so many things are uncertain, one thing is clear: more people are going outside to walk, run, or ride a bike. As a result, trails, sidewalks, and parks are experiencing an influx of traffic.

    A look at the data

    Tri-State Trails collects daily usage data on five trails in Greater Cincinnati. Since trails are one of the few public places that have remained open during the government stay-at-home order, we wanted to see how usage was impacted. Below we examine three weeks of data, March 16 through April 4 (the first three weeks of quarantine), in both 2019 and 2020. On four of those trails, usage is up.

    Suburban and rural trails seeing a surge

    Usage has more than doubled on the Little Miami Scenic Trail and Dearborn Trail and more than tripled on the Great Miami River Trail. Increases on the Dearborn Trail and Great Miami River Trail indicate that people are visiting routes that are known to be less busy.

    If usage continues to increase, it could be problematic for the Little Miami Scenic Trail, which was already one of our region’s most popular places to walk, run, or ride. Read our blog post about how to stay safe on trails during COVID-19.

    Urban trails impacted differently

    Just outside of downtown, Lunken Airport’s loop trail is seeing a modest increase in usage compared to this time last year. The Purple People Bridge, however, is the only path to have seen a decrease in usage since the quarantine started. This might come as a surprise for our region’s most highly used trail, but we think this can be explained for two reasons.

    First off, events that are typically happening downtown during this time of year have been cancelled. Secondly, with so many employers closed down, fewer people are likely using the connection between Kentucky and Ohio for commuting to work. The down tick in usage isn’t necessarily a bad thing, given the circumstances–it likely means people are trying to avoid the busy corridor.

    Moving forward

    While these data are representative of trail usage, anecdotally, we have seen more people out walking, running, and biking on neighborhood streets. With most sidewalks only being only 5 to 6 feet wide, it makes passing with at least 6 feet of physical distance virtually impossible without stepping into the grass or the road.

    When the world reopens, experts are saying our cultural norms will need to stay in coronavirus-mode until a vaccine is made readily available. Which means our busy urban sidewalks aren’t going to cut it to maintain proper physical distancing.

    With fewer cars on the road, cities around the world are borrowing traffic lanes to expand space for pedestrians. We think that could work in Greater Cincinnati too. What do you think? Send us a message with your ideas.

    About the data

    These numbers are raw data collected from our passive infrared trail counters. We run this through a rigorous analysis at the end of the calendar year to ensure accuracy. That process is underway for our 2019 data.

  • April 08, 2020 12:58 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Tri-State Trails

    By: Wade Johnston and Rachel Blinka

    Stay Safe on the Trails During Covid-19

    During these unprecedented times, people all around the world are turning to trails to clear their heads, get some exercise, and enjoy the spring sunshine. As a result, trail use is surging around the tri-state. You might be wondering, is this safe during the pandemic?

    Do your part for everyone’s health

    Parks and trails are one of the few places that remain open to the public, aside from essential businesses. Current medical and public health guidance indicates that engaging in physical activity outdoors is a safe way to maintain health and wellness in response to COVID-19. Here’s the catch—we all must refrain from gathering in groups and maintain a safe physical distance of at least 6 feet from other trail users.

    Social distancing measures and the looming threat of the current public health crisis can negatively impact our mental health. Fortunately, getting outside in parks and on trails has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety. So, in places where there are no restrictions on the use of trails, you can (and should) continue to enjoy them!

    Find a trail less traveled

    The popular trails are going to be packed. Now is a great time to explore a trail that’s new to you–we can help with that.

    Even so, most of our region’s trails are 8 to 12 feet wide, which can make passing in a crowded setting difficult to maintain proper 6 feet separation. While on the trail, warn other users of your presence as you pass, and step aside to let others pass. Using a bike bell is encouraged!

    What else can I do?

    Here are some tips to ensure your adventure goes smoothly:

    • Refrain from using parks or trails if you are showing symptoms of COVID-19.
    • Follow the CDC’s guidance on personal hygiene prior to and during use of parks or trails. Wash those hands!
    • Prepare for limited or no access to public restrooms or water fountains.
    • Follow CDC guidance on the recommended size of social gatherings and maintain proper physical distance at all times.
    • Only spend time with people within your household. Even if other friends have also been self-quarantining, chances are, they (and you) have still had to go to the grocery store (including curbside pickup), so there is always a chance they (or you) have contracted the virus.
    • Don’t risk getting wilderness injuries and diverting emergency care. Try to only take an easy day hike or bike in known and clear paths.
    • Use local trails and resist travelling to trails farther than 50 miles from your home.

    We encourage you to always follow the guidelines of your local government or the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC), whichever are more restrictive. Please note that guidelines may have changed since this post.

    Trails Are Essential

    Now, more than ever, trails are proving to be a valuable investment in our communities. We are proud to be leading the charge to make trails more accessible to residents across our region. You can support Tri-State Trails by making a donation today.

    Other Resources

    Rails-to-Trails Conservancy:Using Trails and Outdoor Spaces Safely in the Wake of COVID-19

    National Recreation & Parks Association: Physical Distancing in Public Parks & Trails

    American Hiking Society: FAQs for Hiking During the Covid-19 Pandemic

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