Volunteers sought for trail clean-up in Bolivar

Volunteers sought for trail clean-up in Bolivar
Kyle Valentini

Justin Wallace, president of the Bolivar Rotary, left; Kyle Hendrix, trail advocate; and Joe Rinehart, owner of the Towpath Trail Snack Shack and a resident whose property will soon include a section of trail land he donated to the Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition.


Joe Rinehart, the proprietor of the Towpath Trail Snack Shack and a Lawrence Township resident, has coordinated a trail and roadway clean-up through the recently created Tuscarawas County Adopt-A-Trail program made possible through the efforts of TuscParks along with the longstanding Adopt-A-Highway program put in place by the Ohio Department of Transportation.

Set for Monday, April 22 on the 49th annual celebration of Earth Day, the clean-up for the Bolivar Aqueduct McDonnell Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trailhead will start at 10 a.m. and is expected to last until noon.

“The support I’ve gotten has been overwhelming,” said Rinehart, who expressed surprise in how easily the planned clean-up has come together in such a short amount of time.

No stranger to environmental stewardship, Rinehart spearheaded a clean-up at Alum Creek State Park in Delaware, Ohio in the 1980s when the park was still in its infancy. He discovered an inordinate amount of trash on the beach where he taught young people how to sail.

Volunteers are asked to meet at the McDonnell Trailhead at 715 Ohio 212 in Bolivar. Plenty of parking is available for vehicles and bicycles. A brief safety introduction along with a long-term planning session for a Tuscarawas River trash and tires clean-up project is planned.

Rinehart is quick to point out the help he has received from family friend Kyle Hendrix, a 2018 graduate of Tusky Valley High School and self-described nature lover.

“Kyle was an Eagle Scout, and he just keeps coming up with great ideas to bring even more recreation to the trail and the river,” Rinehart said.

Ideas have included fishing tournaments, raft races and other outdoor water sports along with annual clean-ups to keep the area looking its best.

Another community advocate and supporter of the clean-up project is Justin Wallace, president of the Bolivar Rotary, who also sees the potential for increased recreation, economic development and overall betterment for the community as the trail systems that impact that region are further developed.

While the Bolivar Rotary has adopted the Canal Lands Park in nearby Zoar through the same TuscParks program, Wallace’s team of volunteers is committed to assisting Rinehart and his crew along the trail at the McDonnel Trailhead on the inaugural Earth Day Clean-Up as well.

“Upon development of the trail from McDonnell to Bolivar in 2019-20, we have adopted the trail through to the Bolivar ballparks,” Rinehart said. The long-term mission includes the goal of removing tires from the Tuscarawas River from the McDonnell Trail through to the Canal Lands trailhead in Zoar.

“We will currently focus within the boundaries of the McDonnell Trailhead, Ohio & Erie Canalway Scenic Byway 212 Bolivar and the Bolivar ballparks section of the trail. We will not be cleaning the section not yet developed since it is already planned to be cleaned during the upcoming construction,” Rinehart said.

“The undeveloped section has a lot of trash,” Hendrix said. “There are some larger items including a toilet and other things that have been dumped. We are grateful those things will be picked up and disposed of properly as further trail construction gets started.”

Rinehart is busier than ever in his retirement. In addition to his mobile food cart, he plans to develop Peace Park, which will be located at the historical intersection, which includes the Greenville Treaty line, The Ohio-Erie Canal, the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railroad, Ohio & Erie Canalway, National Scenic Byway Route 212 section, the Buckeye Trail and also the Towpath Trail.

“Our family is willing to donate additional land that we did with the easement agreement we signed and submitted in May 2016,” Rinehart said. “That allowed the last remaining gap in the towpath trail to be developed in 2019.”

Liability releases and a safety class are required for the Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition, Ohio Department of Transportation and the Village of Bolivar which may be signed at the event to participate.

While most supplies will be provided for the clean-up, participants are encouraged to bring their own work gloves and anything that might aid in the effort.

Learn more by calling Rinehart at 319-438-2364.

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