MWCD Receives OPRA Award

November 13, 2020

Ohio Parks and Recreation Association (OPRA) has announced its 2020 Annual Awards of Excellence winners and locally, the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) won a 1st place award in the Natural Resources & Conservation category for the Tuscarawas River Water Trail project.

The Tuscarawas River Water Trail was officially designated by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources on August 14, 2020. The water trail begins in Summit County near Barberton, where the river becomes wide enough for a boat. It then flows south through Stark, Tuscarawas, and Coshocton Counties before joining the Walhonding River near the City of Coshocton to form the Muskingum River. The Tuscarawas River Water Trail is a 112.5-mile-long stretch of the river which takes paddlers through the center of urban living to the peaceful rural escapes while passing historical sites and natural landscapes along the way. Paddlers looking for a quick jaunt between towns or a longer trip through quiet stretches of nature, the Tuscarawas River has it all. The Tuscarawas River Water Trail meets up with the 112-mile-long Muskingum River Water Trail in the City of Coshocton, for a total of 224.5 miles of designated water trail. Paddlers seeking overnight trips or longer can enjoy over 200 miles of designated water trail, with camping options along the way. To request a copy of the water trail map, visit

The Tuscarawas River’s is a community resource and tourist destination, attracting paddlers from around the region and state. Creating a water trail, using this naturally and historically significant body of water involved the partnership of many agencies, all of which continue to contribute to the access and maintenance of the river. The water trail project would not have been possible without the MWCD and Rural Action’s Middle Tuscarawas River Watershed Office. The water trail will continue through the hard work and dedication from each of the managing partners of the Tuscarawas River Water Trail.

  • Summit Metro Parks
  • Stark Parks
  • Lawrence Township
  • City of Dover
  • Tuscarawas County Park Department
  • City of New Philadelphia
  • US Army Corps of Engineers
  • Village of Tuscarawas
  • Village of Gnadenhutten
  • ODNR – Division of Wildlife
  • City of Coshocton

“MWCD is proud to accept this award on behalf of all our partners who worked countless hours to meet the stringent requirements to be considered a Water Trail”, said Craig Butler, Executive Director for MWCD. “We are excited to welcome visitors to explore the over 200 miles of paddling through some of Ohio’s best and most beautiful communities and natural areas.”

The OPRA Annual Awards of Excellence will be presented at a banquet hosted by the association on April 28, 2021 at the Kalahari Convention Center in Sandusky, Ohio.  One first place award winner will be presented with the 2020 Governor’s Award for Parks and Recreation, a “best-in-show” award which includes a $500 contribution to the parks and recreation foundation of the agency winner. 

“Parks and recreation professionals throughout Ohio work every day to improve the quality of life of the people they serve,” said OPRA Executive Director Woody Woodward.  “This effort is a shining example of that kind of work, and we are pleased to be able to present this award.”

The awards are judged by a panel of parks and recreation professionals from around Ohio.

About Ohio Park and Recreation Association

Incorporated in 1963, OPRA is a non-profit, public interest organization representing over 2000 professionals and citizen board members striving to provide quality parks and recreation facilities and opportunities for all Ohioans while protecting and preserving Ohio's natural resources, positively impacting local economies and health and wellness of its citizens.

About Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District

The MWCD, a political subdivision of the state, was organized in 1933 to develop and implement a plan to reduce flooding and conserve water for beneficial public uses in the Muskingum River Watershed, the largest wholly contained watershed in Ohio. Since their construction, the 16 reservoirs and dams in the MWCD region have been credited for saving over $7 billion worth of potential property damage from flooding, according to the federal government, as well as providing popular recreational opportunities that bolster the region’s economy. A significant portion of the reservoirs are managed by the MWCD and the dams are managed for flood-risk management by the federal U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). For more information about the MWCD, visit and follow the MWCD on Facebook and Twitter.

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