RiverScape River Run
Making the Great Miami River more accessible to the entire community
RiverScape River Run makes our downtown riverfront more accessible for the entire community. The amenity creates a long list of benefits for downtown Dayton and the region, including:
- A safer river.
- Improved water quality and aquatic habitats.
- Continued flood protection.
- An opportunity for the community to connect with the river in the urban core.
- A dynamic downtown scene for residents, businesses and visitors.
- A regional recreation destination.
- A more vibrant city that will attract and retain the talented workforce we need to continue to grow Dayton’s economy.
RiverScape River Run opens the downtown river to a beautiful seven-mile paddle from Eastwood MetroPark on the Mad River, through downtown to the Carillon Historical Park and University of Dayton area.
A dangerous low dam in the Great Miami River located near the Dayton Art Institute was removed and two structures that span the river have been built, each with two passageways: one smooth-water passageway for novice paddlers and one whitewater play feature for more experienced paddlers. The project also allows people to fish, sunbathe and enjoy the river downtown in new ways.
River Run also attracts experienced “play boat” kayakers who turn cartwheels, flips and rolls in the wave created by the drop. These kayakers attract numerous spectators to the shore to watch them, creating a vibrant scene along our downtown riverfront and bikeway.
How can I access RiverScape River Run?
Visitors using RiverScape River Run’s Feature #1 can park in one of the available public parking spaces downtown, particularly on Monument Avenue and Jefferson, St. Clair, and Harries streets. On-street, metered parking is free on weekdays after 6 PM and all day on weekends.
Parking to access Feature #2 is available at the west end of Monument Avenue under the I-75 bridge.
Feature #1: There are three river access points in RiverScape Metropark:
- Stairs at the west end of the park at Jefferson Street.
- Ramp and stairs in the center of the park between Jefferson and St. Clair streets.
- Stairs toward the east end of the park at St. Clair Street.
Feature #2: River access is available at either end of the Dayton View Bridge at the west end of Monument Avenue:
- Ramp and stairs at the east end of the Dayton View Bridge.
- Stairs at the west end of the Dayton View Bridge.
How do I use RiverScape River Run?
- In Feature #1, the left chute is whitewater for experienced paddlers and the right chute has a slower current for novice paddlers. In Feature#2, left chute is intended for novice paddlers and the right chute is intended for experienced paddlers.
- Those paddling the RiverScape River Run should always wear a life jacket. Inexperienced paddlers should consider postponing their paddling trip when the river is flooded.
- Kayaks and standup paddleboards can be rented at Whitewater Warehouse on Valley Street, less than a mile upstream from the River Run. River access is available at Whitewater Warehouse. Gear is also available to rent or buy at Great Miami Outfitters in Miamisburg.
- Five Rivers MetroParks offers a progression of paddling classes, and this year classes will include paddling the RiverScape River Run. MetroParks skill-building progression, beginning in calm water and advancing to the whitewater of the River Run, will provide the techniques, confidence, and safety procedures that people need to paddle the rivers on their own.
- Five Rivers MetroParks programs include such topics as Try Paddlesports, Kayak 1 and 2, Teen Kayak and Paddling camps, and River Safety and Rescue to name a few. Register online or by calling 275-PARK (7275)
- Guided trips through the River Run, water safety training and other paddling programs are also available through local retailers such as Whitewater Warehouse (937-222-7020) and Great Miami Outfitters (937-847-8787).
- Five Rivers MetroParks skill-building paddling programs are available from May through October and can be found in the Summer ParkWays, mailed to every household in Montgomery County in mid-May.
Additional information will be available at RiverScape MetroPark, including brochures and signage with specific opportunities to safely get on the river.
MetroParks will work with local outfitters after the 2017 season to identify the best ways to develop new services, programs, and opportunities that meet the needs of those who would like to paddle the downtown river, including livery services for the 2018 season. MetroParks will conduct surveys of the public at RiverScape and online to ask how we can help them use the River Run so that we may continue to improve opportunities.
How was RiverScape River Run funded?
The greater Dayton community raised $4 million to fund this project, identified as a high-priority project in the Greater Downtown Dayton Plan. The James M. Cox Foundation issued a $1 million challenge grant for the River Run project; plan leaders raised $3.8 million through corporate and foundation support; and the remaining funds were raised through a public campaign.
The Greater Downtown Dayton Plan is a multipronged economic development initiative and strategic blueprint for Dayton’s center city launched in May 2010. Greater Downtown is one of two regional centers of economic activity for the Dayton area, with approximately $5 billion a year in regional economic impact. A vibrant, thriving center city is crucial to the prosperity of the City of Dayton and the Dayton region. The Greater Downtown Dayton Plan calls for building on downtown’s strengths to create the type of vibrant, bustling city increasingly in demand today. RiverScape River Run is an important part of that.