Great Miami River overruns River Run in Dayton

Dayton in the national spotlight as ‘adventure capital’ of Midwest

Dayton deserves some good news.

National Geographic magazine has featured the Gem City, touting its growing outdoor recreation culture and recognizing the region as the “Outdoor Adventure Capital in the Midwest.”

“In recent years, the city of around 800,000 has seen a surprising — and popular —revitalization of its urban green spaces, which welcomed some 3.3 million visitors in 2018. On a per-capita basis, this makes Dayton’s parks more popular than New York’s Central Park, the United States’ most-visited,” according to the article.

>> Where to paddle in Dayton and what to know before you go

RiverScape River Run offers a whitewater play feature for more experienced paddlers. CONTRIBUTED
Photo: Staff Writer

The article highlights the work of Five Rivers Metroparks in improving Dayton’s recreational amenities, including the addition of River Run as a kayaking destination on the Great Miami River near RiverScape.

>> BEST OF DAYTON: Your top picks for the best destinations to enjoy the great outdoors 

The article also highlights the bike trail network that spans more than 340 miles and connects the Dayton region to bikeways around the state, as well as conservation initiatives.

>> The 5 best Miami Valley bike trails and how to make the most of them

The article also highlights the role Metroparks play in volunteerism and community connectivity.

“Its impressive community involvement also sets it apart. For the past decade, Five Rivers has offered locals everything from backpacking and horticulture classes to an annual outdoor festival and license-free fishing in trout-stocked ponds. In 2018, Five Rivers programs attracted more than a quarter million participants and locals contributed nearly a million dollars’ worth of volunteer hours,” according to the article.

>> The best places to hike in Dayton this fall

The birthplace of flight increasingly is becoming known as a good place to ride thanks to a new cycling tour, mountain bike park and bike lane additions. The Dayton region is home to the nation’s largest network of paved, off-street bike trails, and biking opportunities have taken off because of the Link bike-share program, Mike’s indoor bike park and public infrastructure investments. But bicycling fanatics have more to be excited about because the Rotary Club of Dayton in September will host the inaugural Tour de Gem – The Dayton Cycling Classic. Also, the city of Dayton is working to transform the underutilized Welcome Park near UD Arena into a mountain bike park that officials say will be unlike anything in the immediate area. "Bicycling has a deep history in the Dayton region and continues to be a quality of life amenity, economic driver and contributor in creating a healthy, active community," said Randy Ryberg, outdoor recreation coordinator for Five Rivers MetroParks. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Photo: Ty Greenlees