NEW PHILADELPHIA Dover, Oh

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This boat ramp by Waterworks Park in New Philadelphia is now open to the public. (TUSCO TV) 

NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) - Local recreational advocates say the progress has only just begun with the opening of the new boat ramp in New Philadelphia. 

The ribbon cutting and group launch Saturday behind Waterworks baseball fields marked about four years of work by the city administration to create easier access points onto the Tuscarawas River. rural action coordinator marissa Lautzenheiser says easier access means more paddlers and the need for education.

“I think that we’re going to see more and more people learn how to safely use the river - recreating, making sure you have personal flotation devices, making sure that anything you carry in you carry out at the same time, things like that,” she says.

Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District Program Coordinator Kara Musser says the MWCD hopes to be a hub for that type of education, as well as the driving force behind things like river-signage that will help keep people safe on the water.

“My goal is to really get the information out to a larger area of people, getting the information easily accessible in one spot so they know where to put in legally. They’re not encroaching on private landowners and so they also know where the hazards are,” she says.

Rural Action is planning several river cleanups and group floats still this year to safely introduce beginners to the activity. Lautzenheiser says another step in creating a safer river will be designating the tuscarawas as a water trail, which will help them secure grants for things like more signage and improvements. 

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