Local outfitters prepare for summer crowds | News, Sports, Jobs
Both prominent and hidden, there are a plethora of waterways in the Mid-Ohio Valley and beyond that you should explore this summer for your much needed dose of sun and adventure.
There are several companies that encourage outdoor exploration and offer a variety of services.
Peak season for kayaking and biking is widely considered Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend, with plenty of activities, especially on weekends.
Marietta Adventure Company on Second Street has been open for a decade and aims to meet the biking and kayaking needs of the Mid-Ohio Valley.
Ryan Smith, the owner of Marietta Adventure Company, lived outside of the area in a community with lots of outdoor recreation and was inspired to bring this livelihood back to the area.
“I went back to Marietta and saw the full potential for it”, Smith spoke about his shop, which sells sports equipment and handles bicycle and kayak rentals. “It can be pretty intimidating if you’ve never done these things before… really, we’re just here to make it as easy as possible for people to take that step outward. “
In past years, Marietta Adventure Company offered a kayak shuttle service to your destination, but this service is not available this year due to the pandemic.
“On the kayak side, you will just need a means of transporting the boats,” Smith said.
The easiest ways to secure kayaks are roof racks or straps that secure the ends of the bow and stern.
“We have great, easy access from downtown with the Muskingum and Ohio rivers, and we have public access to Indian Acres Boat Ramp, (Ohio River Levee) and Williamstown Boat Ramp.” Smith said. “These are easy places to paddle in relaxed, flat water.”
Smaller waterways with more active waters include Duck Creek, which is 30 miles long and connects the Muskingum and Little Muskingum rivers. The Little Muskingum River flows through Wayne National Forest, allowing the tour to be split into multiple days if desired.
“We have great multi-day kayaking opportunities in the area”, Smith said.
According to Smith, all of the Ohio River’s locks and dams are considered state parks, which provides additional camping opportunities for nighttime festivities.
For more information on rates and reservations, which can be made on the website, visit www.mariettaadventurecompany.com.
Tucked away in Ritchie County, West Virginia, and less than an hour from Parkersburg, North Bend Outfitters is located in North Bend State Park and offers similar services.
“We are open seven days a week”, said Andy Law, co-owner of North Bend Outfitters for six years. “We have kayaks, tandem kayaks (two people), canoes, stand up board, pontoon boats and the tricycle pedal boat.”
North Bend Outfitters has hours of operation from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends, but is also available on call on weekdays to meet your adventure rental needs.
“There are no jet skis, no barges and no currents” Law spoke of the tranquility of the lake in North Bend State Park. “You can just get out here and relax and the lake is seven miles long and 305 acres, so you have plenty of space.”
Law stressed the importance of getting rid of any fear of being on the water, even if you are a beginner.
“I have been here for six years and I can count on one hand the number of people who have tipped over”, says the law. “We help you get in and out if you rent from us on the ramp here, and we keep everything as easy and straightforward as possible. “
Co-owner Doug Jackson mentioned the accessibility of the kayak for all ages and abilities, citing a time he helped a woman in a wheelchair enjoy a kayaking experience.
North Bend Outfitters also has an outdoor seating area, which can be hired for parties and gatherings.
Online booking is also available for North Bend Outfitters at www.northbendoutfitters.com or by calling 304-299-1768.
Jenna Pierson can be reached at