YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A local river once known for its pollution is making a comeback as a nature spot.
On Sunday, Boy Scout Troop 46 took a canoe out along the Mahoning River.
“Just having a good time and talking,” said Boy Scout Raymond Griggy, a first-time canoer. “The usual fun stuff.”
Eric Grabman is a longtime troop leader. He says all of his Scouts enjoy spending time on the river.
“They just enjoy the water and the boating and the activity of it,” he said. “You see a lot of nature that you don’t normally see.”
The Mahoning River is a special case.
It gets a bad rap for being polluted thanks to the steel mills on the river more than 40 years ago.
But a naturalist says it’s making a comeback. Aquatic life is thriving — a sign that the river is healing.
“I mean they probably go to really wild, wild rivers and those are fun,” said naturalist Ray Novotny. “But to see an industrial type river in recovery is a real special experience.”
The Scouts say they’re honored to play a part in the Mahoning River’s recovery. They hope that more people follow their example.
“Pretty happy,” Griggy said. “Because I like bringing things back to life.”
“The water quality is much, much better than what it used to be, but it still has that stigma of the Mahoning River,” Grabman said. “And hopefully people see that it really is a gem in our own backyard.”
Editor’s note: A previous version of this story said the troop was the first to canoe on the Mahoning River. This story has been corrected as other Boy Scout troops have taken the trip in the past. WKBN regrets the error.