Buck Creek - Southwest Ohio
Thomas P. Martin, Ph.D., FACSM
Health, Fitness and Sport Department
P.O. Box 720
Springfield, OH 45501
(937) 327-6470 (work)
During August of 2006, Tom Martin, an Ohio Division of Watercraft Volunteer and professor at Wittenberg University in Springfield Ohio and his son Chad collected information, canoed, and drove to bridges, access points, and other waypoints along Buck Creek in southwest Ohio. Tom and Chad canoed Buck Creek from the Moorefield-Catawba Road bridge north of Buck Creek State Park to its confluence with the Mad River west of Springfield (10.3 miles), stopping to take notes, digital photos, and Global Positioning System (GPS) readings of waypoints along the route. This report was updated in 2012 after low head dams were removed near the Simon Kenton Bike Trail Bridge, the Springfield Museum of Art and in Snyder Park.
The purpose of this project was to correct and update the information on Buck Creek contained in the pamphlet “Boating on Ohio’s Streams: Northwest & Southwest Regions,” which was published 05/06 by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Watercraft.
The river miles used in this report are those established by the Miami Conservancy District, 38 E. Monument Ave., Dayton Ohio 45402, (937) 223-1271. They were obtained from the following map: #21274, Springfield – Mutual Union Rd, dated 7/15/74. The river miles begin at the point where Buck Creek enters the Mad River and proceed upstream.
The Global Positioning System (GPS) data in this report was collected with a Garmin GPS 12 Personal Navigator. This unit used WGS 84 map datum. Bridge measurements were taken in the middle of the
upstream side of each bridge. Other waypoints were measured as close to the described positions as possible. Ninety five percent of the site measurements were checked on a second or third day to insure accuracy.
The recreational canoeist/kayaker should read related literature and personally check (scout) the section of river to be paddled before embarking on a trip. River level should be checked and the weather forecast taken into consideration before starting a trip. Extended rain and storms can raise the creek to a dangerous level. Also, keep in mind that each storm can add or remove strainers (i.e. logs/trees across river) from the river. Strainers are dangerous and should be avoided. A float plan including put-in and take-out points should be left with a responsible person along with an estimated time of return.
It is also recommended that you contact the U.S. Corps of Engineers at C.J. Brown Reservoir to get up to date information on current dam release (937) 325-2411 (Visitor Center). During dry periods the release from the dam will be minimal resulting in low water levels on Buck Creek and the need to “drag” the boat in shallow areas. Moderate dam release will produce conditions whereby paddling will be easier due to increased depth but it will also produce conditions where additional skill is needed to paddle Buck Creek. Large or extended rainfall will result in a larger dam release – CAUTION is needed in paddling Buck Creek and only skilled/experienced paddlers should attempt a trip. Flood conditions would produce a situation where no one should attempt to paddle Buck Creek.
Several “strainers” were encountered during our trip, including two trees that were completely across the creek. Strainers always require caution, especially during high water. Paddling skills are necessary to negotiate passageways and/or move to the riverbank for portage on Buck Creek. Beginners should not attempt this trip.
Also, water quality may be of concern. There are several Sewer Collection System Outfalls into Buck Creek. Signs at many of these outfalls read: “Storms will elevate bacteria levels in the stream. Avoid contact with water. For information call 525-5800; CSO #038.”
Ohio boating law requires that there be a properly maintained Coast Guard approved personal flotation device (PFD) for each person on board. The PFD must fit the person for whom it is intended and
children under 10 MUST WEAR their PFDs at all times. It is recommended that all paddlers wear their PFDs whenever on or near the water.
Be sure to lock all valuables in your trunk or take your vehicle to a secure area before launching your boat. There have been documented vehicle break-ins at access points along the creek - so take reasonable precautions.
This report describes waypoints as of July 2012. Keep in mind that, over time, bridges, dams and/or access points will be constructed as well as removed from the creek.
River Miles are given for each waypoint, that is, water distance from the mouth of Buck Creek to that waypoint. River Miles to Access Points and Dams/Drops are given in red. River Miles to other waypoints (e.g. bridges with no access, portage signs, etc.) are given in blue.
10.3 Moorefield-Catawba Rd bridge in New Moorefield, access river left, it is 0.2 mile by water to C.J. Brown Reservoir
GPS – N 39o 59.525 W 83o 42.878
10.1 Westco PA/IOCR – West Central Port Authority (formerly Conrail) RR bridge (old Penn Central and New York Central)
GPS – N 39o 59.334 W 83o 42.957
Buck Creek flows into, and forms, C.J. Brown Reservoir (2,120 acre lake) in Buck Creek State Park just S of the RR bridge.
Buck Creek State Park:
From I70 – take Exit 62 and proceed W on U.S. 40 for 2.5 miles. Turn right (N) onto Bird Road and continue straight for 2.0 miles into park. Bird Road becomes Buck Creek Lane after you cross Old Columbus Road (traffic light). Get brochure/map at park office.
From Springfield – take Home Rd E, it becomes Croft Rd after it crosses SR 4, continue for about one mile and make a left onto Robert Eastman Rd continue for about one mile till it ends at Buck Creek Lane. Make a left, enter park and get brochure/map at park office.
There are five major points for canoe/kayak access to C.J. Brown Reservoir in Buck Creek State Park:
10.1 Access from parking lot in New Moorefield; take SR 4 to Moorefield/Catawba Road,
proceed E about 0.2 mile into New Moorefield and take Temple St south for 0.2 mile to a US
Army Corps of Engineers parking lot. Path (about 50 yards) leads to easy access river right onto
Buck Creek just before (upstream of) RR bridge. Buck Creek flows into C.J. Brown Reservoir
just downstream of RR bridge.
GPS – N 39o 59.331 W 83o 42.963
2.8 mile paddle to Spillway portage OR Lake View Recreation Area portage
Access off Grant Road, in Buck Creek State Park, 0.6 mile S of Moorefield/Catawba Road, take gravel road 0.2 mile west to parking area
GPS – N 39o 58.976 W 83o 42.610
2.6 mile paddle to Spillway portage OR Lake View Recreation Area portage
Marina Access in Buck Creek State Park
GPS – N 39o 57.361 W 83o 43.280
1.8 mile paddle to Spillway portage
1.5 mile paddle to Lake View Recreation Area portage
Boat Ramp Access at end of Buck Creek Lane in Buck Creek State Park
GPS – N 39o 57.182 W 83o 43.775
1.3 mile paddle to Spillway portage
1.0 mile paddle to Lake View Recreation Area portage
Lake View Recreation Area Access, W end of dam
GPS – N 39o 57.309 W 83o 44.752
0.7 mile portage by road from here to Prairie View Recreation Area put-in on Buck Creek behind
7.6 N end of Spillway Inlet – paddle S into inlet
GPS – N 39o 57.592 W 83o 44.785
Spillway Inlet Looking South
7.3 SE end of Spillway Inlet
GPS – N 39o 57.393 W 83o 45.045
Land at SE end of Spillway inlet for 0.5 mile portage. Take gravel path to east side of Spillway. Go up and over left side of Spillway and proceed down grassy slope and across prairie to Prairie View Recreation Area off of Overlook Drive for put-in on Buck Creek behind restroom.
Take-Out SE end (left) of Spillway Inlet - Portage 0.5 mile
Prairie View Recreation Area from top of Spillway - Buck Creek Put-In Behind Restroom
7.0 DAM (72 ft) C. J. Brown Dam (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers), Buck Creek State Park; restricted area on reservoir North of Dam Tower (water inlet) – No Boats Allowed.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
C.J. Brown Dam and Reservoir
2630 Croft Road
Springfield, OH 45503-2515
(937) 325-2411 (Visitor Center)
Brochure/map available at Visitor Center
CJ. Brown Dam in Buck Creek SP
Restricted Area - Keep Out
Dam Outlet is below tower.
GPS – N 39o 56.932 W 83o 44.861
CJ. Brown Dam Outlet
Foot bridge 0.2 mile downstream from outlet
GPS – N 39o 57.023 W 83o 45.070
Tailwater from Dam Outlet to Foot Bridge - NO BOATS
6.8 LOW HEAD DAM (7 ft – plus metal stakes up to 1 ½ ft tall projecting up from top of dam)
is just downstream from foot bridge
GPS – N 39o 57.035 W 83o 45.127
Dam off Croft Rd - Foot Bridge in Background
Fishing access only from 72 ft Dam to Low Head Dam in tailwater area – NO BOATS. Horn
sounds for dam release – beware of rapid rise in water level. Parking Lot (off Croft (Home) Road)
Danger - When Horn Sounds Beware of Rapid Rise in Water Level
6.8 Prairie View Recreation Area on Overlook Drive just N of Croft Road, access river right
GPS – N 39o 57.080 W 83o 45.166
6.6 Croft Road bridge Access river left downstream side of bridge in Old Reid Park
GPS – N 39o 57.006 W 83o 45.374
Stones across most of creek, also, drainage pipe from Old Reid Park river left
GPS – N 39o 56.907 W 83o 45.483
Stones Across Creek
Drainage Pipe from Old Reid Park river left, water entering creek
GPS – N 39o 56.845 W 83o 45.479
Drain from Old Reid Park into Buck Creek
Tree all the way across creek
Tree All the Way Across Creek - Caution/Danger - Especially During High Water
6.1 Old RR (New York Central) bridge abutments both sides of creek
GPS – N 39o 56.589 W 83o 45.661
5.9 Beaver Creek enters Mad River river left. There is an access point on Beaver Creek 0.2 mile upstream (East) below dam in Old Reid Park
GPS – N 39o 56.483 W 83o 45.643
DAM (3 ft then 1 ft drop low water) on Beaver Creek. North access point at dam is 0.8
mile S of Croft Rd in Old Reid Park. Sign on Croft Rd states:
Old Reid Park
There is another sign on Croft Rd which states Entrance Beaver Lake, which is a
fishing lake adjacent to the dam
Dam - Beaver Creek
For south access point at dam, take Columbus Ave in Springfield NE to
Pumphouse Rd, turn left and proceed 0.2 mile N to dam in Old Reid Park. Both
sides of dam have parking lots and picnicking. The Buck Creek Scenic Trail
bridge crosses Beaver Creek just below dam.
Sewer Collection System Outfall river left just upstream from RR bridge, Buck Creek Trail bridge goes over it GPS – N 39o 56.243 W 83o 46.190
Sewer Collection System Outfall
Sewer Outfall Sign
5.4 Westco PA/IOCR – West Central Port Authority (formerly Conrail) RR bridge (old Penn Central and New York Central)
GPS – N 39o 56.259 W 83o 46.210
There are at least 3 concrete surfaces underwater between RR bridge and Ledge Drop. They are flat and do not present a problem.
5.2 LEDGE DROP (3 ft low water) over dolomite outcrop at site of old International Harvester plant. Portage river right. There may be a passable chute river left.
GPS – N 39o 56.310 W 83o 46.471 (upstream river left start of Ledge Drop)
GPS – N 39o 56.322 W 83o 46.489 (downstream river right start of Ledge Drop and portage)
Ledge from Upstream
Ledge from Downstream
Click to See Video of Ledge Drop
4.9 N Belmont Ave bridge in Springfield, Lagonda Park is river right from Belmont bridge to Simon Kenton Trail bridge.
GPS – N 39o 56.330 W 83o 46.668
Creek/drainage enters river right just downstream from bridge.
4.4 Lagonda Park Access river right; turn S off of Mitchell Blvd at sign for Carleton Davidson (formerly Municipal) Stadium [sign is on N side of Mitchell Blvd]. Drive to parking lot close to Buck Creek.
GPS – N 39o 56.280 W 83o 47.140
Creek/drainage enters river right just before Simon Kenton Trail bridge.
4.3 Simon Kenton Bike Trail Bridge
GPS – N 39o 56.231 W 83o 47.417
4.2 TWO DROPS Downstream of Bike Trail Bridge, water is channeled into a small pond preceeding Drop 1
Drop 1 (3 ft at low water)
GPS – N 39o 56.222 W 83o 47.468
Drop 2 (1 ft at low water)
GPS - N 39o 56.209 W 83o 47.500
Drops 1 and 2 Downstream from Simon Kenton Bike Trail Bridge
Click to See Video of Two Drops Downstream of Bike Trail Bridge
3.7 Sherman Ave bridge, emergency access river right
GPS – N 39o 55.841 W 83o 47.757
3.5 Old Railroad bridge abutment river right
GPS – N 39o 55.716 W 83o 47.827
3.3 Water St bridge
GPS – N 39o 55.682 W 83o 48.098
3.0 Pipe (about 8” diameter - electrical?), top half exposed above bottom of creek, crosses creek just upstream from Spring St bridge
Pipe Across Creek Just Upstream from Spring St Overpass
3.0 Spring St bridge SR 72
GPS – N 39o 55.673 W 83o 48.377
2.9 N Limestone St bridge, emergency access river right
GPS – N 39o 55.735 W 83o 48.468
Large pipe crossing above creek just upstream from N Fountain Ave bridge – pipe is well above bank and no problem for navigation
2.8 N Fountain Ave bridge
GPS – N 39o 55.767 W 83o 48.583
Old Water Inlet River Left between Fountain Ave and Drop 1
2.8 TWO DROPS, just downstream from Fountain Ave Bridge. Access from Springfield Museum of Art parking lot in Veterans Park (formerly Cliff Park).
Drop 1 (3 ft low water)
GPS – N 39o 55.711 W 83o 48.700
Drop 1 at Springfield Museum of Art
Drop 2 (1 ft low water)
GPS – N 39o 55.708 W 83o 48.738
Drop 2 at Springfield Museum of Art
Click to See Video of Two Drops Downstream of Fountain Ave Bridge
2.6 Bridge abutment river right for old Wittenberg Ave bridge which no longer exists
2.3 N Plum St bridge (old gauging station)
GPS – N 39o 55.923 W 83o 49.009
Snyder Park is river left from Plum St bridge to U.S. 40 bridge
2.0 Snyder Park - Buck Creek Watercraft Recreation Area - 4 DROPS
NOTE: Swimming, Tubes and Pool Floats NOT PERMITTED
Drop 1 (1 ft low water)
GPS – N 39o 56.017 W 83o 49.299
Drop 2 (3 ft low water)
GPS – N 39o 56.015 W 83o 49.322
Drop 3 (3 ft low water)
GPS – N 39o 56.012 W 83o 49.353
Drop 3 - Hand Surfing
Drop 4 (2 ft low water)
GPS – N 39o 56.008 W 83o 49.385
Click to See Video of Buck Creek Watercraft Recreation Area
1.9 Conrail RR Trestle just downstream from Dam
GPS – N 39o 55.985 W 83o 49.452
1.3 Bechtle Ave bridge
GPS – N 39º 56.043 W 83º 50.031
1.2 Snyder Park Dr bridge, green iron bridge
GPS – N 39o 56.017 W 83o 50.216
1.1 Drainage river left from outlet of Snyder Park Pond, about 50 yds west of park maintenance building, can be seen at road level
GPS – N 39o 55.930 W 83o 50.334
Drainage/Outlet from Snyder Park Pond to Buck Creek
0.6 Pipe (about 8” diameter - electrical?), top half exposed above bottom of creek, crosses creek
GPS – N 39o 55.944 W 83o 50.559
Pipe Across Buck Creek
0.3 Snyder Park Access river left at shelter house; 0.1 mile N of U.S. 40 on Snyder Park Dr
GPS – N 39o 55.674 W 83o 50.884
0.2 U.S. 40 – two bridges
GPS – N 39o 55.570 W 83o 50.870
0.0 Mouth of Buck Creek where it enters Mad River
GPS – N 39o 55.465 W 83o 51.105