As extreme storms grow more common, the Ohio River is expected to spill over its banks more often and flood nearby areas.
But rather than close down during a flood, a new park in southern Indiana will make the best of high water.
“Our pivot is, OK, lean into climate change, lean into a wetter landscape,” says Scott Martin of the nonprofit River Heritage Conservancy. “We want to be the park that people visit in flood.”
River Heritage Conservancy is working to transform 600 acres along the Ohio River into connected green spaces that will be known as Origin Park.
During dry weather, people will be able to walk and bike along the river’s edge. But Martin says that during a flood, “you now go kayaking and paddleboard through these wet woods. Above you will be a series of elevated pathways. Those pathways will still allow bikers to move through and walkers. But suddenly they will be over on top of water that will have paddlers in it.”
Martin’s group has already raised $10 million for the project. And about 300 acres have been acquired or set aside.
The entire park will take about 20 years to complete, but sections will be done sooner. When finished, it will connect people with their changing natural environment for generations to come.
Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.