RACINE — Rainy remnants of Tropical Storm Cindy failed to dampen the re-dedication of the Racine Ohio River Boating Access in honor of the late Horace W. Karr.
The Meigs County outdoorsman and conservationist died last year at age 88 after serving 35 years on the Ohio Wildlife Council from 1980 to 2015.
Weather for the June 23 ceremony was threatening. But Ray Petering, chief of the Ohio Division of Wildlife (ODW), said Karr was likely “looking on from above” and wouldn’t tolerate rain on the morning’s festivities.
“He (Karr) put his hand out and stopped the tropical storm,” Petering joked.
The remark drew chuckles from the 40-plus people on hand. They included Karr’s children and grandchildren, ODW staffers, past and current members of the wildlife council and representatives of both state and federal officials.
All knew Karr’s reputation for voicing salty opinions on the management of southeast Ohio’s wildlife and recreational resources.
Occasionally those opinions were at odds with division policy. But they always reflected Karr’s concern for Ohio’s sportsmen, Petering said.
“He was honest, sincere and selfless,” Petering said of Karr. “God blessed us with Horace.”
First appointed to the wildlife council by then-Gov. Jim Rhodes, Karr served a total of six governors — both Republicans and Democrats.
Petering read a laundry list of conservation achievements by the state during those years. They included restoration of white-tailed deer, wild turkey, peregrine falcon and other once-scarce species, as well as the acquisition of thousands of acres of public hunting and fishing lands.
Karr’s part in those achievements are noted on a plaque that will be erected at the re-named boating access, located a mile south of Racine on State Route 124.
Construction of the 21-acre facility by the ODW began in 1999. Discovery of Native American artifacts at the site delayed completion until 2008.
A three-lane launch ramp provides boater access to the Racine tailwater and the R.C. Byrd Pool of the Ohio River. Seventy-three boat and trailer parking spaces, as well as parking spaces for handicapped boaters and anglers, are additional features.
Jane Beathard is a freelance writer for AIM Media Midwest.