After Brawl, Green Acres Floating Tighter Rules On Whitewater River
By Mike Perleberg
Canoeists and ducks comingle on the Whitewater River in Ohio. Photo courtesy Green Acres Canoe and Kayak Rental.
(Whitewater Township, Oh.) – When Dave and Sharon Lutz opened their business, Green Acres Canoe and Kayak Rental, on the Whitewater River ten years ago they had just 10 watercrafts available.
Today, the business on Suspension Bridge Road in Whitewater Township boasts 1,000 canoes and kayaks. On most weekends in the summer, almost each one of them is used to navigate the eight-mile river trip. A typical Saturday or Sunday crowd on a weekend with ideal weather is approaches 2,000 people, says Dave Lutz.
“It can be a bit of a zoo,” Lutz admits.
Animal-like behavior by about three dozen customers this past Sunday brought the business some bad publicity. A large fight broke out on the river resulting with two arrests. Those people were banned for life from Green Acres. Several people reportedly suffered minor injuries in the melee.
In the wake of the incident, the Lutzs say they are ramping up their efforts to maintain a family atmosphere on the Whitewater. They have reached out to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and expect a show of force by conservation officers this weekend, according to Lutz.
Green Acres will also do more to discourage underage drinking and bad behavior from customers of all ages on the river.
“We want to nip this in the bud,” says Lutz. “We aren’t going to tolerate it anymore.”
Lutz says he may consider prohibiting alcohol on Green Acres canoe trips. The business, he says, has grown to the point where he believes it could – if it had to – sustain an alcohol-free policy in favor of being a pure family environment.
Green Acres’ success has been a good thing for the Whitewater River, Lutz believes. They have removed 1,000 tires from the river and its banks. They also offer a badge to customers who bring back trash they find on their trip and their own refuse for proper disposal, instead of discarding it in the river.
I too have been kayaking there and many other places for years. The last time I went to Green Acres was 2 weeks prior to this incident. I noticed that there is a general lack of organization in the company. Policies are not explained at all. On the bus ride to the Put-In is where most places take advantage of customers undivided attention..... our bus driver never said ANYTHING. ..not about the complimentary garbage bags, that life jackets always need to be in the boat, that there are mile markers and halfway points along the treeline... I saw a lot of underage drinking and general lack of RESPECT for our environment and our fellow man. I enjoy the beauty and serenity the river has to offer and I certainly don't want to see people turn it into a floating frat party. But I certainly do not think prohibition is the answer. I hate that everyone is punished for someone else's behavior. I think there are too many people allowed on the river at once, quality versus quantity, but limiting the crowd and putting a stop to the underage drinking would be a good start.
There were no arrests. This place of business has banned many people before and they continue to canoe there. It's a joke. The owners/workers allow it to continue. I have been canoeing for many years and see it all the time.