Great Ohio River Relay




This grassroots action is designed to attract national attention to the environmental issue of fracking, and in particular, to the proposed barging of toxic and radioactive fracking wastewater on the Ohio River, and other waterways in our country. Starting in Pittsburgh, and ending in Cairo, Illinois, we will be relaying a baton the entire length of the OHIO RIVER to demand clean water in the Rivers which provide drinking water to millions of American citizens every single day.

 DATE: Saturday, September 14th at 12 Noon in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and ends in Cairo, Illinois in early October, date TBA.

TIME: The relay will be organized and scheduled to run from 8AM until 8PM. For safety reasons, we don't want anyone relaying in the dark under any circumstances. At 8PM, the baton needs to “go to bed” until the next morning. It is the responsibility of the Regional Coordinators and the drop-off and pick-up relayers to make sure that the transitions and bedtime and wakeup times run smoothly.

GREAT OHIO RIVER Relayers may: WALK, RUN, BIKE, BOAT, ROLLERBLADE, SKATEBOARD or use any other human powered means of transporting the baton from your pickup to your handoff point. It is acceptable however, to use an escort vehicle for safety purposes where road conditions could pose danger to the relayers. NO relayer is permitted to route their leg of the relay on roads which are illegal for their means of transport.

We MUST have your application, signed release form, and “dry run” time by September 14, 2013. We expect that you will have contacted the Regional Coordinator for your area with your time for scheduling purposes. We also hope to have support teams in place for each relayer. With your cooperation, we will have the complete GREAT OHIO RIVER RELAY route, schedule and itinerary up on this website by September 14, 2013.

We MUST require that you do a “DRY RUN” of your route, and time yourself exactly, so that we may plan the route. Communication is critical here to keep this event moving smoothly. You will need to communicate with both the regional organizer, and the relayers ahead of and behind you to make sure you are all on the same page with your dry run times, your pickup and dropoff points and times. It is *much* better to allow extra time in submitting your “dry run time” than to come up short in your estimate. Every relayer and baton reception rally down the river is depending on your time so they will know when they will be expected to be carrying the baton.


THE BATON: Is 24 inches long, and is made of lightweight water maple, and has a thong which can be used to sling it over your back, or over bike handlebars. We will also be sending a gold coin from Pittsburgh with the Baton. In Cairo, Illinois, it is said that one has good luck if one throws a coin into the confluence of the Mississippi and the Ohio Rivers. Our relay coin will be tossed by our last relayer, with a wish for an Ohio River free of fracking.

Our baton was designed and constructed by Orion Stephen, of "Orion's Earth Shop Studio" in Triadelphia, West Virginia.  He also makes walking sticks and canes, and specializes in bent silverware jewelry. 
The link to his studio is:


We also STRONGLY SUGGEST that you carry a recyclable container of water to keep yourself hydrated through your journey. Please do not promote bottled water by carrying it in this relay for the safe and responsible use of water. We also recommend some healthy munchies to keep your energy levels up. As a healthy competent adult, we expect that you will plan for and know how to care for yourself physically during an event requiring some stamina. Please carry a small first aid kit, and your health insurance card with you.

 BE PREPARED for bad weather. In an event of this many weeks duration, some of us can expect to be dealing with some rain and other untoward weather events. Please be prepared to do your leg of the relay, rain or shine. Again, the success of this relay depends on everyone doing their leg in a timely fashion so as to keep our momentum and schedule of baton reception rallies downriver on schedule. We do not expect boaters to be on the river during a storm.

IF POSSIBLE:  Within limits of safety, DOCUMENT your relay leg of this journey with a camera, video or cellphone.  We have made many reconnaissance trips to our River in planning this event, and more and more we are impressed with this fact: our River is naturally beautiful, historically significant, and industrially horrific, it does us well to capture this for the future.

MAKE YOUR STATEMENT: Applications for the GREAT OHIO RIVER RELAY must be completed by September 14, 2013. In signing on as a GREAT OHIO RIVER relayer, you have made a significant commitment to an important cause, and this is YOUR time to let those watching us know about you, and why this is so important to you! Be colorful!


We highly recommend “The Ohio River Guidebook” by Jerry M. Hay. It will be invaluable to you in helping to route and schedule your relayers. It can be ordered for about $30 at the Riverlorien website. In particular, we will be using the map on Page 3 of the Guidebook to help us in our routing of relay legs.
Please let us know by September 14, 2013, how long, in days and hours, it will take your relay team to complete your leg of the relay, and what your Point A, (Pick-up Point), and Point B, (Drop-off Point) are.

Let us know if you plan a baton reception rally in your town or community.