Leith Run fishing derby Sat.

Part of National Play Outside Day

In support of National Get Outdoors Day, the Wayne National Forest Athens Ranger District-Marietta Unit is inviting the public to attend a day of outdoor fun on the banks of the Ohio River.

In collaboration with the Grandview Volunteer Fire Department, the Wayne is hosting the Leith Run Play Outside event on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Leith Run Recreation Area, located in New Matamoras between Ohio 7 and the Ohio River.

“This kind of goes along the lines of our National Get Outdoors Day on June 10 where we offer free use of things we normally charge for,” said Jason Reed, Athens District ranger. “We want to encourage youth to experience public lands and all that we have to offer.”

A fishing derby will be held from 9 to 11 a.m., with the starter siren sounding at exactly 9 a.m. Youth 16 years of age and younger, accompanied by a parent or guardian, are eligible to enter the fishing derby. Prizes will be given in three age categories for the largest fish — by weight — and greatest total weight of fish. There will be a special prize category for “weirdest” catch. Derby winners will be announced at noon.

“We will have poles and the fire department will provide the bait and everything is free,” said Kate Hermanns, a forestry technician with the Wayne who is helping to organize the event. “It’s a great way to showcase the forest and also the people from the greater Washington County who have helped make this possible.”

John Berentz, chief of the Grandview Volunteer Fire Department, said the department enjoys helping and giving back to the community.

“We work on the fishing derby and the auxiliary and the firefighters prepare the lunch,” he said. “I think we’ve been helping for five or six years.”

Berentz said that they usually see 40 to 80 youth participate, including his own children, ages 11 and 15.

“They like it. They get to see their friends from school,” he said.

Other activities that will run at the same time as the fishing derby include a climbing wall, a water safety course, disc golf, live turtle exhibition and other conservation education stations. A free lunch will be provided from 11:30 a.m. to noon.