Highlands to screen documentary about Ohio River

Apr. 21—ASHLAND — The documentary "This Is The Ohio" will be shown at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Highlands Museum and Discovery Center.

The film showcases the history and beauty of the 981-mile Ohio River with a light-hearted approach, but it doesn't fail to examine a serious undercurrent in presenting the urgent need to care.

"I traveled 981 miles, from Pittsburgh to Cairo, Illinois, with several things in mind," Louisville filmmaker, writer and producer Morgan C. Atkinson said. "I questioned the river's true identity. I asked, 'Is it solely a commercial highway essential to the economic well-being of the United States? Or is it a natural wonder providing incredible opportunities for recreational users? How about its status as America's second most endangered waterway?' I found the answers to be in all of the above."

Morgan McGarvey, U.S. Representative for Kentucky's 3rd Congressional District, is interviewed in the program. He noted how the Ohio River has not received as much funding from the EPA as other waterways.

"The Ohio River is the largest body of water in America that doesn't receive federal funding right now. That's got to change," McGarvey said. "Having a clean river is essential. A major effort I am working on as co-chair of the Ohio River Caucus is to make sure the Ohio River is getting the resources it needs, that it deserves."

Michael Washburn, executive director of Kentucky Waterways Alliance, said the film examines the river's ability to represent Kentucky's history, culture and struggles.

"Morgan's film deftly showcases this past while eloquently arguing the restoration of the Ohio River is necessary for a sustainable future," Washburn said. "This message is as important as it is timely as organizations like ours are working to secure federal support for Ohio River restoration."

Atkinson said he has an important goal: "My intent is to leave viewers with one thing in mind: What can we do to bring the Ohio River nearer to its original state, described by many as 'the beautiful river?' My hope is that, by the time the credits roll, the audience will see the Ohio in a new light."

The film, suitable for all ages, is presented by Kentucky Waterways Alliance, Visit Ashland, Highlands Museum & Discovery Center, Northeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and the Boyd County Public Library. Admission is free but registration is requested by calling the museum at (606) 329-8888.

The museum is at 1620 Winchester Ave.