The Maumee River, named by the Miami Indians, was designated a State Scenic River on July 18, 1974. Located in the northwestern part of Ohio, the Maumee flows northeasterly through portions of Paulding, Defiance, Henry, Wood and Lucas counties.
- The scenic portion of the Maumee River originates at the Ohio-Indiana state line and extends 43 miles to the US Route 24 bridge, west of Defiance. This section is characterized by a broad meandering floodplain. Valley walls rise sharply in comparison to the surrounding terrain. The river banks support a healthy, forested corridor.
- The recreational portion, from the US Route 24 bridge west of Defiance to the US Route 20/State Route 25 bridge at Perrysburg and Maumee, is 53 miles long. In this segment the river greatly changes in character. Its floodplain widens and its channel doubles in size; the topographic relief is much less pronounced; and forest cover becomes sparse.
The historic and cultural heritage of this section is of major state and national significance, making it worthy of designation. In the era when wilderness reigned supreme and travel was by foot or water, the river constituted one of the chief modes of transportation.
During the late 17th and 18th centuries, the Indian people moved southward and westward into the Maumee River Valley because of tribal warfare and the pressures of the European settlements. The Miami Indians were the predominant group; they settled at the headwaters of the river.
In 1794, George Washington ordered General Anthony Wayne to win control of the "Ohio Country" for the United States of America. With his well-disciplined army, Wayne succeeded in gaining American control of the Maumee Valley, one of the last strongholds of the Indian domination in Ohio.
Many battles of the French and Indian War and the War of 1812 occurred in the river valley, which played a decisive role in the opening up of the "Northwest Territory" for settlement.
The Maumee River, once a part of the Great Black Swamp, underwent extensive drainage to yield vast, fertile, agricultural lands, a part of the landscape that remains today. Indeed, this major river of northwestern Ohio constitutes an important historical and cultural resource for the citizens of Ohio.
The Maumee River Watershed is over 5,000 square miles and drains some of the richest farmland in Ohio. The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) and the farm community have worked hard to reduce phosphorus from fertilizer getting into the river. Through their work reductions have occurred.
Traditional farming practices are changing to reduce pollution of the river from sediments and farm chemicals. No-till farming has increased dramatically and has greatly assisted in protecting the river.
Development of new residential areas is on the rise and stormwater runoff from urban areas can be a serious threat to the river if not properly managed.