A consultant says Louisville should restore the Falls of the Ohio to its natural state, which would spur tourism. The presentation was part of today’s pre-Idea Festival conference about water.
The Falls of the Ohio are technically still there, but most of the falls have been covered by flooding from the McAlpine dam. Steven Greseth says the dam should be relocated, and the historic falls should be restored.
Greseth says restoring the falls would give Kentucky and Indiana residents a tie to their history to be proud of, and could also boost tourism in the area.
“The Falls of the Ohio, I went through all the water falls on earth and it’s arguably the 11th largest. It has the 7th greatest waterfall flow,” he said. “So what does that matter? Well, the National Park Service polled their visitors when they go to Yosemite. And they said, ‘what do you like the most when you go to Yosemite?’ They said, ‘we like to see where the water flow is the greatest.”
Greseth says this could lead to new heritage tourism opportunities for the Louisville area.
“Saint Louis, they’ve got the gateway to the west. The Falls of the Ohio, in my opinion, is the threshold of America,” he said. “Because when the settlers got here and they got across the Falls of the Ohio, America awaited. There were other ways to go, but for the people who came up the buffalo trace and down the Ohio River, it was a big deal.”
Greseth is also advocating the restoration and marketing of the buffalo trace—the path formed by migrating bison that later became a pioneer trail.