#PeopleofNEI: Jason, finding his happy place on the rivers

Northeast Indiana is evolving. These are the people and places shaping its future. #PeopleofNEI #PlacesofNEI

This week's feature:

Jason has been paddling our rivers since 2011 when he moved to downtown Fort Wayne. You can find him on our three rivers throughout the week. As a local, he is one of the Fort’s biggest river advocates. “In 2011, I was 28 years old and had never been on our rivers even though I had driven over them thousands of times. I went to the Deck and hopped on a pontoon ride after moving back to Fort Wayne. I had been away for four years for work and when I came back, everything had changed. I remember when I saw the city for the first time in a new way and the beauty of the rivers all at once. It felt like a whole new city and felt like a different way to travel Fort Wayne. It gave me a brand new appreciation for what we have. My favorite is… well, it depends. St. Marys River has the best view. I can lock up my paddle board and go places easily. I love the tree line and views around Swinney Park. I can just bring my music, a cooler, and relax. The St. Joe River is amazing because of the beauty, Stevie’s Island with the rope swing, and of course, Johnny Appleseed. I love the Maumee River but it’s just shorter for me because of the dam. I want to explore it more in the future. I definitely love the bike trail around it. Compared to 2011, the rivers in Fort Wayne feel a thousand percent busier. This is obviously due to the contributions of Promenade Park and the Fort Wayne Outfitters. The Hall family have done an incredible job. For anyone that is not sure how to get on the rivers, I would definitely start with the Fort Wayne Outfitters. They are such a great place to start. My future dreams for our rivers include floating docks in strategic places like Bluffton Road, Swinney Park, and the Old Fort. I think that would help further river-dining and adventures. It would make us all more connected and get more people on the rivers. I love that I can go exploring any day I want. I am always meeting new people while I’m paddling. On the river, everyone feels excited. Everyone is happy. People are always saying ‘hey’ or chatting with others. I have never seen an unhappy person on the river.” #PeopleofNEI

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Read more articles by Stephen J. Bailey.

Stephen J. Bailey is a Fort Wayne native and the owner of PH Digital that was founded in 2006. Based out of the Anthony Wayne Building in downtown Fort Wayne, he specializes in web development, SEO development, social media management, and digital marketing campaigns with numerous companies in northeast Indiana. Stephen loves road trips, sushi, his pups, and spending time on our three rivers.
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