One local kayak and canoe outfitter is trying to make the Little Miami River a better place for all. Morgan’s Outdoor Adventures acts as a canoe and kayak outfitter, campground operator and river awareness hub along the Ohio River tributary.

Owned and operated by three brothers—Dirk, Randy, and Gary Morgan—Morgan’s boasts having three separate locations: its original location in Fort Ancient off State Route 350, one in Brookeville and a jungle getaway property in Costa Rica. 

“We believe in preservation through utilization,” Dirk Morgan says. The outfitter offers discounts, and, in some cases, free trips to those who help clean up the river. The most popular outings on the Little Miami location are the three-, six- and 18-mile trips. 

While newcomers are welcome to rent from the large selection of canoes and kayaks, Morgan’s welcomes those who own their own equipment, as well as the experience and knowledge of the water that often comes as a result. 

“We sell our used equipment and offer transport for both renters and owners,” Dirk says. The shuttle service alleviates the hassle of working out transportation for every aspect of what is supposed to be a leisurely trip.

On-site campgrounds ranging from quaint tent-friendly areas to riverside cabins are available to rent at Morgan’s. According to Morgan’s website, staying at the riverside campgrounds give you extended access to the river, the Little Miami Bike Trail and even King’s Island (located 3.5 miles away).

One of Morgan’s most popular regular events is the Twilight Canoe and Dinner for Two. Participants meet at 6 p.m. and paddle a three mile guided tour to Valley Vineyards winery, where there is the option to grill themselves steak or salmon. Following the grill out, live music is provided. The event is hosted on the second Thursday of every month from May to October, with between 25 and 40 canoes participating each month, Dirk says.

The present owners’ father, Robert Morgan, was a local schoolteacher and took students on canoe trips to northern Ontario, Canada, for weeks at a time. Robert and his wife June acquired the Little Miami property in 1969. The couple bought 50 canoes and decided to start renting them out, and the Morgan’s mark on the Little Miami River blossomed from there.

To complement its two Tristate locations, Morgan’s makes use of its Jungle Lodge located on the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica. Dirk says that since 1999, Morgan’s has catered to groups looking to unplug and make real connections at the propane and solar-powered Central American complex. Schools such as Clark Montessori, Xavier University and Miami University have had students visit the Jungle Lodge.

The Morgans have established themselves not only as the first outfitter on the Little Miami, but one that emphasizes and rewards the care of the river. According to Dirk, the outfitter places importance on education and safety and provides a variety of outdoor options.