Jesse Mestrovic
Jesse Mestrovic, Wheeling’s director of parks and recreation.

It’s Spring! The Outdoors Are Open … Go Explore the Ohio Valley

Parks are a great place to practice social distancing and a great way to free your mind — especially right now.

The City of Wheeling Parks & Recreation Department would like to encourage people to stay active by walking, running, hiking or biking on local trails.

We encourage citizens to find some nature experiences in your neighborhood or seek an adventure at your local park.

We want to take this opportunity to create meaningful relationships with the outdoors.

Spring is here, and wildflowers are beginning to sprout. A change of scenery with a different perspective can hopefully bring some much-needed relaxation and peace.

Play in the dirt and think outside the box, but also don’t forget to practice good nutrition as it is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.


• Walking — admire the beautiful architecture of Wheeling while picking up litter in your neighborhood.

• Running — choose a route less traveled or just hit the Wheeling Heritage Trail.

• Bicycling — 13-plus miles of trail at your disposal or ride the neighborhoods. And wear a helmet!

• Kayak, canoe or go fishing at one of our local reservoirs (Middle Wheeling Creek Lake, Bear Rocks Lake, Castleman Run Lake) or paddle at one of the creeks (Wheeling Creek or Buffalo Creek). Each of these waterways has been stocked with trout three times thus far.

• Hiking — visit your favorite trail at Oglebay or check out lesser-known locations such a the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Wildlife Refuge at the northern tip of Wheeling Island.

• Urban Stairmaster — embrace your inner Rocky and experience the city steps that straddle Vineyard Hill.

• Disc golfing — pick up a new sport while going for a hike at the Wheeling Island Marina.

• Reading — find a comfortable place in nature.

• Birdwatching — take a step back, watch and listen to the birds.

If you must stay at home, try workouts that require minimal equipment such as yoga, bodyweight exercises, stretching or light calisthenics.


For the most up-to-date trout stocking report around the state of West Virginia, check out the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources trout stocking report. I use this site to see which reservoir or creek has been stocked most recently and plan my outing accordingly. This active monitoring hopefully increases my odds of landing a brooder (large trout). The website is updated daily by the WVDNR on the delivery of hatchery fish deposited in state waterways:

• Northern Panhandle Trout Waters (all stocked three times thus far)

• Bear Rocks Lake*  — Ohio County

• Middle Wheeling Creek (delayed harvest, catch and release until May) — Ohio County

• Middle Wheeling Lake — Ohio County

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• Castleman Run Lake — Ohio and Brooke counties

• Wheeling Creek* — Ohio and Marshall counties

• Buffalo Creek — Brooke County

• Tomlinson Run (Tomlinson Run State Park) — Hancock County

• Tomlinson Run Lake (Tomlinson Run State Park) — Hancock County

• Kings Creek — Hancock County

*Bear Rocks Lake and Wheeling Creek were stocked Wednesday, March 18, for the fourth time this year!


Map My Run is a great tool for runners and cyclists to plan routes according to mileage. I use this website to plan routes for my workout plans. Say I have to run a 5-mile route for my workout plan — I get on the computer and plan a couple of loops around the city. Regimented workout plans help to prevent me from over training, and sometimes it leads me to parts of our community that I otherwise would not have explored.

Another activity tool that I like to use is a Smartphone app called, Strava. I would classify this as a social media platform for active-minded individuals. This app tracks your distance, time, elevation gain, heart rate, etc. for every activity that you can imagine. My Garmin watch uploads the data to the app, which allows me to track my progress throughout the year. I use this platform for running, hiking, kayaking and cycling, to name just a few.


Ohio Valley Adventure is my personal website that is an inventory of public land for outdoor recreation. Several years ago, I created this website as a resource for citizens of the Ohio Valley to find public outdoor places to recreate and explore. We are blessed to have the amount of public land and the number of resources that we do in the Ohio Valley. Many of these locations in the tri-state area are less known, and I want to encourage people to get outside and explore our Ohio Valley backyard.

In 2009, Wheeling made Backpacker Magazine’s “Best Place to Raise an Outdoor Kid” list (No. 25 in the country).

I am one of those kids, and I encourage parents and guardians to instill those values and beat the nature deficit disorder by embracing our recreational amenities.

Jesse Mestrovic was born and raised in Wheeling, grew up in Elm Grove and walked to Bridge Street Middle School. He graduated from Wheeling Park High School in 2004 before receiving a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s in recreation, parks and tourism resources from West Virginia University. He also studied abroad with the WVU Exchange Program in Vienna, Austria, and was selected to return to Austria for a summer internship at the Donau-Auen National Park. After graduate school, he worked at Stonewall Resort State Park as park naturalist before being promoted to superintendent I at Tomlinson Run State Park. Jesse also served as the first executive director of the Greater Moundsville Convention & Visitors Bureau promoting Marshall County’s attractions, events and activities. He currently is the director of parks and recreation for the City of Wheeling. Jesse is an avid outdoorsman, kayaker, runner and cyclist who loves connecting people to the outdoors. He is extremely fortunate to have made a career out of his passion for recreation, parks and tourism.