June is Ohio Goes Boating Month


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ODNR provides boating and educational opportunities all month long

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is offering boating and boating education opportunities to help celebrate the designation of June as ‘Ohio Goes Boating Month’ by the 132nd Ohio General Assembly. The House Bill 84 designation highlights Ohio’s thriving boating and tourism industry.

In an effort to bring attention to the many boating opportunities the state’s lakes and beaches offer, legislators in both the House and Senate passed House Bill 84 on April 26, highlighting the importance of the Ohio’s boating industry, which creates $3.6 billion in economic benefits. According to committee testimony, the western basin of Lake Erie has the third largest concentration of boats in the United States. The bill also strives to increase awareness for ensuring that Lake Erie, and all of Ohio’s waterways, remain clean, protected and healthy.

House Bill 84 promotes the variety of activities for Ohioans on the water at state parks, marinas and yacht clubs. Boating activities, such as kayaking, canoeing, sailing, stand-up paddleboarding and power boating, also encourages Ohioans to vacation in the state, which boosts local economies along Ohio’s shoreline and throughout the state.

In June, the ODNR Division of Parks and Watercraft provides a variety of boating and boating education activities, including:

• Ohio Boating Education Course – June 12, from 4-8 p.m., Point Place Library, 2727 117th St., Toledo, Lucas County. To register, call Maumee Bay State Park at 419-836-6003 or email maumeebay.watercraft@dnr.state.oh.us.

• Safe Boating and Fishing Festival – June 10, from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Pleasant Hill Lake Park, 3431 State Route 95, Perrysville, Richland County. For more information, call 419-938-7884.

• Ohio Boating Education Course – June 10, from 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Lake Loramie State Park – Earls Island Pavilion, 4401 Ft. Loramie Swanders Road, Minster, Shelby County. To register, call Grand Lake St. Marys State Park at 419-394-3611.

• Ohio Boating Education Course – June 10, from 8 a.m.–5 p.m., Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark, 1301 E. Siebenthaler Ave., Dayton, Montgomery County. Call Five Rivers MetroParks at 937-275-7275 or register online at metroparks.org.

• American Beaver Kayak Trip – June 11, from 6-9 p.m., Wingfoot Lake State Park. To register, call 330-628-4720.

• Ohio Boating Education Course – June 11, from 8 a.m.–6 p.m., Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District – Pleasant Hill Lake Park Welcome Center, 3431 State Route 95, Perrysville, Richland County. To register, call Pleasant Hill Park at 419-938-7884.

• Ohio Boating Education Course – June 13 and 14, from 6-10 p.m., Mentor Municipal Center, 8500 Civic Center Blvd., Mentor, Lake County. To register, call Mentor Parks and Recreation at 440-974-5720.

• Kayak Birding Trip – June 17, from 8 a.m.–12 p.m., East Fork State Park. To register, call 513-734-4323.

• Ohio Boating Education Course – June 17, from 8 a.m.–5 p.m., Buck Creek State Park, Springfield, Clark County. To register, call Buck Creek State Park at 937-323-1582.

• U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 082-06-08 About Boating Safely Course – June 17, from 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m., U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Moundwood Station, 7490 Edgewater Ave., Huntsville, Logan County. To register, contact Anita Daniel at 937-726-6572 or uscgx.sois@gmail.com.

• Paddle Palooza – June 18, from 1-5 p.m., Cowan Lake State Park. For more information, call 614-306-4913.

• Ohio Boating Education Course – June 24, from 8 a.m.–5 p.m., Rocky Fork State Park. Call the East Fork State Park office to register at 513-734-2730.

• Intro to Canoeing – June 24, from 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Alum Creek State Park – meet at the Cheshire boat ramp. To register, call 614-265-6652 or email valerie.cox@dnr.state.oh.us.

• Paddle Palooza – June 24, from 12-4 p.m., Portage Lakes State Park – at the beach. For more information, contact Richelle Slomer at 330-402-6919 or richelle.slomer@dnr.state.oh.us.

• Ohio Boating Education Course – June 24, from 8 a.m.–5 p.m., Alum Creek State Park classroom. To register, contact Alum Creek State Park at 740-548-5490 or alumcreek.watercraft@dnr.state.oh.us.

• Ohio Boating Education Course – June 24, from 8 a.m.–5 p.m., Rocky Fork State Park Activity Center (turn at North Shore launch ramp), Hillsboro, Clermont County. To register, contact East Fork State Park at 513-734-2730 or cincinnati.watercraft@dnr.state.oh.us.

The ODNR Division of Parks and Watercraft is responsible for managing Ohio’s 74 state parks and providing the finest outdoor recreational opportunities, including first-class boating services, facilities and law enforcement for users of Ohio’s waterways and public lands.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.

Lake Erie Island Partners to Release Paddling Guide at June 9 Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

PUT-IN-BAY – The Put-in-Bay Township Park District along with partners the National Park Service Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program and Ohio Sea Grant announces the release of a new publication: the Lake Erie Islands Water Trails guide. A ribbon cutting ceremony marking the grand opening of the trails will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, June 9, 2017 at the South Bass Island State Park at the annual Kayak Rendezvous.

The brochure features five circular paddling routes and associated public access points around South Bass, Middle Bass, North Bass, Kelleys Island and the Catawba and Marblehead peninsula area. Access points to the nearly 60 miles of paddling trails are visible from the water and marked with color coded signs that coordinate with the guide by island. Safety, environmental information, access amenities, and paddling distances are also included.

The creation of the guide comes from the growing interest of kayaking and paddling sports in the area.

“We wanted to create a guide that could help people be safe on Lake Erie and show them where proper access sites are located,” said Lisa Brohl, commissioner for the Put-in-Bay Township Park District.

The free guides will be available at the Lake Erie Shores and Islands Visitors Centers in Port Clinton and Sandusky, as well as the Lake Erie Island State Park Offices on South Bass, Middle Bass and Kelleys Islands and the Aquatic Visitors Center at Put-in-Bay. It is also available online at go.osu.edu/LEwatertrails.

“This exciting project has come together with the help of many partners who see the opportunities of increased recreation, awareness of island resources and economic impacts,” said Andrea Irland, outdoor recreation planner for the National Park Service’s River, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program. “Residents, visitors and the entire island community will benefit from these Lake Erie Island Water Trails.”

The project was made possible by an Ohio Environmental Education Fund (OEEF) grant from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

The Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program carries out the natural resource conservation and outdoor recreation mission of the National Park Service in communities across America.

The Put-in-Bay Township Park District was formed in 2006 dedicated to protecting and preserving unique areas that enhance the heritage of the Lake Erie Islands.

Ohio State University’s Ohio Sea Grant College Program is part of NOAA Sea Grant, a network of 33 Sea Grant programs dedicated to the protection and sustainable use of marine and Great Lakes resources. For more information, visit ohioseagrant.osu.edu.

Coast Guard releases 2016 Recreational Boating Statistics report:

Shows highest number of fatalities on record in the last five years

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Coast Guard released its 2016 Recreational Boating Statistics, revealing that boating fatalities nationwide that year totaled 701, the highest number of yearly boating fatalities on record in the last five years.

From 2015 to 2016, deaths increased 12 percent from 626 to 701, injuries increased 11.1 percent from 2,613 to 2,903, and the total number of accidents increased 7.3 percent from 4,158 to 4,463.

“The boating safety community should view these statistics as a stark reminder of the importance of boating safety education,” said Capt. Scott Johnson, Chief of the Office of Auxiliary and Boating Safety at Coast Guard Headquarters. “We are committed to providing boaters with resources including boating safety classes and vessel safety checks. One person lost or injured to a preventable boating accident is one too many so we encourage the boating public to use these educational resources as a means to prevent accidents.”

The report also shows that in 2016:

• The fatality rate of 5.9 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels reflected an 11.3 percent increase from the previous year’s rate of 5.3 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels.

• Property damage totaled approximately $49 million.

• Alcohol was the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents and was listed as the leading factor in 15 percent of deaths.

• Operator inattention, operator inexperience, improper lookout, excessive speed, and machinery failure ranked as the top five primary contributing factors in accidents.

“Wearing a life jacket, regardless of whether or not a state or federal law requires one to be worn, is the single greatest factor in preventing death from drowning,” said Johnson. “All boaters should wear a lifejacket at all times when on the water, no matter your age, physical ability, or condition.”

Where the cause of death was known, 80 percent of fatal boating accident victims drowned; of those drowning victims, 83 percent were not wearing a life jacket. Where boating instruction was known, 77 percent of deaths occurred on vessels where the operator had not received boating safety instruction. The most common vessel types involved in reported accidents were open motorboats, personal watercraft, and cabin motorboats. The vessel types with the highest number of fatalities were on open motorboats, kayaks, and canoes.

“We commend the work of our boating safety partners who serve as a valuable resource to boaters,” said Johnson. “Together, we must continue to strive to reduce the number of accidents and casualties on our waterways.”

The Coast Guard reminds all boaters to boat responsibly on the water: wear a life jacket, take a boating safety course, attach your engine cut-off switch, get a free vessel safety check, and avoid alcohol or other impairing substance consumption.

To view the 2016 Recreational Boating Statistics, click here. Visit the Office of Boating Safety’s website for more information on boating responsibly.

25 Individuals Convicted in Philo Deer Poaching Case

ATHENS, OH – Twenty-five individuals, including 20 juveniles, were recently convicted of 161 hunting-related charges in the Muskingum County Court and the Muskingum County Common Pleas Court Juvenile Division, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

Over a two-year period, ODNR Division of Wildlife officers received numerous complaints about white-tailed deer being illegally shot near Philo in Muskingum County.

During a night project in 2014, a vehicle was observed spotlighting deer in a hay field. When state wildlife officers approached the vehicle, it fled the scene at a high rate of speed. Officers pursued the vehicle until it was deemed unsafe to continue.

The State Highway Patrol provided a lead in December 2015 when State Troopers pulled over an adult and four juveniles and discovered three dead deer in the vehicle. State wildlife officers and investigators followed up with the individuals and were able to determine that one of the juveniles had been a passenger in the vehicle that had fled the year before. Officers were also able to identify additional suspects and other violations. More suspects were identified through subsequent contacts and additional violation reports. The investigation eventually resulted in 25 individuals being issued summonses for more than 200 counts of wildlife violations.

The defendants were found guilty on 161 of those counts and ordered to pay $1,675 in fines and $3,991 in court costs, and complete a combined 440 hours of community service. Several items seized during the investigation were forfeited to the ODNR Division of Wildlife, including firearms, deer parts, and ginseng.

The ODNR Division of Wildlife encourages anyone observing or suspecting that wildlife violations are occurring to report illegal activity by calling the Turn-In-A-Poacher (TIP) hotline toll free at 1-800-POACHER (762-2437) or submitting information online at wildohio.gov. All information received by the TIP program will remain confidential.

Wildlife Watchers Asked to

Report Wild Turkey and

Ruffed Grouse Sightings

COLUMBUS – The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is asking the public to participate in surveying wild turkeys and ruffed grouse by reporting sightings of these two species.

Every year, the ODNR Division of Wildlife conducts a turkey and grouse brood survey to estimate population growth. The brood survey relies on the public to report observations of all wild turkeys and ruffed grouse seen during May, June, July and August. Wildlife watchers and hunters can report observations at the new Wildlife Species Sighting webpage at wildohio.gov/reportwildlife.

Information submitted to the brood survey helps to predict population changes and helps guide the state’s hunting regulations. More than 7,000 turkeys were reported during the 2016 survey timeframe, with an average of 3.6 young turkeys (poults) per adult hen turkey. This average was higher than the long-term average of 2.5 poults per adult hen.

Information is available from past wild turkey or ruffed grouse observations online under the Forest Species Overview webpage at wildohio.gov. Biologists began tracking summer observations of wild turkeys in 1962. Ruffed grouse were added to the survey in 1999.

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OUTDOORS NEWS BRIEFS

Staff Reports