Ohio kicks off National Safe Boating Week May 19-25
COLUMBUS – As the boating season begins, wearing a life jacket is key to boating safely in the Buckeye State, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). The sun may be shining outside, but the water temperatures are still cold. Ohio will kick off National Safe Boating Week, which is held May 19-25.
“While out on the water, people need to wear their life jackets instead of just having them close by on the boat,” said ODNR Director James Zehringer. “If an accident occurs and you suddenly end up overboard, a life jacket will keep your head above water and could save your life.”
ODNR is celebrating National Safe Boating Week by holding the following six “Ready, Set, Wear It!” life jacket safety awareness events across the state on Saturday, May 19.
The eighth annual “Ready, Set, Wear It!” Life Jacket World Record Days will be held on Saturday, May 19; Saturday, June 9; Saturday, July 7; and Saturday, Aug. 11. The goal is to educate the public about the importance of wearing life jackets and safe boating for all ages throughout the summer. Each event will also showcase the comfortable and versatile options available in today’s modern life jackets.
The National Safe Boating Council, in partnership with the Canadian Safe Boating Council, invite the boating community, the general public and the media to participate in “Ready, Set, Wear It!” on May 19, June 9, July 7 and Aug. 11. Participating cities throughout Ohio, and around the globe, will gather to attempt to set a world record for the most life jackets worn and inflatable life jackets inflated.
Ohio boating groups will host events at various venues around the state where boating safety experts will register participants, conduct life jacket safety talks, fit participants for life jackets, stage a countdown and coordinate a group photo.
More Ohio events can be found at safeboatingcampaign.com/ready-set-wear-it/find-an-event. If people would like to host their own “Ready, Set, Wear It!” event, there is still time to register at safeboatingcampaign.com/ready-set-wear-it/register-an-event. Additional information on life jacket safety is available from the ODNR Division of Parks and Watercraft at watercraft.ohiodnr.gov/lifejackets.
“Ready, Set, Wear It!” is about raising awareness about the importance of wearing a life jacket. In 2015, history was made when 10,917 participants at 257 events around the world participated in this fun and educational world record event. Then in 2016 and 2017, the event was just shy of breaking this world record. More than 45,500 people around the world have participated in this fun and educational boating safety event since 2010. For more information about the National Safe Boating Council, visit safeboatingcouncil.org.
Born Wild, Stay Wild
COLUMBUS – The spring season has arrived, offering many opportunities for Ohioans to help protect young wildlife. Each year, Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) officials offer this simple advice: enjoy wildlife from a distance, and leave young animals alone. Wild animals are born to live their lives in the wild, and sometimes good intentions can hurt their chances of survival.
A young wild animal’s best chance for survival is with its mother. Most wildlife taken in by people do not survive, except when handled by specially-trained personnel. In many cases, a young animal collected by a person was not lost or abandoned, but was simply waiting for a parent to return.
Many adult wild animals will leave their young alone while they forage for food or to divert the attention of predators away from their vulnerable young, especially during daylight hours. In the case of white-tailed deer, a doe will hide her young from predators by leaving it alone in a secluded spot, such as a grassy meadow or a flower bed. A hidden fawn has virtually no scent, and when the fawn is left alone, it is difficult for predators to find. The doe is usually nearby and will tend to the fawn during the night.
Baby birds that have fallen from their nests are one of the most common wildlife species that are removed from the wild by humans. Contrary to popular belief, human scent will not prevent the parents from returning to care for their young. Individuals should return baby birds back to their nests and walk away so the parents can continue to feed the birds without fear of humans.
If individuals find a young animal that is visibly injured or clearly in severe distress and may need assistance, visit wildohio.gov/staywild before taking any action. Specific information for commonly encountered wildlife species is available to help guide people on how to best help the animal.
State and federal laws protect and regulate wildlife in Ohio, and only specially trained and licensed wildlife rehabilitators, with special permits issued by the ODNR Division of Wildlife, may possess and care for native wild animals. These laws are in place for the benefit of humans as well as wild animals.
To further protect young and vulnerable wild animals, keep pets under control so they do not raid nests or injure wild animals. Also, remember to keep pets inoculated against parasites and diseases before venturing out this spring.
Always check for nests before cutting down trees or clearing brush. It is best to cut trees and clear brush in the autumn when nesting season is over. Teach children to respect wildlife and their habitat, observing wildlife from a distance.
Contact a local wildlife official before taking action. Call 800-WILDLIFE (800-945-3543) or visit wildohio.gov/staywild to connect with the proper individuals and to read about species-specific guidance. Human intervention is always a wild animal’s last hope for survival, never its best hope.
Painting of Redhead Ducks Selected for State Wetlands Habitat Stamp
COLUMBUS – The artwork of wildlife artist Jocelyn Beatty won first place in the 2018 Ohio Wetlands Habitat Stamp Design Competition, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). Beatty’s painting of a pair of redheads will appear on the Ohio Wetlands Habitat Stamp issued in the fall of 2019.
The winning entry was selected from a field of 12 original paintings. Last year’s winner, Daniel Allard, will see his painting of ring-necked ducks appear on the 2018 Ohio Wetlands Habitat Stamp.
Beatty, of West Middlesex, Pennsylvania, won the competition for the first time. This year, second place honors went to Jeffery Klinefelter (the 2016 competition winner) of Indiana with his painting of redheads. The third-place entry was by Adam Grimm (the 2013 competition winner) of South Dakota with his painting of mallards.
Approximately 25,000 Ohio Wetlands Habitat Stamps were purchased last year, according to the ODNR Division of Wildlife. Proceeds from stamp sales help fund vital wetland habitat restoration projects in Ohio. Such habitats are important to many resident wildlife species including several that are state-endangered.
The judges for this year’s event included Dave Golowenski, the Columbus Dispatch; Brenda Layman, Outdoor Writers of Ohio; Gary Obermiller, ODNR; Tom Sheley, Wild Birds Unlimited; and Tom Vorisek, Ohio Wildlife Council.
Ohioans are encouraged to participate in next year’s competition. For complete contest entry information, contact Tim Daniel at email@example.com.
New Hocking Hills Visitors Center Groundbreaking
LOGAN, OH – The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) recently held a groundbreaking for the new Hocking Hills Visitors Center at Hocking Hills State Park. The visitors center is scheduled to open in December. The first visitors center at Hocking Hills State Park was built in 1989.
“Out of our 74 Ohio State Parks, Hocking Hills has brought Ohio the most national and international recognition,” said ODNR Director James Zehringer. “With the increase in visitation and busier trails, now is the perfect time to reinvest in Hocking Hills to enhance the experiences of our visitors.”
The top priorities of the new Hocking Hills Visitors Center will be safety and education, with a focus on orienting people to the area before they head out on the trails. With an estimated 2 million visitors per year, and new visitors discovering the park every day, spreading the safety message of the importance of staying on trail and being prepared for the many hikes and terrains Hocking Hills has to offer is crucial. Another highlight of the visitors center will be education, focusing on the specific geology of the Hocking Hills, wildlife, plant life and the history of the area. The building will also have new restrooms, as well as a gift store with drinks, snacks, apparel and hiking sticks.
Below are the list of improvements that have been implemented at Hocking Hills State Park.
- Opened Hemlock Bridge Trail and Whispering Cave
- Renovated all 40 state park cabins
- Built new flush restroom at Cedar Falls
- Upgraded 47 campsites to full-service sites
- Added new restroom at Cantwell Cliffs
- Installed Green Flush restroom at Conkles Hollow
- Expanded parking lot at Old Man’s Cave
- Added new composting restroom at Ash Cave
- Made electric upgrades to horse camp area
- Upgraded water treatment plant
- Renovated water tower in the campground
- Replaced A-frame bridge by Old Man’s Cave and curved stairway to Lower Falls
- Renovating two shower houses in the campground
- Establishing a new disc golf course near the cabin area and Hemlock Bridge Trail, which will open this summer.
Director Zehringer mentioned the anticipated replacement of the Hocking Hills Lodge and said this project remains a priority for the department and the community. Additionally, Hocking Hills State Park also celebrated the one-year anniversary of opening the Hemlock Bridge Trail, which features Whispering Cave, on May 8, 2017. Whispering Cave is the second-largest cave in the state park, and the Hemlock Bridge Trail was the first trail that had been opened up at Hocking Hills State Park in 50 years. The Hemlock Bridge Trail connects with the gorge trail to Old Man’s Cave and Cedar Falls.
Ohio has 74 state parks, 56 with campgrounds and nine with lodge and conference centers. The Buckeye State is one of only seven states in the nation where admission and parking at state parks are free. Many Ohio families and out-of-state residents visit Ohio State Parks for hiking, fishing, swimming, boating, camping, biking, disc golf, horseback riding and much more. In addition to daily visitors, there were a total of 2.8 million overnight stays last year in Ohio’s state park campgrounds, cabins and lodges.
The ODNR Division of Parks and Watercraft provides exceptional outdoor recreation and boating opportunities by balancing outstanding customer service, education, protection and conservation of Ohio’s state parks and waterways.
Natural Resources Assistance Council Awards More Than $3.95 Million in Clean Ohio Funds
Columbus – May 10, 2018: The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) announces four projects awarded over $3.95 million in Clean Ohio Conservation Funds (COCF) in Round 12 for District 3-Franklin County from the Natural Resources Assistance Council (NRAC). The COCF is part of the Clean Ohio program approved by voters in 2008.
Rank Applicant Project Name Total Project Cost Total Clean Ohio Funds Requested Total Clean Ohio Funds Awarded
1 Franklin County Metro Park Scioto River Parkland Preservation II $5,389,044 $2,694,522 $2,694,522
2 Columbus Recreation & Parks Noe-Bixby Parkland and Preserve $471,200 $348,680 $348,680
3 Columbus Recreation & Parks East Linden Natural Area Protection $626,000 $438,200 $438,200
4 City of Whitehall Whitehall Community Park Stream Restoration $626,000 $469,500 $469,500
The COCF can be used to acquire green space and/or restore riparian corridors. Local governments, park and joint recreation districts, conservancy districts, soil and water conservation districts, and non-profit organizations located in Franklin County are all eligible to apply for these grant funds.
The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) is a voluntary association of local governments and regional organizations that envisions and embraces innovative directions in economic prosperity, energy, the environment, housing, land use, and transportation. Our transformative programming, services and innovative public policy are designed to promote and support the vitality and growth in the region. For more information, please visit www.morpc.org.
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. Information for this story was also provided by MORPC.