Enjoy Easter Egg Hunts and Wildflower Walks in April
COLUMBUS — April is an exciting time in Ohio! The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) offers events around Ohio at our state parks and state nature preserves for people to enjoy as we step into spring. Fun events in April include several Easter egg hunts for kids as well as wildflower and bird walks.
Cincinnati Invitational High School Regatta at East Fork State Park – This huge rowing invitational on Saturday, April 8, draws dozens of teams, and the event is held at the main beach at 3294 Elklick Road Bethel, 45106. Use caution while driving in the park, due to many spectators, rowers and boats.
Children’s Fishing Derby at Punderson State Park – The Friends of Punderson State Park are sponsoring this children’s fishing derby on Saturday, April 8, which starts with check-in at 8 a.m. and poles down at 11:30 a.m. Limited to 80 participants. For more information and the online registration form, which will be active starting on April 1, go to friendsofpunderson.com/2017-kids-fishing-derby. People can also call the park office at 330-637-2856 for other registration options.
Bird Walk at Lake Hope State Park – Join the naturalist on a 2-mile Bird Walk at Lake Hope State Park on Saturday, April 8, from 9-11 a.m. through different habitats in search of early spring migrants. Some binoculars will be provided. Meet at the Hope School House. Weather appropriate clothing is recommended. For questions, call the nature center at 740-596-3030.
Vernal Pools at Mohican State Park – Vernal means spring, and spring is a busy time for most wildlife in Ohio — especially for amphibians such as frogs and salamanders. Carefully we will poke around and investigate the vernal pools at Mohican State Park on Saturday, April 8, at 10 a.m. Meet at the Hemlock Gorge Trailhead located in the A camp area off State Route 3 south of Loudonville; follow signs for “Naturalist Program.”
Cement Disc Golf Event at Mosquito Lake State Park – The Squirrel Run Disc Golf Course was recently expanded to 18 holes and has a new pavilion and restrooms. This tournament on Sunday, April 9, is to raise funds for creating cement pads at the tees on the disc golf course. People are encouraged to come and try the new layout! Play begins at 10 a.m. with registration from 9:15-9:45 a.m. A $10 donation is requested. The project will proceed as soon as funds are obtained.
Turtle Sunday at Mohican State Park – Learn about turtles that live around Ohio on Sunday, April 9. Meet a few resident turtles, discover what makes them a reptile and how to help them survive. Meet at the Mohican lodge lobby at 10 a.m.
Wildflower Walk at Lake Hope State Park – Discover which blooms are emerging from the forest floor on this 2-mile walk on Sunday, April 9, from 1-2:30 p.m. Meet at Hope Furnace. People should wear weather appropriate clothing, and sturdy waterproof shoes are recommended. For questions, call the nature center at 740-596-3030.
Sounds of Spring Night Hike at Mohican State Park – Enjoy a nocturnal experience listening to the sounds of spring on Friday, April 14, at 7:30 p.m. Meet at the Hemlock Gorge Trailhead located at the back of Camp area A off State Route 3 south of Loudonville; follow the signs for “Naturalist Program.” This is an easy hike, but the trail may be muddy. No need for flashlights or glow sticks.
Birding in the Bog at Cooperrider-Kent Bog – Ring in the spring migration of neo-tropical migrants as well as our year-round bird friends from 7:30-10 a.m. on Saturday, April 15. For more information, call 330-527-5118.
Green-Up Day at Cowan State Park – Come help volunteers get the park ready for the upcoming camping season on Saturday, April 15, from 9 a.m.-noon. Meet at the campground shelter. Call 937-382-1096 for more information.
Easter Egg Hunt at Van Buren State Park – Join us at Van Buren State Park on Saturday, April 15, for a fun Easter egg hunt. Children ages 12 and under may bring a basket to collect eggs. The times for collecting eggs are as follows: children ages 10-12 at 10 a.m., children ages 7-9 at 10:15 a.m., children ages 4-6 at 10:30 a.m. and children ages 1-3 at 10:45 a.m.
Easter Egg Hunt at Lake Hope State Park – Stop by the nature center on Saturday, April 15, from 1-2 p.m. for a fun filled afternoon of Easter egg hunting on the grounds surrounding the nature center. Kids will find candy-filled eggs as well as tokens to win a prize at the prize table.
Wildflower Hike at Hueston Woods State Park – Meet at the nature center for a relaxing hike through the woods to look for spring wildflowers on Saturday, April 15, from 2-3:30 p.m. Wear appropriate footwear. Bring your vehicle; we will drive to the trailhead. Call 513-524-4250 with any questions.
Easter Egg Hunt at East Harbor State Park – Join us for our fifth annual Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 15, at 2 p.m. in front of the campground office. Bring the kids and grandkids, and be part of a fun family-oriented activity. Get a jump on spring and consider camping with us!
Spring Woodcock Walk at Maumee Bay State Park – Meet at the campground office at 7:45 p.m. on Saturday, April 15, 22 and 29. Witness the spectacular courtship flight of the “Timberdoodle,” also known as the American woodcock. Call 419-836-9117 as this program is weather dependent.
Lyons Falls Wildflower Walk at Mohican State Park – In addition to towering trees and ferns galore, Mohican State Park is known for wildflowers. Each turn of the trail brings an amazing site to behold or secret to discover. Like old friends or new finds, we are sure to have a joyful nature experience. Meet at the Hemlock Grove Picnic Area located by the covered bridge on Sunday, April 16, at 10 a.m.
For more information about events, go to parks.ohiodnr.gov/calendar and naturepreserves.ohiodnr.gov/calendar.
Getting outdoors is an ideal way to relieve stress and boost mood levels. The new Explore Ohio initiative is aimed at encouraging people to exercise outdoors and become healthier in the process. Participants can log their miles, share their photos and create friends groups on the Explore Ohio website at ExploreOh.com. Whether people are running, hiking, biking, climbing, walking or paddling, Ohioans can keep track of their progress at ExploreOh.com and share their adventures on social media using #ExploreOhio. After reaching 100 combined miles of activity on the site, each registered user will receive an email with a certificate good for 15 percent off camping at any Ohio State Park.
April to Bring Spectacular
Spring Blooms to Ohio’s Forests
Ohioans will soon be treated to a spectacular display of native spring wildflowers during the month of April. Follow along as the bloom unfolds from south to north this spring with the Ohio wildflower bloom report, published each Friday by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).
This year’s season started quite early, when spring-like weather arrived in mid-February. But March brought freezing temperatures and snow to much of Ohio, putting the wildflower season on pause. This pattern sets the season to reach peak for early April in our southernmost counties, mid-April for central counties, and late April and early May in our northernmost counties.
Ohio’s spring wildflowers bloom early in the spring, before the leaves unfurl on the trees above. Very quickly, the canopy closes above, ending the season, leaving only a few weeks to see these gems of Ohio’s woodlands. The best days to venture to the woods to look at open wildflowers are warm, sunny spring days with temperatures above 50 degrees.
Early bloomers include harbinger-of-spring, snow trillium and hepatica. These are soon followed by spring beauty, cut-leaf toothwort and bloodroot. Finally, showier flowers like large white trillium, Virginia bluebells and marsh marigold carpet the forest floor with a wash of color.
In each Ohio Wildflower Bloom report, ODNR details which species are blooming where, and makes specific recommendations for seeing the best displays of spring bloomers across the state. Visit naturepreserves.ohiodnr.gov/wildflowers to read each weekly report.
ODNR and TourismOhio encourage people to take spring wildflower photos and upload them to social media using the hashtag, #OhioWildflowers. Follow @ohiodnr and @OhioFindItHere on Twitter, @ohiodnr on Instagram and ODNR Division of Natural Areas and Preserves and Ohio Find it Here on Facebook to see more spring wildflower photos.
Getting outdoors is an ideal way to relieve stress and boost mood levels. ODNR’s new Explore Ohio initiative is aimed at encouraging people to exercise outdoors and become healthier in the process. Participants can log their miles, share their photos and create friends groups on the Explore Ohio website at ExploreOh.com. Whether people are running, hiking, biking, climbing, walking or paddling, Ohioans can keep track of their progress at ExploreOh.com and share their adventures on social media using #ExploreOhio. After reaching 100 combined miles of activity on the site, each registered user will receive an email with a certificate good for 15 percent off camping at any Ohio State Park.
CUFFS & COLLARS
Field reports from ODNR Division of Wildlife Officers
Central Ohio – Wildlife District One
State Wildlife Officer Brad Kiger, assigned to Franklin County, was contacted by the Gang Task Force concerning Facebook pictures of a deer posted by a known gang member. Officer Kiger and State Wildlife Officer Patrick Muldovan, assigned to Licking County, went to the suspect’s last known address along with a Columbus Police Officer. Further investigation revealed a suspect with a valid hunting license and deer permit killed a deer, but did not game check the animal. The suspect was later charged with removing the game tag before getting a confirmation number, removing the head and hide before getting a confirmation number, and failure to check the deer in. The suspect was found guilty in court, paid $338 in fines and court costs, and the suspect’s hunting license was revoked.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District Two
Last summer, Lake Erie Investigator Jason Hadsell and State Wildlife Officer Robert Nelson, assigned to Ross County, were patrolling the waters north of Lorain Harbor checking angler compliance with regulations. The officers stopped a vessel, and two people onboard did not have a valid fishing license. The adult individual was written a summons for no fishing license and a report was created for the juvenile individual’s violation report. After speaking with those two individuals, Officer Nelson and Investigator Hadsell began checking vessels returning to the boat ramp. Investigator Hadsell observed a vessel with two anglers having difficulty attempting to dock, so he tied the bow line off to help. Investigator Hadsell asked the fishermen if he could come into the boat and look at their catch, and the fishermen said yes. He boarded the boat and looked into the cooler, where it was immediately apparent that there was at least one walleye shorter than the 15-inch minimum. Investigator Hadsell measured all the caught fish and found three short walleye in the cooler. He confiscated the fish and wrote each man a summons for the short walleye. When Officer Nelson and Investigator Hadsell left the boat ramp for the day, they had issued four summons for short walleye, and two violations for no fishing license. Close to $850 was paid in court for the four short walleye violations and there is still a warrant out for the man with no fishing license.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District Three
State Wildlife Officer Brennan Earick, assigned to Ashland County, was patrolling Killbuck Marsh State Wildlife Area one evening when he observed a vehicle parked in the middle of the road with the lights off. As Officer Earick approached, the vehicle began to drive away. Officer Earick followed and was able to stop the vehicle down the road. Upon reaching the vehicle, Officer Earick noticed that the driver’s eyes appeared to be bloodshot and watery. While Officer Earick was talking to the three men in the vehicle, he observed an open beer can on the driver’s side as well as another open beer can between the passenger’s feet. Officer Earick also noticed a cooler in the back seat, and was given permission to inspect it. He discovered several unopened beer cans inside. The driver and backseat passenger were charged with possession of an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle and ordered to appear in Wooster Court. The men were convicted and paid $276 in fines and costs.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District Four
In November 2016, State Wildlife Officers Allen Patton, assigned to Athens County, and Chris Dodge, assigned to Hocking County, were working an area with several spotlighting complaints in Athens County. Around 9 p.m. they witnessed a light coming from the passenger side of a vehicle. However, the light was infrared and could only been seen with night vision technology. Officers Patton and Dodge approached the men, and further investigation revealed a loaded pistol in the backseat with a night vision scope and a mounted suppressor. Six additional firearms were found inside the cab of the truck, and a dead deer was found in the bed of the truck. The pistol was seized along with all of the attachments, the night vision scope, and the infrared amplifier flashlight. The suspects were taken to bond out since they were from out of state. They paid more than $1,300 in fines and court costs, and more than $8,000 in equipment was seized and forfeited.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District Five
Last spring, State Wildlife Officer Austin Levering, assigned to Mercer County, was conducting a routine patrol during the spring turkey season when he encountered a truck parked alongside the road in Mercer County. Upon inspecting the vehicle, Officer Levering discovered multiple containers of poultry feed. Shortly thereafter, Officer Levering observed a man dressed in camouflage clothing and carrying a shotgun walking out of the woods back to the truck. Officer Levering contacted the hunter and confirmed the hunter had a valid hunting license and spring turkey permit. Officer Levering asked the hunter if he could walk him back to the location where he was turkey hunting. The hunter complied and led Officer Levering to his hunting location. Further investigation revealed a large pile of poultry feed approximately 30 yards from the ground blind. State Wildlife Officer Mark Schemmel, assigned to Auglaize County, arrived and assisted Officer Levering with the investigation and processing of evidence. Subsequently, the hunter was issued a citation for hunting spring turkeys over a baited area. The hunter’s firearm was seized as evidence and the judge in the Celina Municipal Court suspended his hunting privileges for one year from the date of violation.
ODNR Continues to Support Safety on Ohio’s Waterways
Funds support local marine law enforcement programs
Twenty-three Ohio communities will receive a total of $568,632.80 from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) to support local marine patrol units. Provided by the ODNR Division of Parks and Watercraft, these assistance funds represent a continuing effort to keep Ohio waterways safe and enhance recreational boating experiences.
“We are pleased to return boaters’ dollars directly back to Ohio communities to support local marine patrol programs and make waterways as safe as possible,” said Mike Bailey, chief of the ODNR Division of Parks and Watercraft.
The 2017 Marine Patrol Assistance Grants will help local law enforcement agencies provide emergency response to boating-related incidents, conduct routine waterway patrols and purchase safety equipment for use on marine patrol vessels. The recipient agencies are located in counties statewide, including Ohio’s more populated counties such as Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton and Montgomery, as well as smaller communities located in Erie, Pickaway and Scioto counties.
In 2016, Ohio had a record 505,524 registered recreational watercraft, a growth of almost 56,000 in three years. Over the last decade, there has been a 181 percent increase in kayak and canoe registrations (including liveries). Overall, Ohio currently ranks eighth in the nation in state recreational boat registrations. The current economic impact of recreational boating in Ohio is $3.5 billion.
As the number of visitors to Ohio’s lakes and rivers increases, Marine Patrol Assistance Grants are vital to ensuring the safety of Ohio’s boaters. Boating-related fatalities on Ohio waterways have declined by 20 percent, from 176 during the 1996-2006 period to 140 during the 2007-2016 period. Additional boating information and a list of Marine Patrol Assistance Grant recipients is available online at ohiodnr.gov/watercraft.
The ODNR Division of Parks and Watercraft administers Ohio’s boating and scenic rivers programs. The funding to support local marine patrol units comes from the state’s Waterways Safety Fund, which is comprised of the state motor fuel tax, watercraft registration and titling fees, as well as funds provided by the U.S. Coast Guard. The ODNR Division of Parks and Watercraft oversees watercraft registration and titling operations, provides funding to local communities for education and enforcement, educates the public and enforces boating laws on Ohio’s waterways.
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.