Outdoors News Briefs

Ohio State Parks Offers Fun Events in August

COLUMBUS — School is right around the corner, but there’s still plenty of time to enjoy getting outdoors this summer! August offers a full slate of naturalist programming and other special activities, perfect for the whole family, at Ohio State Parks.

Nature Saturdays at Kiser Lake State Park – Each Saturday in August, spend time learning about fishing, wildlife and more at Kiser Lake State Park. Meet at the nature center on Aug. 19 and Aug. 26 to learn about fishing tips at 9 a.m. and Hooked on Fishing at 10 a.m. Make bird feeders at 11 a.m. At 4 p.m., catch creek critters. Archery and target shooting will be available at 7 p.m. For more information, contact the park at 937-362-3565.

Wild Wednesdays at Salt Fork State Park – Meet at the Salt Fork lodge activity room at 4 p.m. on Aug. 23 for a different wilderness and wildlife program each week. To learn more, contact the park naturalist at 740-439-3521.

Night Hike at Shawnee State Park – Ever wonder what critters are out at night, or how they make their way through the dark? Join the naturalist on this fun and informative walk into the darkness. Meet at the nature center at 8 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 18. To learn more, contact the park at 740-858-6652.

Tractor/Car Show at Harrison Lake State Park – Come see the old tractors and cars at Harrison Lake State Park on Saturday, Aug. 19, from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. The event, sponsored by the Friends of Harrison Lake, also features music, crafts and refreshments for sale. To learn more, contact the park at 419-237-1503.

Aquatic Acrobats at Shawnee State Park – Float on the tranquil lake under dragonflies and birds whirling about on a mission to eat and reproduce. Meet at the Turkey Creek Boat Ramp at 9 a.m. on Aug. 19 and Aug. 26. This program will be done on the water with kayaks. To learn more, contact the park at 740-858-6652.

Skins and Skulls at Guilford Lake State Park – Join us at the amphitheater at Guilford Lake State Park on Saturday, Aug. 19, at 10 a.m. for Skins and Skulls. We will discover some interesting animal skulls and then match them up with pelts and tracks. To learn more, contact the park at 330-222-1712.

Butterflies and Caterpillars at Beaver Creek State Park – Local butterfly expert, Dorothy Reynolds, will be at the Wildlife Education Center at Beaver Creek State Park on Saturday, Aug. 19, from 1-5 p.m. to discuss butterflies and caterpillars. To learn more, contact the park at 330-385-3091.

Solar Eclipse Viewing at Lake Hope State Park – Join us on Monday, Aug. 21, at 2 p.m. for the solar eclipse viewing at Lake Hope State Park. Eye protection will be provided. Don’t miss it, the next one won’t be until 2024! Meet at the dining lodge. To learn more, call the nature center at 740-596-3030.

Passport to Fishing at Shawnee State Park – Learn about fishing at Shawnee State Park! Meet at the nature center on Friday, Aug. 25, at 5 p.m. Bait, tackle and poles will be provided by the ODNR Division of Wildlife and Scioto County Soil and Water Conservation District. During the program, the children will learn to tie knots, cast, handle fish and be responsible and knowledgeable anglers. To learn more, contact the park at 740-858-6652.

Lighthouse Tours at Marblehead Lighthouse State Park – Tour Marblehead Lighthouse daily from noon-4 p.m., through Labor Day. The last tour of the day begins at 3:40 p.m. There is a $3 charge for all guests (aged 6 and over) to climb the lighthouse, cash only. Everyone under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. The Lighthouse Museum and the Life Saving Station are open (no charge) while the lighthouse is open. For more information, call East Harbor State Park at 419-734-4424 or visit marbleheadlighthouseohio.org.

50th Anniversary of Hueston Woods State Park Lodge – Join us at the lodge to celebrate 50 years of making memories! Open to the public, activities run 12-4 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 27, and the event is highlighted by a special program and cake cutting at 1 p.m. Other activities include music and refreshments by the pool, the jet ski simulator, disc golf demonstrations, naturalist programming in the lobby and door prizes all afternoon. For more details, contact the lodge at 513-664-3500.

To learn more about family-friendly events at Ohio’s state parks and state nature preserves, go to parks.ohiodnr.gov/calendar or naturepreserves.ohiodnr.gov/calendar.

Getting outdoors is an ideal way to relieve stress and boost mood levels. The 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.

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 Seeks Nominations for the Ohio Natural Resources Hall of Fame

Nominations are now being accepted for the Ohio Natural Resources Hall of Fame through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

For more than 50 years, the Ohio Natural Resources Hall of Fame has been the state’s top honor for individuals who have improved the quality of life in Ohio through natural resources management, environmental education or scientific achievement.

Selection criteria and a nomination form are available at ohiodnr.gov/HallOfFame. Online nomination forms must be submitted no later than Tuesday, Sept. 5. The online form may also be printed and mailed to ODNR Communications, 2045 Morse Road, Building D-3, Columbus, Ohio 43229. Printed forms must be received no later than Sept. 5.

Created in 1966, the Ohio Natural Resources Hall of Fame has proudly honored 160 individuals to date, including John Chapman (Johnny Appleseed); explorer John Wesley Powell; conservationist and Pulitzer-prize winning novelist Louis Bromfield; pioneering botanist Lucy Braun; and farming conservation advocate Bob Evans.

Award presentations will be made this fall with a date and location to be announced.

Ohio’s Outdoor Recreation Survey Results Available

COLUMBUS, OH – Earlier this year, Ohio residents were asked to share their experiences and opinions regarding their favorite outdoor recreation activities on public lands, such as local and state parks, nature preserves, wildlife and forestry areas and federal lands. They were also asked specifically about their level of participation and any new or expanded facilities they would like to see in Ohio.

Feedback from the public survey helps park districts, local communities and nature preserve, wildlife and forestry managers understand outdoor recreation trends in Ohio and set priorities for funding and improvements.

Ohio University’s (OU) Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs final report for the 2018 Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) public survey is now available at parks.ohiodnr.gov/research. OU analyzed 5,059 completed surveys from respondents from all of Ohio’s 88 counties. The report provides some interesting insight into the desires of Ohioan’s recreationalists, such as the facilities that respondents want more of and the top five outdoor recreational pursuits. The survey and the SCORP are funded with assistance from the National Park Service, and the full SCORP report will be available in 2018.

Survey results include:

  • Eighty-two percent of survey respondents stated that recreational facilities are very important to the enjoyment of outdoor activities in Ohio.
  • The main reasons for engaging in outdoor recreation on public lands is for fun and entertainment; sharing time with family and friends and experiencing nature; quiet time and serenity.
  • Ohioans participating in wildlife activities favored wildlife viewing; nature photography and bird watching; with 47 percent stating they did so to experience nature, quiet time and serenity.
  • Camping responses indicated tent and pop-up campers were more popular than other types of camping vehicles with more than 46 percent responding they enjoyed camping to share time with family and friends.
  • All forms of trail activities received high responses, with nearly 51 percent of respondents stating they participated for health, wellness and fitness. The top trail-related activities are walking and hiking on various trail surfaces (natural, stone and paved).
  • Canoeing and kayaking are the most frequent boating activities.
  • Ohioans prioritized which outdoor recreation facilities they would like to have more of in Ohio. The top ranked facilities focused on trails (natural surface, paved and water); wildlife viewing and birding areas; and undeveloped campgrounds.

The survey results will be included in the five-year SCORP, which provides information on recreation trends. The SCORP informs the grant application scoring process among worthy projects proposed by public outdoor recreation providers, such as park districts, cities, counties, villages and townships around the state.

More information on the survey and the 2018 SCORP project is available at parks.ohiodnr.gov/research.

ODNR in Discussions with AEP for Potential Expansion of Outdoor Recreation Opportunities

Memorandum of understanding kicks off negotiations for the state to purchase a major portion of AEP ReCreation Land property in eastern Ohio

Taking an important first step toward what could become the most significant expansion of public recreation opportunities in the state’s recent history, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) has signed a memorandum of understanding with American Electric Power (AEP) by which the parties will negotiate for the state to purchase a major portion of AEP’s 60,000-acre ReCreation Land property in eastern Ohio.

ODNR Director James Zehringer and AEP Vice President Jim Henry announced ODNR’s interest in purchasing a large swath of AEP ReCreation Land to be used by the state for a wide range of outdoor recreational activities, including hunting and fishing.

Praising the agreement, Governor John R. Kasich said, “An opportunity to acquire and protect such a large, open expanse of land for public recreation is rare. Ohioans and out-of-state visitors who are drawn to our great state parks, forests, nature preserves and wildlife areas will potentially have even greater opportunities to explore and enjoy the outdoors.”

Director Zehringer emphasized that acquisitions would likely be made in separate parcels over a number of years, and much work remains to be done before the first purchase is negotiated and complete.

“ODNR will now work with AEP to finalize titling and obtain the necessary appraisals, but today’s agreement is a positive step toward preserving this invaluable recreational resource,” Zehringer said. “Our department and AEP have worked in a longstanding partnership to promote public access to AEP ReCreation Land, now we continue as partners to ensure these unmatched outdoor recreation opportunities are preserved for generations of Ohioans to come.”

AEP ReCreation Land spans a total of 60,000 acres in Guernsey, Morgan, Muskingum and Noble counties, which is all company-owned property that in the past had been surface mined for coal. In recent years, AEP reclaimed the land and opened it to public access for camping and other outdoor recreation.

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Staff Reports

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.