Month: April 2010

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Have You Registered your Ohio APV Yet? Are you Covered?

ATV's Mudding at Croom OHV
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Columbus, Ohio – Ohioans who plan on spending the warm weather months riding an All Purpose Vehicle (APV) should be aware that recent changes to Ohio law now require certain APV’s to be registered with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV). If you own one of these vehicles that needs to be registered, your insurance coverage, particularly the liability coverage provided by your homeowners insurance policy, could be affected, said Ohio Department of Insurance Director Mary Jo Hudson.

A standard homeowner’s policy does provide liability coverage for certain motor vehicles under specific, limited circumstances. However, the liability coverage in the homeowner’s policy that may have applied to your APV may no longer exist due to the change in Ohio law that now requires the APV to be registered.

In order to determine if your homeowner’s policy’s liability coverage is still providing insurance protection when operating your APV, Director Hudson makes the follow recommendations:

  • Contact the BMV to determine if the APV you own is required to be registered. The BMV’s website ishttp://bmv.ohio.gov/
  • If the answer is yes, check with your insurance agent to see if the liability coverage of your homeowner’s policy still applies to your APV. Discuss with your insurance agent all the insurance options available to you.
  • Regardless of whether or not your APV is required to be registered, talk with your agent to determine the insurance coverage you would need or want for your APV. Options include:
    • Adding an endorsement to an auto insurance policy. A typical auto insurance policy does not provide liability or physical damage coverage for the operation of an APV. However, you may be able to add an endorsement to your auto insurance policy to provide both liability and physical damage coverage for the APV.
    • Purchasing a recreational vehicle policy. These policies can provide extensive liability and physical damage coverage, for not only the APV but also for the trailer that is used to transport it. Your insurance agent should be able to provide multiple options to suit your insurance needs.
    • Purchasing an umbrella policy. These policies can provide additional liability protection. Ohioans who already have an umbrella policy should let their insurance agent know that they have an APV, as it could affect their coverage.

It is important to note that if an APV owner were to cause an accident and did not have insurance, they could potentially face legal action and significant long-term debt. The owner could end up paying for one accident for the rest of their life. The Department strongly encourages consumers to talk with their insurance agent to discuss the risks of operating any APV without insurance and the insurance options that are available.

For additional information about this and other types of insurance coverage, please visit the Department’s website,www.insurance.ohio.gov or call the Department’s Consumer Service’s hotline at 1-800-686-1526.

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Springtime Safety Alert: Leave that Cute and Cuddly Critter Alone

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HARRISBURG – Whether hiking in the woods, driving through the countryside or simply enjoying nature in your backyard, Pennsylvania Game Commission officials encourage outdoor enthusiasts to leave wildlife alone, and in the wild, especially young of the year.
“Being outdoors in the spring is an enjoyable way to spend time and learn more about nature,” said Calvin W. DuBrock, Game Commission Bureau of Wildlife Management director. “In the coming months, it will become common to find young deer, rabbits, birds, raccoons or other wildlife, some of which may appear to be abandoned. Rest assured that in most cases, the young animal is not an orphan or abandoned and the best thing you can do is to leave it alone.”

Meet The Parents?

DuBrock noted adult animals often leave their young while the adults forage for food. Also, wildlife often relies on a natural defensive tactic called the “hider strategy,” where young animals will remain motionless and “hide” in surrounding cover while adults draw the attention of potential predators or other intruders away from their young.

“While it may appear as if the adults are abandoning their young, in reality, this is just the animal using its natural instincts to protect its young,” DuBrock said. “Nature also protects young animals with camouflaging color to avoid being detected by predators.

No, We Cannot Keep It

“Wild animals are not meant to be pets, and we must all resist our well-meaning and well-intentioned urge to want to care for wildlife. Taking wildlife from its natural settings and into your home may expose or transmit wildlife diseases to people or domestic animals. Wildlife also may carry parasites – such as fleas, ticks or lice – that you wouldn’t want infesting you, your family, your home or your pets.”
DuBrock noted that, each year, people ignore this advice by taking wildlife into their homes and then are urged to undergo treatment for possible exposure to various wildlife-borne diseases, such as rabies.
“In nearly all cases, people’s well-meaning and well-intentioned actions still require that the animal be put down in the interest of public health,” he said. “Unfortunately, pop-culture has instilled in people a certain stereotype of what a rabid animal looks like. And, while some animals will act vicious and even foam at the mouth, many times an infected animal will be quiet and still, or simply appear uncoordinated or unafraid. Handling these animals can result in exposure to rabies and require that someone undergo treatment as a precaution, especially if the animal can’t be captured for testing.”
In addition to protecting public health, Game Commission Bureau of Wildlife Protection Director Rich Palmer said that the agency also is concerned with wildlife implications from humans handling wildlife.

Humans Can Be Habit Forming

“Habituating wildlife to humans is a serious concern, because if wildlife loses its natural fear of humans it can pose a public safety risk,” Palmer said. “For example, a few years ago, a yearling, six-point buck attacked and severely injured two people. Our investigation revealed that a neighboring family had illegally taken the deer into their home and fed it as a fawn. This family continued to feed the deer right up until the time of the attack.
“This particular incident was the subject of numerous news stories around the state, and serves as a fitting example of the possible consequences that can stem from feeding or simply getting too close to wildlife.”
In addition, Palmer noted that it is illegal to take or possess wildlife from the wild. Under state law, the penalty for such a violation is a fine of up to $1,500 per animal.

“Under no circumstances will anyone who illegally takes wildlife into captivity be allowed to keep that animal,” Palmer said. “While residents love to view wildlife and are very compassionate, they must enjoy wildlife from a distance and allow nature to run its course.”

Rabies

Palmer also pointed out that, under a working agreement with state health officials, any “high risk” rabies vector species confiscated after human contact must be euthanized and tested; it cannot be returned to the wild. Though any mammal may carry rabies, species identified in the agreement are: skunks, raccoons, foxes, bats, coyotes and groundhogs.

“Except for some species of bats, populations of all other rabies vector species are thriving,” Palmer said. “Therefore, to protect public health and safety, it only makes sense to put down an animal for testing, rather than risk relocating a potentially rabid animal, and to answer the question of whether any people were exposed to the rabies virus.”

DuBrock said it is always wise to avoid wild animals and even strange domestic pets because of the potential rabies risk.

“Animals infected with rabies may not show obvious symptoms, but still may be able to transmit the disease,” DuBrock.

People can get rabies from the saliva of a rabid animal if they are bitten or scratched, or if the saliva gets into the person’s eyes, mouth or a fresh wound. The last human rabies fatality in Pennsylvania was a 12‑year‑old Lycoming County boy who died in 1984

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Eagles in Pittsburgh: On the River at the Point

Jamie On the River
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PITTSBURGH – Steeler Country is now home to the Eagles! No, not the cross-Commonwealth rival Philadelphia Eagles; a pair of American bald eagles.

“While bald eagles are not an uncommon sight as they hunt for fish in the Three Rivers area of Pittsburgh, this is the first confirmed nesting pair of bald eagles in Allegheny County,” said Gary Fujak, Game Commission Wildlife Conservation Officer for western Allegheny County. “The nest is in Crescent Township, but – in order to protect the nest from disturbances – we are not going to disclose the exact location, and we are working with the landowner to keep the area secure.”

The Game Commission annually monitors bald eagle nests – both existing and new – to measure nesting population trends and nesting success. Monitoring helps the agency to continue to follow bald eagle’s recovery and let’s biologists know immediately if problems are occurring, both locally and statewide. Wildlife Conservation Officers protect nests and work with landowners to ensure the safety of bald eagles and their future success. When discovered, new nest sites are protected and reproduction is monitored.

Matt Hough, Game Commission Southwest Region Director, noted that this marks the third new nest in the region.

“We encourage anyone who believes he or she saw a bald eagle nest to notify the Southwest Region Office,” Hough said. “In addition, we encourage wildlife viewers to enjoy viewing eagle nests from a distance to eliminate possible disturbances.

“Please remember that bald eagles receive federal protection under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which safeguard the birds and their nests from disturbances and destruction, and such acts carry heavy fines and penalties.”

The Game Commission’s management plan for bald eagles calls for more public education about eagles. An informed public guided by good “eagle etiquette” will be the best advocate for a continued bald eagle recovery and the best chance that any Pennsylvanian can see a bald eagle near his or her home in the future.

When the Game Commission announced its 2009 bald eagle nesting tally last June, there were at least 170 known nests in 48 counties; by the end of the year, the number increased to 174 known nests. In 2008, Game Commission biologists estimated Pennsylvania had 140 known nests in 47 counties. The final nest count turned out to be 156.

As recently as 1983, there were only three eagle nests remaining in Pennsylvania. That year, the Game Commission began a seven-year bald eagle restoration program in which the agency sent employees to Saskatchewan to obtain eaglets from wilderness nests. The Richard King Mellon Foundation of Pittsburgh and the federal Endangered Species Fund provided financial assistance for this effort. In all, 88 bald eaglets from Canada were released from sites at Dauphin County’s Haldeman Island and Pike County’s Shohola Falls.

Since 1983, Pennsylvania’s eagle nests have produced more than 1,200 eaglets, and the population has increased by about 15 percent annually. But, while this growth and expansion are to be celebrated, there has been some “crowding” reported in some areas.

“There’s still plenty of new or sparsely-used territory for nesting pairs in the Commonwealth,” said Doug Gross, Game Commission biologist. “Some of the best remaining eagle nesting habitat includes the Susquehanna’s north and west branches, the Monongahela River, the Youghiogheny River and the Lake Erie shoreline. There also are many large lakes and impoundments scattered across the state with more than adequate fisheries and no eagles.”

While the Game Commission currently classifies the bald eagle as a threatened species in Pennsylvania, they were removed from the federal Endangered Species Act by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in 2007, because delisting goals had been achieved.

For more information on bald eagles in Pennsylvania, visit the Game Commission’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us), click on “Wildlife,” choose “Endangered Species,” then select “Bald Eagle” in the list of “Threatened Species.”

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Bestselling Inflatable Kayaks

Regular readers Know I love my Little Coleman Inflatable Kayaks. So here’s a quick list of Amazon’s Bestselling Kayaks.

For more information on Kayaking Northeast Ohio.

And, as always, support our site by visiting the Amazon affiliate store for all your outdoor gear.

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Almost 600 Ohio Student Archers to Compete in National NASP Tournament

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COLUMBUS, OH – Five hundred ninety-one Ohio elementary, middle and high school students, from 30 schools, will participate in the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) Championships, May 7-8, in Louisville, Kentucky.

Approximately 7,125 students from 34 states will compete, making it the largest archery tournament in the world. Registration for the 2010 National Tournament is up 42 percent from 2009. Ohio is second only to Kentucky in the number of students participating in the national competition.

“Ohio will be well represented at the national tournament,” said Kevin Dixon, shooting sports coordinator for the Division of Wildlife. “Of the 34 Ohio teams that qualified to move on, 27 have committed to participating.”

School teams and individuals earn the right to participate in the national event by winning their division or by achieving a minimum qualifying score in their respective state competitions.  This year, Ohio had 1,034 students participate in the state tournament on March 5 in Columbus.

Kentucky originated the NASP in 2002. Ohio has participated in the program since 2004. Currently, 402 Ohio schools have teachers trained to introduce students to target archery as a part of their physical education curriculum.  NASP is in 47 states, Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR web site at www.ohiodnr.com.

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Ohio Spring Turkey Season Harvest So Far: Ashtabula Leads

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COLUMBUS, OH – Ohio hunters killed 11,152 wild turkeys in the first seven days of the spring hunting season, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. Last year, 9,054 birds were harvested during the season’s first week.

So far this season, the counties reporting the highest numbers of turkeys checked are: Ashtabula-397, Clermont-378, Adams-354, Guernsey-318, Highland-316, Harrison-315, Monroe-311, Coshocton-296, Washington-293, Athens and Ross-291.

The season remains open through May 16.  Spring wild turkey hunters may hunt in all 88 counties (except at the Lake La Su An Wildlife Area inWilliams County). Turkey hunting is permitted a half-hour before sunrise until noon daily. Hunters may take two bearded turkeys per spring season. Shotguns using shot, crossbows and longbows are legal during this season. A spring turkey permit is required, along with an Ohio hunting license.

Turkey hunters are reminded that licenses purchased now are also valid during the 2010 fall hunting season. Spring turkey permits are good for spring season only.  Those participating in the fall turkey season will need to buy a fall turkey permit. Licenses are not printed on weatherproof paper.  Sportsmen and women should protect their licenses and permits from the elements by carrying them in a protective pouch or wallet.

For more information about Ohio’s spring wild turkey hunting season, visit wildohio.com.
The Department of Natural Resources ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR web site at www.ohiodnr.com.

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Public Meetic: Vermilion River Proposed SceniC River Designation

Vermilion River
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COLUMBUS – The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Watercraft invites the public to attend a special Open House community meeting to share information on a proposed designation of a portion of the Vermilion River as an Ohio State Scenic River. The first in a series of open houses will be held on Wednesday, May 5 from 7-9 p.m. at the Vermilion-on-the-Lake Community Center Clubhouse, located at 3780 Edgewater Boulevard in Vermilion.

Topics to be covered include landowner property rights, provisions of the state scenic rivers law, results of an ODNR scenic river designation study, resolutions of support and benefits of scenic river designation. Staff from the Division of Watercraft, which manages the Ohio Scenic Rivers Program, will be on-hand to answer questions and share information about the program.

The Division of Watercraft plans to hold additional open houses to address interests associated with various sections of the Vermilion River included in the proposed scenic river designation.

Additionally, ODNR will continue to accept written comments from the public on the proposed scenic river designation of the Vermilion River in Erie and Lorain and counties. Written comments may be sent to: Chief, ODNR Division of Watercraft, 2045 Morse Rd., Building A-3, Columbus, OH 43229 or by email at:  watercraft@dnr.state.oh.us

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR Web site at www.ohiodnr.com.

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Volunteers needed for Coastweeks

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TOLEDO, OHIO—Ohioans are invited to celebrate the natural diversity of Lake Erie’s coastal region by planning a local coastal cleanup event to coincide with Ohio Coastweeks in September, according to the Ohio Lake Erie Commission.

Environmental organizations, schools, scouts, community groups and individuals throughout Ohio’s Lake Erie watershed are encouraged to organize local litter collection events along beaches and streams. Participants will receive cleanup planning assistance and materials.

This year’s event marks the 25th anniversary of the International Coastal Cleanup Day on September 25. The Ohio Lake Erie Commission (OLEC) coordinates the state’s observance, which gives Ohioans a chance to help keep the state’s beaches and streams healthy and safe.

“Ohioans who participate in Coastweeks will positively impact their natural surroundings while improving the quality of life for all of us,” said Ed Hammett, executive director of the Ohio Lake Erie Commission. “Taking part in a Coastweeks cleanup is a great way to give back locally.”

In addition to litter collection, Coastweeks volunteers are instrumental in charting the progress of local events. Last year during Ohio Coastweeks, more than 65 miles of shoreline was cleaned and 15,154 pounds of trash was removed. Fast food wrappers, beverage cans and plastic bags are just a few of the commonly found items.

Interested organizations are encouraged to sign up by July 6. To learn more about 2010 Ohio Coastweeks, visit http://lakeerie.ohio.gov/ or call (419) 245-2514. The OLEC will provide the tools needed to promote an organization’s Coastweeks events.

The Ohio Lake Erie Commission was established in 1990 for the purpose of preserving Lake Erie’s natural resources, protecting the quality of its waters and ecosystem, and promoting economic development in the region. The director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources serves as the commission’s chair. Additional members include the directors of the state departments of Transportation, Health, Development, Agriculture and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

The commission oversees the Ohio Lake Erie Protection Fund, a grant fund which promotes environmental protection and economic development in the Lake Erie watershed. This fund is supported by Ohioans each time they purchase a Lake Erie license plate displaying either the Marblehead Lighthouse or the Toledo Harbor Lighthouse, designed by Ohio artist Ben Richmond.

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West Branch, Lake Milton Among Six Ohio Parks to Earn "Excellent" Rating

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COLUMBUS, OH – Six Ohio State Parks and one State Nature Preserve have received Service Excellence Awards, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). The awards are based on customer feedback, including customer satisfaction surveys, and are given annually to individual parks in recognition of outstanding facilities, helpful staff and friendly volunteers.

Best Day Use: Lake Milton State Park

Lake Milton State Park in Mahoning County was ranked by visitors as the best day-use park in the state park system.  Lake Milton’s well-maintained picnic facilities are a perennial favorite with state park users.  The park’s lakeside trails, pleasant beach with basketball and sand volleyball courts, and the new Nature & Arts stage for park and community programs also contributed to the enthusiastic customer reviews.
Jackson Lake State Park in Jackson County was visitors’ top choice among state parks with campgrounds offering fewer than 100 campsites.  The peaceful park has 34 roomy campsites with 50-amp electrical hookups.  Recent improvements include a new campground amphitheater which hosts local entertainers and community events as well as park programs.  Volunteer groups including the FRIENDS of Jackson Lake group, which spearheaded the amphitheater project, are active in the park and provide a number of valuable services.  Volunteer camper hosts make campers feel welcome, and local groups and businesses join the FRIENDS in maintaining trails and cleaning up litter, keeping the lake free of nuisance weeds, and planting flowers to beautify the park.  The campground flanks the serene 107-acre lake, which is ideal for paddling, fishing and swimming.

The highest ranked state park campground offering more than 100 campsites, but fewer than 200, is at Harrison Lake State Park in Fulton County.  Campers continue to enjoy positive experiences in the well-maintained campground that offers 140 sites with 50-amp electrical hookups, plus 24 non-electric sites.  Creature comforts include hot showers, flush restrooms, laundry facilities and a well-stocked camp store.  A campers’ beach and boat launch are handy for campers who want to cool off or fish in the 105-acre lake.  Bike rentals, volleyball and basketball courts, and horseshoe pits provide more for camping families to do.  Volunteer camper hosts help provide programs and activities to keep kids happy and busy.  Harrison Lake received the highest overall campground ratings from customers in 2007.

Best Large Campground: West Branch State Park

Campers are still delighted with the renovations to West Branch State Park‘s campground, which was ranked as the top state park campground with more than 200 campsites. Located in Portage County, the facility offers many amenities campers love including 155 sites with 50-amp electric hook-up, 29 full service sites, heated showers, flush toilets and laundry facilities. Several lakeside sites along with a boat launch ramp in the campground appeal to campers who come with boats in tow to enjoy the 2,600-acre, unlimited horsepower lake.  Naturalist programs and the nature center are popular with campers, and the park’s mountain biking, hiking and bridle trails offer opportunities to explore the park.  West Branch also received the highest overall ratings for camping from customers in 2008.

Among park guests who spent the night in an Ohio State Park lodge and conference center, those who stayed in the Mohican State Park lodge in Ashland County gave the most enthusiastic reviews. This top ranked facility combines comfortable accommodations, friendly service and a beautiful outdoor setting. There are 96 air-conditioned rooms, each with a private balcony and color television, and the lodge is equipped with private meeting and banquet rooms, dining room, sauna, gift shop, lounge, and an Olympic-size indoor and outdoor pools.

As for the other eight state parks with lodge and conference centers, park visitors also gave top ratings to Geneva State Park in Ashtabula County. In addition to the luxurious lodge where park visitors can enjoy a delicious meal with a stunning lake view, the park offers a gorgeous Lake Erie beach and popular Lake Erie boating facilities.  The campground has 89 electric sites and four full hook-up sites along with hot showers and flush restrooms.  Twelve lakeside cedar cabins offer all of the comforts of home.  A new multi-use trail links the park facilities, making it easy to walk or pedal from place to place.

Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve in Greene County was selected for recognition by ODNR officials for the preserve manager’s excellent work in providing the right balance between protecting the natural resources and accommodating visitors.  The 268-acre preserve encompasses a 2-mile stretch of the headwaters of the Little Miami State and National Scenic River. The preserve’s streamside trail takes hikers past sparkling waterfalls and interesting rock formations, while the rim trail affords spectacular views of the limestone cliffs.  The area is known for its abundance of wildflowers and unusual cool climate plants.
“Happy visitors are our bread and butter, and visitor feedback is an important tool to help us evaluate what we are doing well, and where we can improve,” said John Hunter, acting chief of Ohio State Parks. “As we gear up for the busy summer season, it’s important to take a moment to celebrate our success in achieving our primary mission.”

Ohio State Parks’ Service Excellence Award winners are determined by surveys completed by park visitors.  More than 9,700 survey cards were returned last year, and nearly 94 percent of those who responded rated their overall visit as excellent or good.  To be eligible for the award, a park must receive at least 100 survey responses.  The awards were presented during the annual Ohio State Parks Managers Conference at Hocking Hills State Park.

More than 53 million visitors enjoyed the natural beauty and quality facilities of Ohio’s state parks last year. The park system is home to nine resort lodges, more than 500 cottages, six golf courses and 56 family campgrounds with more than 9,000 campsites. For additional information, visitwww.ohiostateparks.org.

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Bestselling Bivouac Tents

I’m having a little bit of fun using this plug-in to find products.Right Now I’m working on a couple essential gear lists, and am researching products.

Here’s a listing of Bivouac tents from Amazon. Bivy tents are just small, single person shelters. They should fit nicely into a backpack.

And, As Always, Check out our Outdoor Gear Store for more from amazon.

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