Category: Boating

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Portage Lake Dam Renovation : Water Level Will Not Be Lowered

A crane with a pile driver.

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COLUMBUS, OH – Work on rehabilitating the Portage Lakes State Park’s West Reservoir will not require the lake level to be lowered, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

The use of a hydraulic pile driver, a relatively new technology, will allow construction to proceed without lowering the lake level ahead of the previously scheduled draw down.  Initially it was thought the lake level would have to be dropped by three feet for the project a month ahead of time.

“Our priority throughout this project was to make sure it was being conducted in the safest manner possible and to protect the lives of people and property around the lake,” said David Payne, chief of Ohio State Parks.  “The use of this new technology will allow us to proceed in a safe manner without inconveniencing the many boaters who enjoy the use of the lake.”

Construction on the project is anticipated to begin in August.  The dam, built in the 1840s, will be reinforced with a sturdy concrete shell that will be covered with soil and replanted with grass to maintain its historic appearance.  The existing spillway will also be replaced with a new concrete spillway and the pedestrian bridge on the crest of the dam will be demolished and replaced with a new bridge.  The project is expected to be completed in August 2012.

This year’s normal fall drawdown will occur in mid-October through mid-November.  After this year, the traditional fall drawdown will occur every other year.

The West Reservoir Dam project is part of an ongoing capital construction improvement program for the Portage Lakes to ensure that the dams and associated structures are safe.  Area residents may notice increased truck traffic along with some noise and dust while construction is underway.  Residents are urged to keep children a safe distance from the construction site and the equipment.

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

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Coldwater Boating Safety Tips: Be Prepared

Boat at the Canal

COLUMBUS, OH – The swamping and capsizing of a small boat resulting in occupants being unexpectedly immersed in frigid water poses a serious threat to boaters and anglers getting out on the water this time of year as water temperatures slowly begin to warm.  The best way to survive a cold water immersion and guard against hypothermia and drowning is to properly wear a life jacket and be dressed for cold water temperatures instead of warmer air temperatures, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Watercraft.

A few things anglers and boaters can do to be prepared for outings on the water is to wear an approved life jacket or inflatable vest.  This keeps a person afloat should they fall off a boat or a boat capsizes.  The second tip is to wear protective clothing, such as synthetics, wool or polypropylene that help reduce the loss of body heat when immersed in cold water.  A third safety tip is to ensure that boats are properly loaded with people and gear before launching on the water to reduce the chance of swamping and capsizing.

More cold water and other boating safety tips are available online at

The Division of Watercraft reports that among 15 fatal boating accidents last year, none of the victims were found to be wearing a life jacket or vest.  In seven of the accidents, life jackets and vest were not aboard the boats as required by state and federal laws.

The ODNR Division of Watercraft administers Ohio’s boating and scenic rivers programs.  The agency oversees watercraft registration and titling operations, provides funding to local communities for education, enforcement and boating access facilities, 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 Web site

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Cold Water Safety for Ohio Hunters and Anglers

U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Official Emblem - S...

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COLUMBUS, OH– The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) has good advice for the thousands of anglers who soon will be wading in and boating upon frigid waterways in hopes of landing a prize catch—dress for the water temperature instead of air temperature.

“Recreational boaters and anglers are among those most at risk of sustaining hypothermia due to a cold water immersion if they are not dressed properly for the water temperature,” said Pamela Dillon, chief of the ODNR Division of Watercraft. “Boating and fishing safety begins with the choices people make before getting on the water; it is critical to take steps to reduce the risks of hypothermia exposure at this time of year.”

Hypothermia is a condition in which body temperature drops below normal due to exposure to cold temperatures and requires medical treatment. Unexpected immersion into cold water can result in drowning and often contributes to hypothermia for those persons who are unprepared for extremely cold water.

People are usually inclined to dress for the air temperature instead of water temperature when enjoying outdoors recreation on or near the water. Generally, the water temperatures of Ohio’s waterways remain bone chilling and are very slow to warm during March, April and early May.

The following are some safety tips to help reduce exposure to the risks of hypothermia while boating and fishing:

  • Dress for the current water temperature and not the air temperature when boating in early spring. Wear layers of protective clothing including neoprene, polypropylene, wool, synthetic fleece and Goretex. Avoid 100 percent cotton and denim garments, such as blue jeans, sweatshirts and flannel shirts. The final layer of protective clothing should always be a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket or vest.
  • Carry a cellphone inside a plastic bag in case an emergency should arise.
  • Avoid alcohol consumption to help prevent the onset of hypothermia symptoms.
  • Avoid capsizing and swamping by ensuring that boats are not overloaded, but are properly loaded and balanced before leaving the launch ramp or dock.
  • Properly and safely anchor a boat from the bow when using a single line.
  • File a float plan with a person of responsibility so that assistance may be requested if boaters are significantly overdue in their return from the water.

Additional information on boating safety tips and education programs may be found online at or by following the Division of Watercraft on Facebookor Twitter. You may also call toll-free (in Ohio only) 1-877-4BOATER.

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

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Portage Lakes Drawdown Oct 18th

COLUMBUS, OH – Lake levels will be dropped at several areas of Portage Lakes State Park beginning October 18 to allow for dock repairs, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.  The water will remain lowered until November 15.

Lakes in the Portage Lakes chain that will be affected by the annual drawdown include East Reservoir, West Reservoir, North Reservoir, Turkeyfoot Lake, Mud Lake and Rex Lake.  The levels of Summit Lake, Nesmith Lake, Long Lake, Nimisila Reservoir, Comet Lake and Camp Y-Noah will not be affected.

While the lakes are lowered, area residents will have the opportunity to make needed repairs to docks and seawalls.  The lake levels will be lowered by 15 inches during the month-long period, then refilled to their normal levels.  The refill process will take approximately seven days, depending on weather conditions.

Portage Lakes State Park consists of eight lakes encompassing 2,034 acres in southern Summit County. Additional park facilities include a campground, picnic areas, nature trails and a public swimming beach as well as a dog park and dog beach.

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

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Draw Down At Lake Milton

COLUMBUS, OH – The lake level at Lake Milton State Park will be dropped in the coming weeks to allow construction of new docks, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). The draw down will begin October 1 and should be complete by December 1.

Draw down is an annual activity at Lake Milton to protect private docks from ice damage, but it will start earlier this year because of construction activities. Lowering the water level will allow for the installation of new docks, which will be located at the north end of the beach area and adjacent to the amphitheater.

The construction of  24 new courtesy docks is scheduled to be complete for the 2011 season. Lake Milton already has 100 docks for seasonal rental; the new docks will be for short-term courtesy use only. The cost of the project is being funded by a $355,000 grant from ODNR’s Division of Watercraft.

Lake Milton is a 2,691-acre state park that, in addition to boating, features a variety of day-use amenities including fishing, hiking and swimming. In the winter months, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling are available. The park’s extensive trail system has been funded and constructed by a community-based volunteer friends group and the new large amphitheater was built by a second non-profit group.

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

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Alum Treatment at Grand Lake St. Mary's

COLUMBUS, OHIO—Alum treatment will begin Thursday, September 23 and be completed by late Friday, September 24 at demonstration areas around Grand Lake St. Marys, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

The alum will be applied in liquid form using a boat-mounted system by Sweetwater Technology of Aitkin, Minn. The demonstration project will be supervised by Tetra Tech, a consultant for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Prior to the treatment, curtains have been erected in six areas including the West Bank Marina, Otterbein channels, Harmons channel, the 4-H camp channel and the West Beach area. Boaters are asked to avoid the curtained areas until November 1 when the demonstration project is expected to be complete.

This week’s demonstration project, which covers about 45 acres, will help determine the effectiveness of alum as a means to inactivate phosphorus in the lake water. The information gathered by this demonstration will be used to determine whether a whole-lake treatment is appropriate, as well as decide the dosing requirements. If effective, it will buy time for longer term projects throughout the watershed and in the lake to permanently improve water quality.

This project is financed in part through a grant from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the United States Environmental Protection Agency, under the provisions of Section 319(h) of the Clean Water Act.

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100 Days Of Summer: Day 41- Apply for Ohio State Park Boat Dock

Sunset, Lake Erie, Cleveland, Ohio Style
Image by RunnerJenny via Flickr

Continuing Cheat Week, as I Try To catch up, Here’s another Summer Deadline Fast Approaching:

COLUMBUS, OH – Boat owners wishing to rent public boat docks at several popular Ohio State Park lakes have until Tuesday, August 31 to enter lottery drawings used to select renters for available docks.

Lottery drawings will be held in September for boat docks at Alum Creek, Buck Creek, Cleveland Lakefront, Deer Creek, Delaware, Lake Milton, Paint Creek and Rocky Fork state parks. Application forms are now available through the individual park offices.

Completed forms may be submitted in person by Tuesday, August 31, or sent by certified mail/return receipt. Only one application per boat is permitted, and must be submitted by the boat owner. Lottery applicants must be able to show current proof of boat ownership or lease at the time of entry. Boats titled to dealerships are not eligible.

The drawings are held on or before the third Saturday in September. Applicants need not be present to win, and the winning lottery applicants will be notified by the park. Persons selected by the 2010 lottery are entitled to renewal privileges for up to five years. Renewals may completed in person or on-line at

Contact the individual park offices for specific details on allowable boat sizes, dock amenities and dock rental fees, as well as other application procedures. In addition to the parks conducting the lotteries, several state parks have seasonal docks available for rent on a first-come first-served basis including Buckeye Lake, Dillon, Mosquito Lake, Salt Fork and West Branch.

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

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100 Days of Summer: Day 39-Cheaper Camping at Grand Lake St. Mary's

Grand Lake St. Marys Lighthouse
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COLUMBUS, OH—In an effort to off-set lost revenues of local businesses and individuals, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is offering deep discounts on camping and shelter house rentals at Grand Lake St. Marys State Park.

Campsite fees and shelter house rentals at Grand Lake St. Marys State Park are being discounted by 50 percent. Discounts will be offered until December 31, 2010. For existing reservations, discounts will be applied at the time of arrival.

“Discounting ODNR services may be unprecedented, but the problem at Grand Lake St Marys is also unprecedented. We are taking the steps we can to attract visitors, and these camping and shelter house discounts are one way to help.” said ODNR Director Sean Logan. “Every dollar spent at the state park by each visitor brings benefits that reach far beyond our own marinas and other facilities.

Reservations for Grand Lake St. Marys may be made by calling toll-free (866) OHIOPARKS (644-6727) or on-line at When making a camping reservation, please select the “Grand Lake Special” from the drop-down menu for discounts. No other discounts will apply to this special discount, which is being offered exclusively at Grand Lake St. Marys State Park.

Grand Lake St. Marys State Park offers a variety of overnight and day-use activities including: 176 electric campsites and 28 non-electric sites; full service camp store; bike rentals; miniature golf; basketball and volleyball courts; playground equipment; dog park; and free WiFi.

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

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100 Days of Summer: Day 35- Run for Your Lives!

This video of a storm front approaching a beach ( Either the UK or Sweden, but not, obviously, both) has been making the rounds on teh internet. Enjoy the awesome majesty of mother nature and gaze in awe at the people who just, umm, stand there and watch it. REalize not everyone is familiar with the concept of tornado watches:

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100 Days of Summer: Day 33- Perry's Memorial

The 352-foot Perry's Victory and International...
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PUT-IN-BAY, OhioPerry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial offers travelers an opportunity to leave life’s stresses behind and learn about  America’s forgotten war—the War of 1812 – in a picturesque island setting.

This week’s National Park Getaway, one in a series of travel articles,  follows one student’s post-exam-week-trip to this national park in northern
Ohio. At Perry’s Victory, one can experience not only relaxation but also  inspiration.  The park, located on South Bass Island, is a grassy oasis in the middle of Lake Erie. The lake often captures the apricot-colored light of dawn at sunrise and transforms itself into a rich blue later in the day. In addition to the peaceful landscape, the park preserves an amazing piece of  architecture—the 352-foot Doric column that, as the name of the park suggests, commemorates two parts of history. Visitors learn of an American victory in a naval battle that took place during the War of 1812—the Battle of Lake Erie. The park also honors the peace that has endured since the 19th century among Great Britain, the United States, and Canada.

Rangers and living history presenters bring the early 1800s to life and introduce visitors to Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, the commander of the American fleet in the Battle of Lake Erie. After the British battered Perry’s flagship, he boarded the US Brig Niagara and captured the entire British fleet.

Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial is the 60th park featured in the Getaway series, which points people to places where they can connect with nature, history, family, and friends. You can read this week’s Getaway and its predecessors by visiting

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