Category: Ohio

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ODNR Wraps Up the Year with Family-Friendly December Activities

COLUMBUS, OH – December is the perfect opportunity to enjoy spending time with family and friends at Ohio State Parks and Ohio State Nature Preserves. As we celebrate the holiday season, we want to encourage visitors to attend events at their favorite state park or state nature preserve.

  • Holiday Trail of Lights at Lake Hope State ParkEnjoy a short walk through the woods lit by the twinkle of holiday lights. This is a free event open to the public every night in December, and the hours are from 4-8 p.m. Lake Hope State Park is located at 27331 State Route 278, McArthur 45651. For more information, call 740-596-4938.
  • Fantasy of Lights at Alum Creek State ParkThe popular annual Fantasy of Lights will be held through Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017. From Sunday through Thursday, the hours are 5:30-9:30 p.m., and on Fridays and Saturdays, the hours are 5:30-10:30 p.m. The price is $20 per car, and the address for the tour of lights is 2911 S. Old State Road, Delaware 43015. The Santa House will offer free hot chocolate and cookies. For more information, call 740-369-2900.
  • Candlelight Holiday Tours at Malabar Farm State ParkTour Louis Bromfield’s Big House all decorated for the holidays. Visitors will also enjoy freshly baked cookies and hot cider. The Candlelight Holiday Tours will be held the first two weekends in December (Dec. 2-4 and Dec. 9-11). Visitors will enjoy the tours from 5-9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and then from 12-5 p.m. on Sundays. The cost is $5 for an adult and $3 per child (ages 2-12). For more information, call 419-892-2784.
  • Holiday Traditions at Caesar Creek State ParkMake holiday decorations and gifts out of natural material. This event will be held on Saturday, Dec. 10, at the nature center, and space and materials are limited. The cost is $15 to participate. Preregistration and prepayment are required for a spot in this workshop. To register, call 513-897-2437. The two time slots available for people to participate are either 10 a.m.-noon or 1-3 p.m. For more information, call 513-897-3055.
  • Christmas in Ash Cave at Hocking Hills State ParkStep away from the hectic holiday season and come bundled for the weather while enjoying a lighted stroll back to Ash Cave. Once visitors arrive at the cave, they can warm up with refreshments by an open fire. Listen to or join with our carolers, have the kids visit with an old fashioned Santa or help to decorate our Christmas tree for wildlife. This event will be held from 5-7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 10. For more information, call 740-385-6842.
  • Winter Bird Hike at Stage’s Pond State Nature PreserveWant to know more about our resident birds during the winter? Participate in a warmup hike prior to the Christmas Bird Count. The public is invited to join preserve staff for a winter birding hike from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 10. Dominated by glacial geology, the 3.5-mile trail system is mostly flat for easy hiking. Hikers should dress appropriately for winter weather. The trail system may have wet areas based on rain or snow melt. Waterproof or water resistant footwear will be more comfortable. Stage’s Pond is located in Pickaway County 5 miles north of Circleville on U.S. Route 23; proceed 1.5 miles east on Hagerty Road to the preserve parking lot and trail system. Meet at the large parking lot in front of the park office. We will feature refreshments after the hike, and hikers are encouraged to bring their favorite hot chocolate cup and spoon to help prevent waste. For more information, call 740-380-8918.
  • Winter Wonderings at Boch Hollow State Nature Preserve Ever wondered how the hundreds of Ohio creatures survive the long winter? Beyond hibernation, Ohio critters have sweet and savvy winter survival tricks. Join Naturalist Lauren Metcalf on Sunday, Dec. 11, from 1-3:30 p.m. for a 2-mile hike. We will find signs of life, both active and dormant. Kids of all ages can do a winter scavenger hunt. Afterward, we will warm up with hot chocolate and a craft for the smaller children. The program will start at the Boch Hollow office at 7211 Bremen Road, about 8 miles north of Logan. There is a limit of 25 participants, and RSVPs are required. People should RSVP to lauren.metcalf@dnr.state.oh.us or by calling 740-380-8918.
  • Ohio Frontier Holiday at Lake Hope State Park Enjoy a day of history on Saturday, Dec. 17, at the Hope Furnace for Frontier Days from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Then visit the Lake Hope Dining Lodge from 4-7 p.m. for horse-drawn wagon rides and for children to meet Santa. For more information, call 740-596-4938.
  • New Year’s Eve Night Hike at Maumee Bay State Park Join us for our second annual New Year’s Eve Night Hike at Maumee Bay State Park Nature Center. Meet at the nature center at 7 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, and the night hike will go until 9 p.m. We will test our night vision on the boardwalk and bring in the New Year naturally. All ages are welcome, make sure to dress for the weather. The address for Maumee Bay State Park is 1400 State Park Road, Oregon 43616. For more information, call 419-836-7758.
  • First Day Hike at Caesar Creek State ParkMeet the park naturalist at the nature center on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017, for a 3-mile guided hike to the park’s new swinging bridge and scenic Horseshoe Falls. Discover wildlife and park history along the way. This event will be held from 1-3 p.m. For more information, call 513-897-3055.

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.

Photo by Mark Spearman


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Ohio State Nature Preserves Highlighted During June Hikes

COLUMBUS, OH – The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is offering several hikes in June to highlight Ohio’s amazing trail system. From the hills of Appalachia, the river gorges of southern Ohio, the prairies of western Ohio and the coastline of Lake Erie, there are more than 1,000 miles of hiking trails to choose from to celebrate National Trails Day on the first Saturday of June and the rest of the month. Enjoy spending time outdoors and getting fit naturally during 2016.

  • Rhino Rush 5K at Portage Lakes State Park The Akron Zoo Chapter of Zoo Keepers is hosting this event on Saturday, June 4, for the conservation of rhinos in Kenya and Indonesia. Participants should meet at the Portage Lakes Shoreline Trail, Pheasant Run, High Point and Latham Lane areas. For more information, contact Matt Mills at 425-457-2982 or email m15mills@gmail.com.
  • 5K Run/Walk in the Park at East Harbor State Park Enjoy the beautiful trail at East Harbor in an event co-sponsored by the Friends of East Harbor State Park and Firelands Area Runners. The event will be hosted on Sunday, June 5, from 8-11 a.m. Applications and more information can be found at firelandsarearunners.org. The cost will be $20 and will benefit the Friends of East Harbor State Park.
  • Shrub Layer Hike at Rhododendron Cove State Nature Preserve Learn more about native and non-native shrubs on Sunday, June 5, from 1-3 p.m. An off-trail component of this hike limits participation to 15 people on an RSVP basis. To register, call Boch Hollow State Nature Preserve at 740-380-8918 or email jim.osborn@dnr.state.oh.us. The terrain is hilly so bring drinking water, and wear sturdy footwear.
  • National Trails Day at Mentor Marsh State Nature Preserve Take part in the long-standing celebration of America’s magnificent trail system and its countless supporters and volunteers on Sunday, June 5, from 2-3:30 p.m. Help spruce up the 2-mile section of the Buckeye Trail. Tools will be provided, but participants wear sturdy footwear, and bring gloves. The event is co-sponsored by the Buckeye Trail Association. Participants can meet at the Nature Center. RSVP by calling 440-257-0777, email rdonaldson@cmnh.org or check out the nature preserve’s Facebook page.
  • Hike at Kent Bog State Nature Preserve This guided hike through Kent Bog State Nature Preserve will be held on Wednesday, June 8, from 3-4 p.m. Hikers should meet at the preserve parking lot. For more information, call 330-527-5118 or emailadam.wohlever@dnr.state.oh.us.
  • Plant Detectives Hike at Mentor Marsh State Nature Preserve Ohioans will enjoy learning how to sharpen their plant identification skills, find out more about Project Budburst and discover out how to track the cycles of plants in their yards on Sunday, June 12, from 2-3:30 p.m. A hike will help participants practice newfound botany skills. Meet at the nature center. RSVP by calling 440-257-0777, email rdonaldson@cmnh.org  or check out the nature preserve’s Facebook page.
  • Showy Lady’s Slipper Hike (Registration Only) at Gott Fen State Nature Preserve Join ODNR staff for a special opportunity to view the state-threatened lady’s slipper orchids on Saturday, June 18, from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Space is limited and only available to the first 15 registrants. To register, contact Adam Wohlever at 330-527-5118.
  • Play in Nature Hike at Mentor Marsh State Nature Preserve Venture off trail and engage in spontaneous, hands-on exploration on Sunday, June 19, from 2-3:30 p.m. Meet at the nature center. RSVP by calling 440-257-0777, email rdonaldson@cmnh.org or check out the nature preserve’s Facebook page.
  • Butterfly Count at Shawnee State Park Gaze upon these winged beauties on Sunday, June 26, from 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Meet at the lodge parking lot for the North American Butterfly Association’s 24th annual count.

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.


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Wildlife Watchers Asked to Report Turkeys, Wild Grouse

COLUMBUS, OH – The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is asking the public to participate in surveying wild turkeys and ruffed grouse by reporting sightings of these two species.

Every year, the ODNR Division of Wildlife conducts a turkey and grouse brood survey to estimate population growth. The brood survey relies on the public to report observations of all wild turkeys and ruffed grouse seen during May, June, July and August. Wildlife watchers and hunters can report observations at the Turkey Brood Survey page at wildohio.gov.

Information submitted to the brood survey helps to predict future population changes and helps guide the state’s hunting regulations. More than 7,900 turkeys were reported during the 2015 survey, with an average of 1.82 young turkeys (poults) per adult hen turkey. This average was lower than the long-term average of 2.5 poults per adult hen.

State and county information is available from past wild turkey or ruffed grouse observations online under the Forest Species Overview page at wildohio.gov. Biologists began tracking summer observations of wild turkeys in 1962. Ruffed grouse were added to the survey in 1999.

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.

Photo by Bobolink


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Trout Fishing Opportunities Await Anglers at Castalia State Fish Hatchery

Annual Castalia Lottery Post

Applications may be submitted March 1-31

COLUMBUS, OH – Controlled trout-fishing opportunities on Cold Creek, one of Ohio’s unique streams, await fishing enthusiasts who enter a special lottery conducted by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). A half-mile section of the creek, located at the ODNR Division of Wildlife’s Castalia State Fish Hatchery in Erie County, will be open to a limited number of anglers on selected dates from May 2–Nov. 30. Anglers interested in fishing the stream must submit an application form and a nonrefundable $3 application fee between March 1–31 for the random drawing. Applications may be completed online at wildohio.gov or by calling 800-WILDLIFE to obtain an application form. Only one application is allowed per person. Application information can be obtained from the ODNR Division of Wildlife at wildohio.gov or by calling 800-WILDLIFE.

The adult fishing season will run May 2–Nov. 30, and a youth season will run June 13–Aug. 12. Applicants of the youth lottery must be under the age of 16 when they apply.

Approximately 90 adult and 90 youth permits will be issued. Individuals selected to participate will be allowed to bring two adults and three youths under the age of 16 (no more than six people total). Participation is determined by a computer-generated random drawing, which will be held in early April. The results of the adult drawing will be posted on the division’s website at wildohio.gov. Successful youth applicants will be notified by mail of their fishing dates. Applicants not chosen will not be notified.

Special fishing rules will be in effect to ensure that a quality fishing experience is maintained throughout the season. One of these special rules prohibits catch-and-release fishing, with wildlife officials requiring that anglers keep all fish they catch. The daily bag limit will be five trout per angler.

Anglers will be required to check in at the hatchery upon arrival and check out at the end of their session. Fishing sessions will be open from 7 a.m.–12 p.m. for adult events. For the youth events, there will be two sessions per day, 7–11 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m. All anglers age 16 and older will need a valid 2016 Ohio fishing license.

An Ohio resident annual fishing license costs $19; a one-day fishing license costs $11. Those who purchase a one-day fishing license may later return it to a license agent to receive credit toward the purchase of an annual fishing license.

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.


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Ohio State Parks Host Statewide Job Fair

COLUMBUS, OHIO Looking for seasonal employment and love working outdoors? Attend one of two job fairs being held at multiple sites across the state by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) on Saturday, Feb. 13, and Saturday, Feb. 20, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Interested applicants will be given information on vacancies and how to apply for seasonal positions at each job fair for state park and watercraft job openings. Additionally, staff will be available to answer questions and provide information. Most positions require a valid driver’s license and ability to work weekend hours, as needed.

Job Fair Locations

Northwest Ohio

Feb. 13, 20 – Maumee Bay State Park Lodge
1750 State Park Road #2
Oregon, Ohio 43616

Northeast Ohio

Feb. 13, 20 – Wingfoot Lake State Park Office
993 Goodyear Park Blvd.
Mogadore, Ohio 44260

Central Ohio

Feb. 13 – Alum Creek State Watercraft/Park Office
3305 S. Old State Road
Delaware, OH 43015

Feb. 13, 20– ODNR Columbus Headquarters
2045 Morse Road
Columbus, Ohio 43229

Feb. 20Hocking Hills State Park Dining Lodge
20020 State Route 664 S.
Logan, Ohio 43138

Southwest Ohio

Feb. 13Caesar Creek State Park Office
8570 E State Route 73
Waynesville, Ohio 45068-9719

Feb. 20East Fork State Park Office
3294 Elklick Road
Bethel, Ohio 45106

Southeast Ohio

Feb. 13Salt Fork State Park Golf Course Pro Shop
14755 Cadiz Road
Lore City, Ohio 43755

Feb. 20 – Shawnee State Park Lodge
4404B State Route 125
West Portsmouth, Ohio 45663

Available positions include natural resource specialists, lifeguards and naturalist aides. Duties for natural resource specialists include general cleaning, boat ramp and building maintenance, minor repair work, as well as landscape and trail maintenance. Applicants interested in applying for a life guard position must show proof of lifeguard training and cardio-pulmonary resuscitation certification.

Naturalist aides will be responsible for developing nature interpretive and educational programming for park visitors. Qualified applicants must have a combination of biology, botany, zoology and outdoor recreation work experience or college credits.

For more information regarding the ODNR Job Fairs, call 614-265-6561.

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.

Photo by Seluryar


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Protecting Northeast Ohio's Wetlands

KENT, OH – Ohio State Nature Preserves are beautiful natural areas where many of the state’s endangered species are thriving and rare geologic features are protected, thanks to the generosity of Ohioans who have donated a portion of their state tax refunds to the State Nature Preserves Fund.

Donations to this fund protect the best of Ohio’s natural areas, including bogs and fens, prairies, old growth forests and rare geologic formations. The fund supports new land purchases, educational opportunities and scientific research. Tax refund donations are also critical for enabling preserve managers to battle invasive plant species threatening native habitats.

Across the state, 136 state nature preserves, totaling 30,000 acres, are open year-round for the enjoyment and benefit of all Ohioans. In northeast Ohio, donations help preserve Ohio’s remaining bogs and fens, which are rare and unique wetlands. The Cooperrider-Kent Bog State Nature Preserve, located outside of Kent in Portage County, is an excellent example of how tax refund donations can benefit Ohio’s natural areas.

In 1985, Cooperrider-Kent Bog was the first state nature preserve to be purchased with funds donated by the citizens of Ohio through the State Nature Preserves tax refund donation program. Since then, tax refund donations have helped to fund the installation of a half-mile boardwalk trail, parking area, interpretive signage and a new entrance sign for the preserve.

The preserve is a living relict formed during the most recent glacial period ending some 12,000 to 16,000 years ago. During the glacier’s retreat northward, a huge block of ice likely broke free from the main glacier and came to rest at the preserve site. The ice block eventually melted, forming a deep kettle-hole lake about 50 acres in size.

As the climate warmed, plants more common to northern Canada colonized the lake shoreline, encroaching upon the open waters, and a lush carpet of sphagnum moss blanketed the lake, forming a lovely bog meadow.

Cooperrider-Kent Bog supports one of the largest southernmost stands of tamarack (Larix laricina) in the continental United States. This tree was important to Native Americans who used the roots to make both cordage, which was used to sew plates of birch bark to canoes, and medicinal tea. It is also unusual in that, unlike most conifers, it is deciduous; its needles turn bright yellow before dropping in mid-November.

In addition, Cooperrider-Kent Bog protects many other important boreal species, including the state-threatened small cranberry, tawny cotton-grass and few-seeded sedge.

Visiting the Cooperrider-Kent Bog State Nature Preserve is easier to access and enjoy because of Ohioans’ donations to the State Nature Preserve Fund. It’s easy to become a partner in future preservation projects at Ohio’s state nature preserves.

Ohioans can donate all or a part of their state income tax refund by making a contribution on line 26c of the 2015 Universal IT 1040 Income Tax Return. To learn more about becoming a partner in preservation or visiting any of Ohio’s 136 state nature preserves, visit naturepreserves.ohiodnr.gov.

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.


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Protecting Northwest Ohio's Unique Wetlands

MONCLOVA, OH – Ohio State Nature Preserves are beautiful natural areas where many of the state’s endangered species are thriving and rare geologic features are protected, thanks to the generosity of Ohioans who have donated a portion of their state tax refunds to the State Nature Preserves Fund.

Donations to this fund protect the best of Ohio’s natural areas, including bogs and fens, prairies, old growth forests and rare geologic formations. The fund supports new land purchases, educational opportunities and scientific research. Tax refund donations are also critical for enabling preserve managers to battle invasive plant species threatening native habitats.

Across the state, 136 state nature preserves, totaling 30,000 acres, are open year-round for the enjoyment and benefit of all Ohioans. In northwest Ohio, donations help preserve one of the rarest and most significant natural areas in the Midwest—the Oak Openings Region, which is a 130-square-mile region featuring a landscape of wet prairies, oak savannas and sand barrens that developed on sand and clay deposited by glacial Lake Warren, the ancient predecessor of present day Lake Erie.

Louis W. Campbell State Nature Preserve, a rare and beautiful example of this region, preserves a variety of rare habitats including wet prairie and sedge meadows, swamp forest, sand barrens and oak savannas. The site protects more than 40 state-listed rare species. Located 10 miles west of Toledo in Lucas County, it is an excellent example of how tax refund donations can benefit Ohio’s natural areas.

A newly constructed observation deck overlooking the marsh offers visitors a chance to glimpse native waterfowl and the vibrant wetland sedge meadow. This and other amenities including the parking area, interpretive signage and 2.3 miles of trail were made possible by donations to the State Nature Preserves Fund.

In recent years, donations have also supported ongoing restoration and invasive species management at the preserve. Removing non-native plants and using prescribed burns allow the native plant community to thrive, while re-establishing the globally rare habitats. This, in turn, benefits endangered wildlife, including the frosted elfin and silver-bordered fritillary butterflies, which thrive at Louis W. Campbell State Nature Preserve.

Lovely in any season, the preserve is especially beautiful in late-spring. Rare plant communities thrive, providing a parade of colors for visitors, including the blaze of purples from wild lupine as well as the pinks, purples and yellows from plains puccoon, grass-pink orchid, spathulate-leaved sundew, Canada frostweed, blue flag iris and lance-leaved violet.

Visiting the Louis W. Campbell State Nature Preserve is easier to access and enjoy because of Ohioans’ donations to the State Nature Preserve Fund. It’s easy to become a partner in future preservation projects at Ohio’s state nature preserves.

Ohioans can donate all or a part of their state income tax refund by making a contribution on line 26c of the 2015 Universal IT 1040 Income Tax Return. To learn more about becoming a partner in preservation or visiting any of Ohio’s 136 state nature preserves, visit naturepreserves.ohiodnr.gov

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.


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Ohio Spring Turkey Season Begins April 22

English: Eastern Wild Turkey

English: Eastern Wild Turkey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

COLUMBUS, OH – The start of spring ushers in Ohio’s annual wild turkey hunt, and hunters can enjoy the warmer weather in pursuit of this popular game bird. According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), the 2013 Ohio spring hunting season opens Monday, April 22, with the youth wild turkey season opening Saturday and Sunday, April 20-21.

“Ohio has a good population of wild turkeys and offers some great opportunities for a spring hunt,” said ODNR Director James Zehringer. “The wild turkey is a true conservation success story in Ohio, and we hope to continue to build on our turkey hunting tradition.”

The 2012 hatch should produce more jakes (1-year-old male turkeys) this year and will help offset the poor 2011 hatch. However, the woods may be quieter with fewer 2-year-old toms (male turkeys). These turkeys are generally the most vocal gobblers and readily located by hunters.

Hunters harvested 17,657 wild turkeys during the 2012 youth and spring turkey seasons. The total checked in 2011 was 18,162 wild turkeys.

The ODNR Division of Wildlife anticipates as many as 70,000 licensed hunters, not counting exempt landowners hunting on their own property, will enjoy Ohio’s popular spring wild turkey season before it comes to a close on Sunday, May 19. The spring and youth turkey seasons are open statewide with the exception of Lake La Su An Wildlife Area in Williams County, which requires a special hunting permit.

In a new tagging procedure implemented this year, hunters will need to make their own game tag to attach to a wild turkey. Game tags can be made of any material (cardboard, plastic, paper, etc.) as long as it contains the hunter’s name, date, time and county of the kill. Go to the Turkey Hunting Resources page at wildohio.com for more information on changes to the game check process.

All hunters must report their turkey harvest using the automated game check system. Hunters have three options to complete the game check:

Game-check transactions are available online and by telephone seven days a week and during holidays. Landowners exempt from purchasing a turkey permit, and any other person not required to purchase a turkey permit, cannot use the phone-in option.

Hunters are required to have a hunting license and a spring turkey-hunting permit. The spring season bag limit is two bearded turkeys. Hunters can harvest one bearded turkey per day, and a second spring turkey permit can be purchased at any time throughout the spring turkey season. Turkeys must be checked by 11:30 p.m. the day of harvest.

The youth-only turkey hunt is April 20-21 for those possessing a valid youth hunting license and youth turkey permit. Youth hunters must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult, 18 years of age or older.

Legal hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise until noon from April 22-May 5. Hunting hours from May 6-19 will be a half-hour before sunrise to sunset. Legal hunting hours are one half-hour before sunrise to sunset during the two-day youth season.

Hunters may use shotguns, longbows and crossbows to hunt wild turkeys. It is unlawful to hunt turkeys using bait, live decoys or electronic calling devices, or to shoot a wild turkey while it is in a tree. The ODNR Division of Wildlife advises turkey hunters to wear hunter orange clothing when entering, leaving or moving through hunting areas in order to remain visible to others.

Wild turkey breeding activity is primarily controlled by the increasing amount of daylight. Hens typically start incubating eggs around May 1 in Ohio. Ohio’s current wild turkey population is approximately 180,000.

Ohio’s first modern day wild turkey season opened in 1966 in nine counties, and hunters checked 12 birds. The total number of checked turkeys topped 1,000 for the first time in 1984. Turkey hunting was opened statewide in 2000.

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.

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Ohio State Oarks Free Camping April 18th

English: Turtlehead Cave in Strouds Run State Park

English: Turtlehead Cave in Strouds Run State Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

COLUMBUS, OH – Pull out the camping gear, grab the makings for s’mores and leave the wallet at home for a night of free camping with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). The night of free camping will be available at 54 campgrounds within Ohio State Parks on Thursday, April 18.

“I want to encourage Ohioans to start their weekend early by camping at one of our Ohio State Parks campgrounds for free,” said ODNR Director James Zehringer. “This is an excellent opportunity for families to explore new parts of Ohio and find out what is available within our state parks system.”

For this promotion, campers can make a free reservation for a stay that includes the Free Camping Day. To make the reservation, people must call the Ohio State Parks Reservation Call Center at866-644-6727. Customers can also reserve online but will pay the standard reservation fee. Walk-ins are also welcome on April 18, but space is limited.

For more information about Ohio State Parks campground availability, reservations and amenities, go to: http://bit.ly/freecamping.

This promotion will not be available at Jackson Lake State Park or Strouds Run State Park, as these are concession-operated campgrounds.

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

 

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2013 Walleye Migration Underway on Maumee and Sandusky Rivers

 

Daily bag limit is four walleye until April 30

COLUMBUS, OH – The annual appearance of migrating walleye in the Maumee and Sandusky rivers brings fantastic spring fishing opportunities,

according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

An annual phenomenon in northwest Ohio occurs each spring when a portion of Lake Erie’s walleye population moves up the Maumee and Sandusky rivers to spawn. Although the fish caught represent a small portion of all Lake Erie walleye, the run brings hundreds of thousands of fish within casting distance of eager shore anglers.

Sunset on Lake Erie seen through a fishing net.

Walleye spawning normally occurs in these rivers anytime from mid-March through mid-April, but the peak activity usually occurs the first week of April when the water temperatures range from 40 to 50 degrees. Moderately-high water also increases the number of walleye in the rivers, especially if river temperatures are warmer than lake temperatures.

The best fishing areas in the Maumee River are from Orleans Park in Perrysburg upstream to the end of Jerome Road in Lucas County. Sandusky River anglers will find better success from Brady’s Island to Rodger Young Park in the city of Fremont. Fishing is prohibited upstream from Rodger Young Park to the Ballville Dam.

Anglers are reminded the bag limit for Lake Erie and its tributaries is four walleye until April 30. Anglers are also reminded that there is a year-round 15-inch length limit for walleye on Lake Erie and its tributaries to the first dam or designated landmark. Anglers can see the latest on the walleye biteor review the 2013-2014 Ohio Fishing Regulations at wildohio.com.

Fishermen who are wading also need to ensure they are prepared to experience an unexpected cold water immersion and should consider wearing a flotation device as well as fish with a partner. Though most anglers wade in the rivers while walleye fishing, some choose to fish from boats. ODNR advises boat anglers to always properly wear life jackets, take precautions against overloading their boats and capsizing, be well dressed to avoid the onset of hypothermia and be prepared to handle any emergency. Boats should never be anchored off the stern.

Special regulations are in effect for Maumee and Sandusky river walleye fisheries during March and April. Fishing is only allowed between sunrise and sunset in specified areas, and treble hooks are prohibited. Anglers may only use a single hook that is no larger than 1 inch from shank to point. Only fish that are hooked inside the mouth may legally be taken, and any snagged fish must be immediately released.

The sales of fishing licenses, along with the Sport Fish Restoration (SFR) program, continue to fund ODNR Division of Wildlife fish management operations. No state tax dollars are used for these activities. These are user-pay, user-benefit programs.

The SFR is a partnership between federal and state government, industry and anglers/boaters. When anglers purchase rods, reels, fishing tackle, fish finders and motor boat fuel, they pay an excise tax. The federal government collects these taxes, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service administers and disburses these funds to state fish and wildlife agencies. These funds are used to acquire habitat, produce and stock fish, conduct research and surveys, provide aquatic education and acquire and develop boat accesses.

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

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