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Holiday Specials at Ohio State Parks

The Lodge at Geneva on the Lake
Image by kuddlyteddybear2004 via Flickr

COLUMBUS, OH – Stressed holiday shoppers looking for great gift ideas or for a relaxing getaway for holiday cheer can turn to Ohio State Parks for convenient shopping solutions and overnight stays.

An Ohio State Parks gift card is an appealing choice for anyone who likes to play outdoors or unwind in comfort.  Gift cards can be redeemed for camping, getaway rentals, cottage rentals or overnight stays in eight of Ohio’s luxurious state park lodges.  They can also be used for golfing at Ohio State Parks’ six public courses, for boat rentals at some state park marinas, or for food and merchandise purchases.

Ohio State Park gift cards, which are available in any denomination of $5 or more, can be purchased on-line from the state parks website, or in person at any state park office, or by calling 1-866-644-6727.

Ohio State Parks merchandise is now available on-line for the convenience of gift givers who prefer to provide a wrapped package.  Specialty apparel, books, toys, outdoor gear and nature themed items are offered through the on-line store at the state parks website, www.ohiostateparks.org.  All profits from the sale of these items benefit Ohio State Parks.

A variety of seasonal promotions and discounted rates on overnight stays are offered through the winter at state park lodges and cottages.  New Year’s Eve celebrations, along with specially priced theme weekends and family friendly packages are scheduled at the lodges at Burr Oak, Deer Creek, Geneva, Hueston Woods, Maumee Bay, Mohican, Punderson, Salt Fork and Shawnee.  Winter discounts at the state park cottages at Buck Creek, Cowan Lake, Dillon, Hocking Hills, Lake Hope, Mohican, Pike Lake and Pymatuning are $20 off the regular nightly rate on Sunday through Thursday nights, and $10 off on Friday and Saturday nights, January through March.  Information and reservations are available on the state parks website.

Customers who stay in Ohio State Park campgrounds or in select state park cottages can also receive extra value through the Ohio State Parks Rewards Card.  When they reserve their campsite or cottage, they can request a Rewards Card and earn points toward a free stay during a future state park visit.  Rewards card holders can also receive 25% off the regular nightly rate for overnight stays at the lodges at Burr Oak, Deer Creek, Hueston Woods, Maumee Bay, Mohican, Punderson, Salt Fork and Shawnee through April 1, 2011, based on availability.

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 website at www.ohiodnr.gov.

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Last Fall Foliage Report and Halloween Events

Kickapoo State Park leafs in fall.
Image via Wikipedia

COLUMBUS, OH – Leaf gazers were blown away this year by the seasonal colors of Ohio’s parks, nature preserves and forests, but windy and stormy conditions are bringing the fall foliage season to a close this week.

Recent rain and winds have been bringing down a lot of leaves across the state over the last week. Most Ohio state parks and forests are reporting that peak fall color is over and leaves are expected to start or continue falling this weekend.

“This year’s fall color season was much different than what we normally expect,” said Casey Burdick, fall foliage expert for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Forestry. “Ohio started with drought stressed trees in mid-September showing early color, then nearly the entire state peaked showing a brilliant display around the second week in October.  Lack of rain and strong wind events have shortened our usual five to six week fall color season.”

Although the leaves are falling, there are still great opportunities to enjoy outdoor fun at Ohio state parks, forests and natural areas. These scenic venues are free and available to all Ohioans and visitors who want to spend some free time hiking, paddling, fishing, golfing or horseback riding. This is a great time to take in the scent of the woods, the crunch of the leaves and the rush from the crisp, fresh air.  And don’t forget the season for three of Ohio’s most popular game species – ring-necked pheasant, cottontail rabbit and bobwhite quail – begins Friday, November 5.

This coming weekend, check out one of the following events at one of your Ohio State Parks…

Halloween CampoutDeer Creek (C) – Oct. 29-31. Hayrides, trick or treat, crafts, games & campsite decorating. (740) 869-3124.

Halloween CampoutDillon (SE) – Oct. 29-30. Costume and campsite decorating contests, pumpkin decorating & trick or treat. (740) 453-4377.

Haunted HockingHocking Hills (SE) – Oct. 29-30 at the Old Man’s Cave campground. Campsite & pumpkin decorating, hayrides, trick or treat & movies. (740) 385-6841.

ROAR DayLake Hope (SE) – Oct. 30, 9 AM-5 PM at the shelterhouse and Hope School. Appalachian crafts, food & entertainment plus Halloween treats. (740) 596-3030.

Hayride & Moonlight TourMalabar Farm (NE) – Oct. 30-31, Noon-8 PM. Continuous 30-minute hayride tours include hot cider and a bonfire. Hayrides are $3/person. Bromfield “Big House” tours are offered at 6 PM and 7 PM at the regular fee. (419) 892-2784.

To find out more about these and other events, visit www.ohiodnr.com. The site will serve as a premier guide to Ohio’s fall color season. Its pages provide information for travelers who want to map a scenic road tripadventurers who are refreshed and energized by the cool autumn weather, vacationers who seek places of solace to enjoy the changing seasons and even the students who need a resource for leaf collection projects. Ohioans and out-of-state visitors can also find information about fall foliage by calling 1-800-BUCKEYE or visiting www.discoverohio.com/autumnadventures.

Ohio’s 74 state parks, 21 state forests and 134 state nature preserves provide excellent locations to view fall foliage. Here are the most current reports from selected locations:

Location Region Color Condition
Alum/Delaware Creek State Parks Central Fading
Beaver Creek/Guilford Lake State Parks East Fading
Blackhand Gorge Nature Preserve Central Fading
Dillon/Blue Rock State Parks East Fading
Buck Creek State Park West Fading
Burr Oak State Park Southeast Fading
Caesar Creek State Park Southwest Fading
Clifton Gorge Nature Preserve West Fading
Deer Creek State Park Central Fading
Harrison Lake State Park/Forest Northwest Fading
Hocking Hills State Park/Forest Southeast Fading
Hueston Woods State Park Southwest Fading
Indian Lake State Park West Peak
John Bryan State Park West Fading
Kent Bog Nature Preserve Northeast Fading
Kiser Lake State Park West Fading
Lake Hope State Park Southeast Fading
Malabar Farm State Park Northeast Fading
Maumee State Park/Forest Northwest Fading
Mohican State Park/Forest Northeast Fading
Mt. Gilead State Park Central Fading
Pike Lake/Paint Creek State Parks Southwest Fading
Punderson State Park Northeast Fading
Quail Hollow/Wingfoot State Parks Northeast Fading
Salt Fork State Park East Fading
Shawnee State Park Southwest Fading
Sycamore State Park West Fading
Tar Hollow State Park/Forest Southeast Fading
Triangle Lake Bog Northeast Fading
Van Buren State Park Northwest Fading
Zaleski State Forest Southeast Fading

COLOR CONDITION KEY: Changing – Still mostly green, less than 25 percent color. Near Peak – Significant color showing – anywhere from 30 to 60 percent color. Peak – Peak colors – as much as 85 percent showing. Fading – Fading from peak conditions and leaves falling to forest floor.

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Ohio Fall Foliage Color Preview for First Week of Autumn

The Little Miami River passing through Clifton...
Image via Wikipedia

Ohio State Park Fall Harvest and Halloween Events are picking up, too!

COLUMBUS, OH – As we welcomed the first week of autumn, highlights of color are beginning to speckle the canopies of Ohio’s woodlands as the weather begins to cool.

“Many maple and ash trees are welcoming us into this year’s fall color season,” said Casey Burdick, from the ODNR Division of Forestry.  “The maples are splashing yellows and reds near the edges of Ohio’s woodlands and in many other areas white ash trees are showing their deep red and purple while green ash trees are showing their vibrant golden yellow color.”

Ohioans and out of state visitors who are waiting for peak fall color are encouraged to head outside and enjoy the crisp fall days leading up to it. Ohio state parks and nature preserves are offering many family-friendly activities that all can enjoy. The burst of color at the onset of the season provides a perfect backdrop for hikers, bikers or horseback riders who make their way across the hundreds of miles of publicly accessible trails. The brilliance of fall color will add to the excitement of games of disc golf and golf, which can be played on beautiful, award-winning courses at several state parks. Anglers and boaters can also get priceless perspectives of amazing fall foliage as it reflects in the rippling water along miles of shoreline and waterways.

This coming weekend, check out one of the following events at one of your Ohio State Parks…

Fall CampoutBuck Creek (SW) – Oct. 1-3. Crafts, nature programs, games, contests, trick or treat & hayrides. (937) 322-5284

Harvest DaysBeaver Creek (NE) – Oct. 2-3 at the pioneer village & Gaston’s Mill. Craft displays & demonstrations of pioneer life, including the working grist mill. (330) 382-9227. Beaver Creek Wildlife Education Center open 10 AM-5 PM, duck race at 3 PM Sun. (330) 385-3091 orwww.beavercreekwildlife.org.

Halloween CampoutGrand Lake St. Marys (NW) – Oct. 1-3. Apple bobbing, pumpkin carving, hayrides, costume & campsite decorating. (419) 394-3611.

Apple Butter FestivalHueston Woods (SW) – Oct. 2-3 at the pioneer farm. Arts, crafts & traditional apple butter making. (513) 524-4250.

Halloween Campout #1East Harbor (NW) – Oct. 1-2. Scarecrow & decorated campsite contests, kids’ crafts and games, hayrides, haunted house, dance & bonfire. (419) 734-4424 ext. 2.

To find out more about these and other events, visit www.ohiodnr.com. The site will serve as a premier guide to Ohio’s fall color season. Its pages provide information for travelers who want to map a scenic road tripadventurers who are refreshed and energized by the cool autumn weather, vacationers who seekplaces of solace to enjoy the changing seasons and even the students who need a resource for leaf collection projects. Ohioans and out-of-state visitors can also find information about fall foliage by calling 1-800-BUCKEYE or visiting www.discoverohio.com/autumnadventures.

Ohio’s 74 state parks, 21 state forests and 134 state nature preserves provide excellent locations to view fall foliage. Here are the most current reports from selected locations:

Location Region Color Condition
Alum/Delaware Creek State Parks Central Near Peak
Beaver Creek/Guilford Lake State Parks East Changing
Blackhand Gorge Nature Preserve Central Changing
Dillon/Blue Rock State Parks East Changing
Buck Creek State Park West Changing
Burr Oak State Park Southeast Changing
Caesar Creek State Park Southwest Changing
Clifton Gorge Nature Preserve West Changing
Deer Creek State Park Central Changing
Harrison Lake State Park/Forest Northwest Changing
Hocking Hills State Park/Forest Southeast Changing
Hueston Woods State Park Southwest Near Peak
Indian Lake State Park West Changing
John Bryan State Park West Changing
Kent Bog Nature Preserve Northeast Changing
Kiser Lake State Park West Changing
Lake Hope State Park Southeast Near Peak
Malabar Farm State Park Northeast Changing
Maumee State Park/Forest Northwest Changing
Mohican State Park/Forest Northeast Changing
Mt. Gilead State Park Central Near Peak
Pike Lake/Paint Creek State Parks Southwest Changing
Punderson State Park Northeast Changing
Quail Hollow/Wingfoot State Parks Northeast Changing
Salt Fork State Park East Changing
Shawnee State Park Southwest Changing
Sycamore State Park West Changing
Tar Hollow State Park/Forest Southeast Changing
Triangle Lake Bog Northeast Changing
Van Buren State Park Northwest Changing
Zaleski State Forest Southeast Changing

COLOR CONDITION KEY: Changing – Still mostly green, less than 25 percent color. Near Peak – Significant color showing – anywhere from 30 to 60 percent color. Peak – Peak colors – as much as 85 percent showing. Fading – Fading from peak conditions and leaves falling to forest floor.

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New Ohio State Park Reward Card: 25% discount, Stay for Free!

A campsite at the Iverhuron Prov. Park
Image via Wikipedia

COLUMBUS, OH – Just in time for the upcoming summer season, Ohio State Parks is offering a new rewards program for frequent campers and cottage guests, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

The Ohio State Parks rewards card is free of charge, and is available through the state parks website, www.ohiostateparks.org, the reservation call center at 1-866-OHIOPARKS, and from local state park offices.

“The rewards program is our way of saying thanks to campers who come back year after year,” said Ohio State Parks Acting Chief John Hunter. “We want to help make an Ohio vacation a little more affordable, and encourage frequent camping trips and getaways in our parks.”

For each dollar spent on camping at one of Ohio’s 56 state park campgrounds, rewards card holders earn points toward a free night of camping. Rewards card holders who stay in the getaway rentals offered at numerous state parks, as well as the vacation cottages at Buck Creek, Cowan Lake, Dillon, Hocking Hills, Lake Hope, Mohican, Pike Lake and Pymatuning state parks, will also earn points toward a free stay.  Other activities earning Rewards card holders points include camp store purchases and shelter house rentals in Ohio State Parks.

In addition to earning points for future stays, those who enroll in the Ohio State Parks rewards program by June 30 will also receive points for their camping and cottage stays in 2009. Once registered, rewards card holders may check their balances on-line at www.ohiostateparks.org.

As an added bonus, several of Ohio’s state park lodges are offering special guest room rates for rewards card holders.  Card holders who book rooms at Burr Oak, Deer Creek, Hueston Woods, Maumee Bay, Mohican, Punderson, Salt Fork and Shawnee can enjoy a 25% discount on the regular room rate for overnight stays on the regular room rate for stays between now and June 11, and between August 23 and December 30.

More information on the Ohio State Parks rewards program is available on the official Ohio State Parks Web site, www.ohiostateparks.org.

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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