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Ice Safety Tips from Ohio DNR

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No Funny Title- Just the Facts.

COLUMBUS, OH – Ohioans are reminded to use extreme caution during winter while venturing onto frozen waterways and to be prepared to handle an emergency should someone fall through the ice, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

As some of the lowest temperatures of the season arrive, some people may be tempted to venture out onto the ice and should be aware of basic safety tips, including being prepared for an emergency. ODNR offers these ice safety tips; additional tips can be found online at www.ohiodnr.com and through various other Internet web resources.

Ice Safety Tips:

  • Always remember that ice-covered water is never completely safe.
  • Anyone new to ice fishing, or interested in learning how to safely ice fish, should seek out a licensed ice-fishing guide. A list of certified guides is available at www.wildohio.com or by calling the ODNR Division of Wildlife, Sandusky office at (419) 625-8062. Ask at local bait shops about known areas of thin or dangerous ice.
  • Always go out with friends, letting others know when you will be on the ice and when you will return. Whenever possible, wrap a mobile phone in a plastic bag and take it with you.
  • Wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket or float coat. Life vests provide excellent flotation and protection from hypothermia.
  • Use safe alternatives to local streams or lakes for skating or sledding. Check with your local, state or metro park district to see where conditions are suitable for skating. Some state parks, including Delaware State Park in Delaware County and Dillon State Park in Muskingum County, offer free access to designated ice-skating areas.
  • Understand wind chill factors are relative temperature guides. Although a thermometer may read 40 degrees, a wind speed of 20 miles per hour can cause a body to lose heat as if the temperature was actually 18 degrees.
  • Carry two ice picks, screwdrivers or large nails to create leverage for pulling yourself out of the water. They are much more effective than bare hands. Also, carry a whistle or other noisemaker to alert people that you are in distress.
  • Dress in layers and add extra clothing for the head, neck, sides and groin, which are the primary heat-loss areas. Wool and modern synthetics are good fabric choices for clothing; cotton is slow to dry when wet.
  • Keep an extra set of clothes in your car in case you need dry clothing.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages. In addition to reducing reaction times, alcohol lowers your internal temperature and increases your chance of suffering hypothermia.
  • Never drive a vehicle, snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle onto ice. Leave this to professional guides. This is extremely dangerous and most insurance policies will not cover the vehicles of ice fishermen that have dropped through the ice.

The ODNR Division of Watercraft administers Ohio’s boating 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. More information may be found online at www.ohiodnr/com/watercraft or by following the Division of Watercraft on Facebook or Twitter.

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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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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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 www.ohiodnr.com.

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Ohio Fall Foliage Update: First Day of Fall

Fall foliage peaks in the United States
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Your First Ohio Fall Color Update, Ohio Fall Festival Calendar and More! Enjoy and don’t forget to Tweet!

COLUMBUS, OH – As the calendar ushers in the autumn season, Ohio’s woodlands are beginning their beautiful transformation as their canopies change from lush green to warm shades of gold, orange and red. Peak color is still a few weeks away for most of the state.

“Most parts of the Buckeye State are starting to notice the first hints of fall color as vivid yellow and gold leaves begin to appear, along with a scattering of red and orange ones,” said Casey Burdick, from the ODNR Division of Forestry.  “Buckeye trees have lost there yellow leaves a little early this year because they are found in lower lying areas and are slightly stressed by the drought we have had this summer.  But it is a good year for finding the Buckeye nuts on the ground.”

Most ODNR facilities are reporting that less than 25 percent of the trees have changed color this week. However, Burdick noted that most of the spotty color is ash and maples, which are showing dark purples and reds, especially in urban areas, where the trees may be slightly stress due to drought. Cooler nights should enhance the onset of good fall color and add more variety to the landscape in coming weeks.

The scenic landscape is a special invitation to head outdoors. Some will choose to take part in outdoor traditions such as dove or squirrel hunting while others will enjoy seasonal campouts and events at Ohio state parks and nature preserves. And for the avid hunters, don’t forget that archery season for deer starts Saturday, September 25.

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

Fall Harvest Fest, Burr Oak (SE), Sept. 24-26 at the lodge.  Arts, crafts and entertainment.  740-767-2112

Frontier Days, Scioto Trail (SE), Sept. 24-26 at the Caldwell Lake campground.  Heritage themed activities and old fashioned treats.  740-887-4818

Fall Festival, Indian Lake (NW) – Sept. 24-26. Crafts, games, square dancing, pony rides, archery & a hot air balloon lift-off. 937-843-2717 or 937-843-3553.

Fall Campout, Pymatuning (NE) – Sept. 24-26. Campsite decorating, kids’ activities, boat rides & a potluck dinner. 440-293-6684.

Scary Tales, Findley (NE) – Sept. 25, 7PM at Picnic Point. Spooky stories & campfire treats. 440-647-5749.

Fall Festival, Kelleys Island (NW) – Sept. 25 at the campground. Pumpkin carving, chili dinner & a bonfire. 419-746-2546.

Ohio Heritage Days, Malabar Farm (NE) – Sept. 25-26, 10-4 PM daily. 75 traditional crafters, antique tractors & living history. 35th annual event. 419-892-2784.

Paw-Paw Hike, Caesar Creek (SW) – Sept. 26, 2 pm at the nature center to car pool to the great paw-paw patch.  For more information, call 513-897-2437

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 trip,adventurers 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 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 Changing
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 Changing
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 State Park 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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100 Days of Summer: Day 32- Take the Dog to Mosquito Lake

dogs at dog park wearing Mimi green collars
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Did you know that Mosquito Lake State Park won an award last year for the creation of a five acre dog park?  Your furry friends get two separate fenced off areas, one for large dogs and one for the chihuahuas ( Although I know NONE of our readers have those tiny things. We’re REAL dog people here). Dogs get access to the lake for swimming, and water is provided on hot days. Mosquito also features 7 miles of dog-friendly trails and a campground.

Check it out to inaugurate the Dog Days of Summer.

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

A campsite at the Iverhuron Prov. Park
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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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SwimSafe! At your Ohio State Park Pool or Beach

Beach Chairs and Sand Castles, Golden Lake
Image by Valley Vistas via Flickr

COLUMBUS, OH – With the upcoming Memorial Day holiday upon us, Ohio State Parks remind adult visitors to keep an eye on children in their charge when they go swimming.  This is the focus of SwimSafe!, a beach safety program in its 10th year, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

“Safety is an important part of a successful family outing in our parks,” said John Hunter, acting chief of Ohio State Parks.  “Our SwimSafe!program is a reminder that in addition to remembering the lotions, beach toys and snacks, parents and adult guardians must remember to be aware of their children during any outing to a state park beach.”

To fully enjoy a safe outing at a park beach, follow these SwimSafe! tips:

● Keep a sharp eye on young children while they are in or around the water.

● Swim only in designated areas at the beach and the lake.

● Lakes are not swimming pools, the water is murky and you may not see where it becomes deeper, so exercise caution.

● Bring a cell phone to make emergency calls if necessary.  Check to ensure there is cell phone service before swimming.

● Use the buddy system and designate one member of your party to remain on the beach to keep watch on the others while they are swimming.

● Alcohol and swimming do not mix.  Leave these beverages at home when you come to the beach.

● Enjoy the fun that water offers, but take regular breaks and relax on the beach.

● It just can’t be said enough, please keep an eye on the kids!

Ohio State Parks offer 78 beaches on 47 inland lakes in addition to nine beaches on Lake Erie.  There are also 20 swimming pools in the state park system.  Last year, more than 4.5 million people visited state park beaches and pools across Ohio.

Ohio State Parks are operated by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Parks and Recreation.  ODNR 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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