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Holiday Specials at Ohio State Parks

The Lodge at Geneva on the Lake
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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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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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Lake Erie Access Portal: Info on 164 Ways to Get to the Lake

Aerial view of Vermilion, Ohio, USA on Lake Er...
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164 Public Access Sites in the eight counties along Ohio’s 312-mile Lake Erie Shore featured in new ODNR Publication and Web site

Sandusky, OH – Just in time for summer recreation, a new publication and companion Web site will guide you to Ohio’s public beaches, bluffs and bays along the state’s 312-mile Lake Erie shore, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

The Lake Erie Public Access Guidebook was developed by the ODNR Office of Coastal Management in partnership with the ODNR Office of External Affairs. The guidebook includes general information about Lake Erie and specific details about the 164 sites within Ohio’s eight coastal counties where the public can access the Buckeye State’s greatest natural resource.

Collectively, the 164 public access sites account for more than 15,000 acres, and nearly 53 miles of shore, which is approximately 17 percent of Ohio’s coast. Sites range from the well known to the rarely heard of and include state, county, city, village and township parks, preserves and reservations; state wildlife areas; public cemeteries; memorials and monuments; lighthouses; as well as dead-end road rights-of-way and scenic vistas.

Information in the Lake Erie Public Access Guidebook was collected by the Office of Coastal Management between 2005 and 2010, and verified via interviews with local officials and park managers. The 326-page printed guidebook is geographically organized from west to east, beginning in Toledo in Lucas County and moving to Conneaut in Ashtabula County.

Each site is represented by vibrant pictures, illustrative narratives, colorful maps, latitude/longitude coordinates, amenity keys and “Learn more” information to help you discover the perfect spot to spend your day or even your week. It’s the perfect size for backpacks, glove boxes and tackle boxes.

The online guidebook can be viewed by selecting “Access” in the top navigation line atohiodnr.com/coastal. Each access site can be downloaded and printed from its respective Web page; county chapters and the entire guidebook can also be downloaded and printed.

Printed copies of the Lake Erie Public Access Guidebook will be available at locations throughout Ohio’s Lake Erie watershed by July (a list of distribution sites will be available online). Later this summer, the guidebook will be distributed at the ODNR Natural Resources Park Information Booth at the Ohio State Fair from July 28 to August 8.

The Office of Coastal Management works to achieve a balance between use and preservation of Lake Erie’s coastal resources, in collaboration with our partners, by effectively administering the Ohio Coastal Management Program.

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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National Park Service: New Summer Adventure Portal

Photo of National Park Service sign
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Washington — Summer is the time for… climbing the peak … hitting the trail … rafting the gorge …even discovering our history. Before heading out for adventure, all but the most spontaenous traveler spends at least a little time planning an itinerary, negotiating routes and researching the environs. If you’re looking for great places and things to do, we’ve got the site for you.

The National Park Service’s 2010 Summer Adventure trip planning website connects visitors to travel resources, events and services at national parks across the country. Visit the site at http://www.nps.gov/pub_aff/plan_your_visit/index.htm.

An easy-to-navigate design links visitors to sites of interest, lodging, upcoming events and tips to get the most out of their national park adventure. An interactive calendar makes it easy to search for special events by state or by park. Visitors will also find information about educational programs in the national parks and an array of travel guides.

Last year more than 285 million people visited national parks. Make this the year for your national park adventure.

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Life on Lake Erie Photo Contest

Marblehead Light - Marblehead Lighthouse
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TOLEDO, OHIO— With its 262 miles of shoreline forming the northern boundary of Ohio, Lake Erie’s impact on the Buckeye State has been monumental. To celebrate the diversity of life found within the boundaries of our Great Lake’s watershed, amateur photographers are invited to submit entries for the Ohio Lake Erie Commission’s 2010 photo contest. Winning images will be displayed as part of a traveling exhibit and in an on-line photo gallery.

The 2010 “Life on Lake Erie” photo contest is an opportunity for amateur photographers, age 16 and older, to share their talent in capturing the best that the Lake Erie region has to offer. Digital images taken between July 9, 2009 and July 9, 2010 in and around the Lake Erie watershed may be submitted to the Ohio Lake Erie Commission (OLEC) through July 16.

Winning photographs will be featured on the OLEC Web site and will become part of the commission’s traveling photo gallery. The images will appear at prime Ohio shoreline locations throughout the year including the University of Toledo’s Lake Erie Center in Oregon and the Lake Erie Shores & Islands Welcome centers in Port Clinton and Sandusky. Images may also be used to promote the Lake Erie region through environmental and educational programs and publications.

Submissions must be the original work of the photographer and can portray sustainable use, development, recreational use or protection of Ohio’s Lake Erie coastal resources. Both black and white and color digital images will be accepted, however, NO computer-enhanced images will be accepted. Previously submitted, late, copyrighted, digitally altered/edited or controversial photos will not be accepted.

To enter, submit your digital image on CD accompanied with a completed entry form, found at www.lakeerie.ohio.gov, to the Ohio Lake Erie Commission, One Maritime Plaza, 4th Floor, Toledo, Ohio 43604. No more than five entries will be accepted per household; individuals may only win twice. For more information on the photo contest, please visit www.lakeerie.ohio.gov or call (419) 245-2514.

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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Volunteers needed for Coastweeks

Marblehead Light - Marblehead Lighthouse
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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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