Tag Archives: ODNR

Natural Resources Park To Reopen at Ohio State Fair

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(Columbus) – The excitement of the great outdoors is back at the Ohio State Fairgrounds, thanks to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). Families can find fun and free activities at the Natural Resources Park open to all in the southeast corner of the fairgrounds, every day from 10am until 7pm.

“People at the state fair may not realize how much outdoor adventure we have here in Ohio,” ODNR Director Mary Mertz said. “That’s why we put it all in one place at the fair, letting people test their skills with a fishing rod or on the pond – and I hope this experience will inspire families to go out and discover all the amazing places we have all over the state!”

Children can stop by to receive a personal greeting from Smokey Bear before they go exploring.  The current Smokey animatronic character was installed in 2015 and continues his mission to teach fairgoers how they can prevent wildfires. Directly behind Smokey is the 71-foot-tall fire tower, emphasizing the importance of fire safety.

A new attraction at the park will highlight Smokey Bear’s legacy at the Ohio State Fair, among other Ohio facts.  The History Room, found at the pavilion, will take visitors on a journey through time – telling the stories of the Civilian Conservation Corps, notable women in ODNR’s history, and Ohio’s newest state park, Great Council State Park.

The Division of Parks and Watercraft is introducing a new Virtual Reality exhibit allowing visitors to paddleboard or kayak through some of Ohio’s most breathtaking water features. Participants will begin by choosing their watercraft and between the locations of Alum Creek, Lake Erie, Miami River, and the Ohio River. Guests will be fitted with life jackets, an Oculus headset and two controllers which simulate paddles. Video monitors will allow viewers to see what the participants are experiencing. 

The Division of Parks and Watercraft has also added a brand-new nature center. Like what you’d see when visiting one of Ohio’s 75 state parks, the nature center will be home to live animals, interactive games, and educational information about Ohio’s wildlife.  Located near the Division’s camper, yurt, and display about state park lodges, the nature center will be open to visitors throughout the day.

This year also marks the Ohio State Fair debut of the ODNR Division of Oil and Gas fully accessible playground.  Children can navigate through a maze of towering barrels or search for fossils at this easy-access area that will provide amazing, and low impact entertainment.

Other new sights and sounds inside the Natural Resources Park this year include upgraded structures along the Division of Wildlife boardwalk and a restored wetland area where families can learn about Governor Mike DeWine’s H2Ohio initiative.

Visitors to the Natural Resources Park will get an up-close look at the park’s newest resident, a life-size sculpture of Dunkleosteus terrelli, Ohio’s State Fossil Fish. This sculpture, affectionately known as “Daphne,” is a recent addition to the Geological Walk-Through Time exhibit.

Popular attractions, including the kayak pond and youth fishing, will be brought back this summer.  The amphitheater will come alive with free shows every day of the Ohio State Fair.  Guests can anticipate the must see, Great Lakes Lumberjack Show, featuring chainsaw carving, log rolling, and a whole lot of laughs.

Educational opportunities are located throughout the Natural Resources Park. At the Scenic Rivers Touch Pond, visitors can learn about crayfish and small stream fish found throughout Ohio’s streams and rivers. Head over to the Butterfly House and witness the life cycle of around 400 butterflies. Or just walk along the pathways to learn about varieties of native trees found across the Buckeye State.

The ODNR information booth will offer natural resources literature, and the gift shop will showcase a wide array of souvenirs, clothing, and toys available for purchase including our State Parks Passport.

On the fair’s opening day will honor 11 people for their commitment to conservation of Ohio’s natural resources.  The Ohio Natural Resources Hall of Fame program honors people – past and present – who have made significant contributions to preserving and protecting the state’s water, soil, woodlands, wildlife, and mineral resources. ODNR will also be handing out cardinal awards during a ceremony at the Natural Resources Park amphitheater. The public is invited to attend this event on July 27, 2022 at 4:30 p.m.

Free Range Day at Some ODNR Parks

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(Columbus) – The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife and the National Shooting Sports Foundation are partnering to host Free Range Day at five of Ohio’s premier public shooting ranges on Saturday, Aug. 20.
 


Caption: Visit one of Ohio’s public shooting ranges on Saturday, Aug. 20 to gain hands-on experience and instruction with firearms.

 
Visit one of the following public shooting ranges on Free Range Day to gain hands-on experience and instruction with firearms at no charge from certified instructors from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

  • Deer Creek Wildlife Area, corner of State Route 207 and Cook Yankeetown Road NE, Mt. Sterling 43143 
  • Delaware Wildlife Area, 1110 State Route 229, Ashley 43003
  • Grand River Wildlife Area, 6693 Hoffman Norton Road, Bristolville 44491 
  • Spring Valley Wildlife Area, 3570 Houston Road, Waynesville 45068
  • Woodbury Wildlife Area, 41384 State Route 541, Warsaw 43844 

On-site staff will offer provide equipment, ammunition, ear protection, and eye protection at no charge.
 
Range Day is being offered in conjunction with the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Inc.’s National Shooting Sports Month. Division of Wildlife shooting ranges provide the public with comfortable, safe places to hone their skills with rifles, shotguns, handguns, and archery equipment. A complete list of range facilities, and the amenities offered at each, can be found at wildohio.gov.
 
Class A shooting ranges offer supervised rifle and pistol target shooting. Class B facilities offer unsupervised rifle and pistol target shooting, while Class C ranges host unsupervised clay target shotgun shooting.
 
The shooting range permit requirement is waived on all Division of Wildlife Class A, B, and C shooting ranges on this date. Outside of Free Range Day, all persons 18 and older shooting on Division of Wildlife Class A, B, or C ranges are required to purchase a shooting range permit, available at all hunting and fishing license outlets, wildohio.gov, or the HuntFish OH mobile app. Daily permits are available for $5, or an annual permit can be purchased for $24.

New Xenia Area State Park To Have Chillicothe Connection

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(Xenia)- The Ohio Department of Natural Resources recently broke ground on Great Council State Park, which will feature a 12,000-square-foot interpretive center with an architectural design based on a council house historically used by the Shawnee tribes. It will be on the site of the birthplace of the Shawnee Chief Tecumseh.

Photo courtesy of ODNR

Inside, visitors will find three floors of exhibits, a theater area, a living stream, and a gallery. The displays will honor the Shawnee tribes of the past and allow present-day members of the Shawnee nation to share their stories. The expected opening is 2023.

Talon Silverhorn, Cultural Programs Manager for the ODNR and overseeing the development of this park, will be speaking at Mound City Visitor Center of the Hopewell Culture National Historical Park on July 23, 2022 at 11am. The event is open and free to the public.  A Friends of Hopewell Culture NHP informal reception is being hosted for members only at 10am before the public presentation.

To become a member of the Friends group email reepterressa@yahoo.com

Summer Turkey & Grouse Surveys Conducted By ODNR

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(ODNR) – The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife is asking citizen scientists to report wild turkey and ruffed grouse sightings in July and August for the summer brood survey.
 


Caption: Ohioans can report wild turkey and ruffed grouse sightings in
July and August for the summer brood survey.

 
Turkey and grouse brood surveys are used by wildlife biologists to estimate population status. Brood surveys rely on the public to report observations of all turkeys and grouse seen in July and August, when female birds and their young are active. Citizen scientists are encouraged to submit observations on the Wildlife Reporting System webpage at wildohio.gov or on the HuntFish OH mobile app.
 
Observers of wild turkeys are asked to report the number of gobblers, hens, and young turkeys (poults) seen. Information collected for ruffed grouse include the number of adults and young viewed. Be sure to record the date and county where the observation occurred. Biologists have annually tracked summer observations of turkeys since 1962. Grouse were added to the survey in 1999.
 
State wildlife agencies across the wild turkey’s range conduct similar surveys. Information submitted to Ohio’s brood survey help to predict population changes and guide turkey management.
 
Valid reports submitted by the public in 2021 show a statewide average of 3.1 poults per hen (from 1,143 reports). The 10-year average is 2.6 poults per hen. Results from the 2020 brood survey showed a return to the long-term average after a depression in turkey nest success, and the 2021 brood data was above average. The 2021 improvements in poult numbers were uniform across the state, although because of habitat availability turkey populations are stronger in the eastern and southern portions of the state.
 
Turkeys had disappeared from Ohio by 1904, and their return marks a conservation success story. Reintroductions began in 1956, and today turkeys are common throughout much of Ohio. Turkeys can often be seen in fields along woods, especially early in the morning.
 
Grouse inhabit Ohio’s heavily forested regions. Grouse occur in the greatest numbers in young, regenerating forests, especially those less than 20 years old. Habitat loss has driven population declines since the 1980s. In addition, susceptibility to West Nile Virus has likely caused further population decline since the early-2000s.
 
For more information about grouse and turkey, visit the Wildlife Species Guide page at wildohio.gov.