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Beach Safety Tips: Stay Safe

COLUMBUS, OH- With the arrival of Memorial Day and more sunny seasonal weather, many people turn to a day of refreshing swimming fun at an Ohio State Park beach. Making the day safe is just as important as enjoying the visit, which is the focus of SwimSafe!, the state park beach safety program.

SwimSafe! is a program which focuses on the importance of parental supervision for children, as well as preparation, awareness and personal responsibility for swimmers of all ages. The OhioDepartment of Natural Resources (ODNR) implemented this safety campaign in 2000.

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 the water;

● Lakes are not swimming pools, the water is murky and people may not notice where it becomes deeper, so exercise caution;

● Bring a cellphone to make an emergency call if necessary. Check that cellphone service is available at that location before swimming;

● Swim only in designated areas of the beach and the lake;

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

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

● Alcohol and swimming do not mix. Leave alcoholic beverages at home when coming to the beach; and

● It cannot be emphasized enough: watch children at all times!

“Safety is vital for family outings in our parks,” said Glen Cobb, chief of Ohio State Parks. “Keeping children safe around water is a top priority, and all parents and adult guardians should know where their children are during an outing to a state park beach.”

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 4.1 million people visited state park beaches and pools across Ohio.

Ohio State Parks are operated by ODNR’s 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 website at:


Pymatuning Park Kayaking

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100 Days of Summer: Day 21-Hit The Beach

You know, It’s surprising how often Ohio’s state park beaches come up on this site. Really, it seems like we only get out a a couple times and the water’s too cold until August anyway. But since Ohio’s beaches are usually attached to award winning facilities anyway, we always seem to have fun anyway.

So grab the suncscreen and get out to one of our local beaches. take some charcoal and hotdogs, and don’t forget yourtowel.

42 Utility Towel 42 Utility Towel

The Towel is perhaps the most important invention of whatever century it was invented in. The Towel is the most massively useful tool to take with you on your trips throughout the universe. It is handy for oh so many reasons: you can sleep on it, rub food and sauces on it for later consumption, use it to signal for help, wrap it around your head to avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugbladder Beast of Traal, or to dry off. And most importantly, strags (non-hitchhikers) will assume if you know where your towel is you are also in possession of quite a number of other common items like a toothbrush or a space suit (which means they are more apt to lend you said items if you ask to “borrow” them). Our Towel is black, rectangular, and made of velour. It is based on the award-winning design of the Anti-Flatulent Fighting Towels of Flogulon Beta, with a little clip in the corner to attach it to things. It measures 16″ X 25″ and has the number 42 imprinted on it for some random reason (apparently the printer had a special affinity for the product of 6 and 7). The printing is done using a tone on tone effect, using a glossy clear ink over the black towel for a nice subtle effect. But seriously, you need this Towel. Because if you have one, everyone will look at you and say, “There’s a frood who really knows where his towel is,” which is perhaps one of the nicest things someone can say about you. And don’t forget: May 25th is officially Towel Day. It is a tribute to a mostly harmless author named Douglas Adams.

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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

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120 Parks in 100 Miles



How varied are the Outdoor Recreation opportunities in Northeast Ohio? Well, Let’s see, I’ve compiled a list of at least 120 places you can go for hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, kayaking and more. These are all  official, public areas.  I Don’t list commercial properties or unofficial sites: no gaslines or mining areas. I based my Search on my Location in Boardman, and I might have cheated a bit at the edges: Minister Creek is only within 100 if you start at I-80, but what the heck.


  • I’ve kept State Parks and related State Forests as two lines. This might be cheating, but they usually offer different experiences.
  • Each Link goes directly to the appropriate site, not to a directory, wherever possible.
  • Preserves have few amenities, Wildlife Area even less, but often are public hunting area
  • This list is not meant to be comprehensive. I’ve left out many Metro Parks, some small state parks that aren’t much more than picnic areas, and areas I’m not really familiar with. If you have something you want added, let me know.
  • Scroll down to your favorite area. Look right above it. Have you been here? How about the area right below it?
  • Or, Try ODNR’s Recreation Search

Within 25 Miles

Within 50 Miles

Within 75 miles

Within 100 Miles

Take me fishing kids 2007 468

Get Bargains like these at Our Outdoor Gear and Equipment Store Powered By Amazon

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100 Days of Summer: May 29th- Bike West Branch

Image by be OH be via Flickr

West Branch State Park in Ravenna is a local treasure. A two Thousand acre lake and 5,000 acres of park means there’s lots of opportunities for things to do. It’s proximity to Akron and Cleveland means its a popular destination with a lot of amenities.

Fishing or skiing the lake, hiking the 14 miles of trails, staying at the award winning campground, swimming at the beach: If you can do it in Ohio, You can do it here.

But for a unique experience, you need to get your bike out on the 12 miles of trails that the Cleveland Area Mountain Bike Association Maintains. These trails range from meadows to rugged woods for every experience level. There are multiple loops to choose, all easily marked.

Head out to West Branch State Park sometime this summer to check out all that’s offered, and especially check out the bike trails for some challenges you just aren’t going to find elsewhere.

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100 Days of Summer: 100 Recreational Areas Within 100 Miles

Within 25 Miles

Within 50 Miles

Within 75 miles

Within 100 Miles

How To Use this List:

  • I’ve kept State Parks and related State Forests as two lines. This might be cheating, but they usually offer different experiences.
  • Each Link goes directly to the appropriate site, not to a directory, wherever possible.
  • Scroll down to your favorite area. Look right above it. Have you been here? How about the area right below it?

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100 Days of Summer: Hiking and Geocaching

Favorite Local Hikes: ( Short to Long)

McConnells Mill State Park: Devil’s Hollow is a fantastic trail for a small day Hike. And the Alpha Pass Trail is part of the North Country Trail ( Map )

Nelson Kennedy Ledges
– Picnic area North West of warren off 422. Rocks split and exposed by glaciers, pretty cool (Pun intended). NO CLIMBING.(Map)

Moraine State Park– Multiuse park has beaches, hiking and biking and horse trails, boating and even a windsurfing area. ( Map )

Raccoon Creek-44 Miles of Hiking trails. Many Multi use trails.

Cuyahoga Valley-Outside Akron: If you Ski, You’re familiar with it. Lots of trails, I like the Ledges. Ride the Railroad.(map)
Little Beaver Greenway Trail– 11 Miles of paved roadway along the Scenic River in Lisbon

Minister Creek Overlook– Minister Creek has a stocked creek, 7 mile overlok loop ( That also intersects the North Country Trail) and a small Camp Area at the trailhead ( Although I like camping farther back.)

Buckeye Trail– 1,400 miles around the state

North Country Trail– Developing trail to link New York to North Dakota. Locally, the trail crossesthe Alleghenies, Through McConnells Mill, to

Beaver Creek and on though Minerva. Think of the Appalachian Trail, only going east and west.

Other Hikes

Great Allegheny Pasage– Connect Pittsburgh Airport and region to Washington DC with a system of Rail to Trails.

Akron Metroparks Bike and Hike Trail-33 Miles of paved trail

Montour Trail-Active trail group developing 46 mile trail

Rachel Carson Trail-35 Mile Day Hike Trail

Three Rivers Trail-37 Miles of Trails in Downtown Pittsiburgh

Oil Creek


Steel Valley Outdoors Geocaching Primer
– Geocaching is a scavenger hunt using a GPS device that is popular all over the country. Find the treasure chest, sign in, take the small gift and leave another to keep it rolling. There are several hidden caches in the Mahoning Valley.
– Buy Ohio shaped Geocache coins to use in caches., Special cache contests and a members map to find others.

Northeast Ohio Orienteering Club– Get Skilled with Map and Compass.


Essential Gear: Sleeping Bags

Essential Gear: Water and Hydration

Ultralight Backpacking Primer

Hiking tips

Appalachian Trail Conservancy

Rail to Trail Trail List-  Biking and Hiking Trails across the country

Best Hike– Where in the wold is the best hike?

NEOnaturalist Listing of over 40 hiking trails, primarily in the Cleveland and Akron area. Big Concentration on Cuyahoga Valley

Outdoorzy– Outdoor blog with emphasis on Hiking and climbing

Peak to Peak– Small Directory of trail and hiking resources

Section Hiker– Long distance trail resource. From the AT to the Pcific Crest trail and everything in between

Slackpacker– Dayhiker resource with lots of trips and background information.

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100 Days of Summer: Camping

Local Camping

Beaver Creek– Horse camp, Hiking, Beach,Mountain Bikes and Ghosts .

Hearts ContentAllegheny National Forest recreation area. Playground, Orienteering course and old growth forest.

Minister Creek- Primitive campsite at trailhead. “Back country” camping on North Country Trail. Back country is in quotes because this loop trail is surrounded by privately leased land: You’re never too far from help.

Nelson Ledges Quarry Park– Private quarry with swimming and scuba. Runs a series of Music festivals all summer long to get your groove on.

Punderson Lodge-Golf, conference and camping resort at state park in Geauga County. This link takes you to the vendor’s site for reservations.

Pymatuning– Commercial type RV/ Car and tent campground.

Raccoon Creek

ODNR Camping and Resort Facilities


National Park service campgrounds– is the national parks vendor for reservations.

US Forest ServiceNational Forests.

State Park Search– From L.L.Bean


Essential Gear: Water And Hydration

Camp Food Without Pots– How to cook over an open fire without Needing Medical aid. 9 Recipes

Camping Club– Recipes, gear reviews, blogs and more. Member site, corporate sponsors

Camping tips-Meat and potatoes camping site. Articles and lists, not much more, but good, solid info.– Basic script to get a list of equipment based on what type of camping you want to do.

Go RVing– RV Resourc. You’ve seen the ads.

Visit Our Store for all the best Camping Gear and Equipment

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Ohio Lake Erie Fishing Forecast

Lake Erie Sunset with fish net

Image via Wikipedia

COLUMBUS, OH – Lake Erie anglers should experience another year of diverse fishing opportunities during 2011, according to biologists with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife.

“When you consider the variety of species and sizes of fish that are available to Ohio anglers, we are optimistic about Lake Erie fishing prospects this year,” said Roger Knight, Lake Erie fisheries program manager for the Division of Wildlife.  “Weather is always the wild card on Lake Erie, but anglers who take advantage of seasonal fishing opportunities have good odds at catching walleye, yellow perch, smallmouth bass, white bass, and steelhead, often in combination during many trips.”

Lake Erie walleye and yellow perch fisheries are managed through an interagency quota system that involves Ontario, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, and Ohio jurisdictions.  Each jurisdiction regulates their catches to comply with their agency’s quotas and minimize the risk of over-fishing these species.  Quotas for the upcoming fishing season are determined through consensus agreement by these jurisdictions through the Lake Erie Committee of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, which were just recently announced for 2011.

Lake Erie Walleye and Perch Limits

Ohio’s walleye and yellow perch bag limits were set after the March 25, 2011, LEC quota announcement, and will go into effect May 1, 2011.  As a result of the 2011 quota allocation, the walleye bag limit will be six from May 1, 2011 to February 29, 2012, and four from March 1, 2012 to April 30, 2012.  A 15-inch minimum size limit is in effect during the entire season.  The daily bag limit for walleye remains four fish per person during April 2011.  As a result of the 2011 quota allocation, the yellow perch bag limit will be 30 perch per angler in all Ohio waters from May 1, 2011 to April 30, 2012.  There is no minimum size limit on yellow perch.  Lake Erie anglers can find walleye and yellow perch bag limit information at ODNR offices, in special publications at bait and tackle shops, and on the Web at

Lake Erie anglers have great access to fishing in the Western and Central basins due to the numerous public boat ramps, private marinas, and shoreline access areas.  Anglers also benefit from having access to the largest charter boat fleet on the Great Lakes.


Ohio walleye anglers will catch fish mostly from the 2007 and 2003 hatches, with some contributions from the 2001, 2005, 2006, and 2008 hatches.  Walleye from the moderate 2007 hatch will range from 17-22 inches long and will complement the larger 22- to 28-inch fish from the strong 2003 hatch as the major contributors to the Ohio catch.  Fish from the fair 2005 hatch should be in the 20- to 25-inch range.  Fast growing fish from the 2008 cohort will begin to contribute to the fishery.  Large walleye from strong hatches in the mid-1990s still persist in the population, providing “Fish Ohio” award (greater than 28 inches) opportunities.

“Fish from the 2007 hatch grew faster than expected last year and showed up prominently in our fishery in 2010, and they should dominate the Western Basin catch this summer,” said Knight.  “The 2003 hatch is still out there, and it will likely contribute many fish in the Central Basin fisheries, particularly as the waters warm up and large fish migrate eastward to cooler waters.”

Yellow Perch

Perch anglers should encounter fish ranging from 7- to 13-inches from the 2007, 2008, 2005, and 2003 hatches in this year’s fishery.  Lake wide, yellow perch numbers should be similar to levels observed in 2010 in the Western and Central basins.  Small fish from the weaker 2009 hatch are not expected to contribute much to the fishery.

“Overall, we expect to have good perch fishing in 2011, with the largest fish coming from the eastern part of the Central Basin,” said Knight.

Smallmouth Bass

Smallmouth bass fishing in 2011 is expected to be fair.  Although bass abundance remains below desired levels, those caught should be of excellent size (15 to 22 inches, weighing 2 to 6 pounds).  Some small fish may be encountered from recent good hatches and must be released as quickly as possible.  Bass fishing is best in areas with good bottom structure, which is available across much of the entire Ohio near-shore area.  A closed season remains in effect from May 1 through June 24, 2011, during which all black bass (smallmouth and largemouth) must be immediately released.  Beginning June 25, 2011, the daily bag limit for bass will remain at five fish, with a 14-inch minimum length limit.


Steelhead anglers should enjoy another year of good fishing in Ohio’s Lake Erie open waters and in tributaries throughout the fall, winter, and spring months.  Peak summer steelhead action on Lake Erie can be found offshore from June through August between Vermilion and Conneaut, with catches measuring 17 to 29 inches.  Most Lake Erie anglers troll for steelhead in deep waters using spoons with dipsy divers or downriggers until fish move close to shore in the fall.  The daily bag limit remains at five fish per person from May 16 to August 31, and two fish per angler between September 1 and May 15, with a 12-inch minimum size limit throughout the year.

White Bass

White bass will continue to provide excellent seasonal fishing opportunities in the Maumee and Sandusky rivers and in the open lake.  The catch will be dominated by hatches from 2007 and 2008, which will include 13- to 16-inch fish.  The moderate 2009 and strong 2010 hatches should contribute many 10- to 14-inch fish to the fishery.  Anglers should focus on major Western Basin tributaries during May and June and near-shore areas of the open lake during summer months.  There is no daily bag or size limit on white bass.

Anglers are also advised of numerous fishing opportunities in the bays and harbors on the Ohio shoreline.  These inlets offer excellent fishing for panfish including crappie and bluegill, as well as largemouth bass.  In early spring, anglers may also catch an occasional Northern pike or muskellunge in vegetated areas.

Anglers are reminded that fishing conditions on Lake Erie can change hourly and adjustments are often necessary to improve success.  Anglers should take into account factors such as water temperature, cloud cover, water clarity, boat traffic, wave action, structures, currents, and the amount of baitfish in the area.  Anglers are also reminded to carefully monitor Lake Erie weather and to seek safe harbor before storms approach.

Updated LAke Erie Fishing Reports Online

During the season, updated Lake Erie fishing reports are available online at and by calling 1-888-HOOKFISH.  Division of Wildlife staff members are available from 8 5 p.m. weekdays at our research station facilities at Fairport Harbor (440-352-4199) for Central Basin information and at Sandusky (419-625-8062) for Western Basin information.  For additional information on lodging, charter boat services and local launch ramps, contact one of the following lakeshore visitors’ bureaus:

Ashtabula County Convention & Visitors Bureau – 800-337-6746
Lake County Visitors Bureau – 800-368-5253
Convention & Visitors Bureau of Greater Cleveland – 800-321-1001
Visit Lorain County – 800-334-1673
Erie County Visitors Bureau – 800-255-3743
Sandusky County Visitors Bureau – 800-255-8070
Ottawa County Visitors Bureau – 800-441-1271
Greater ToledoConvention & Visitors Bureau – 800-243-4667
Ohio Division of Travel & Tourism – 800-BUCKEYE

Information on the Division of Wildlife’s Lake Erie research and management programs, fisheries resources, open lake and steelhead fishing reports, as well as maps and links to other Lake Erie web resources are available at Be sure to choose the “Fishing” icon from the Division’s homepage, and then select “Lake Erie Fishing” from the list at the bottom of that page.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all.  Visit the ODNR Web site

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Portage Lakes Drawdown Oct 18th

COLUMBUS, OH – Lake levels will be dropped at several areas of Portage Lakes State Park beginning October 18 to allow for dock repairs, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.  The water will remain lowered until November 15.

Lakes in the Portage Lakes chain that will be affected by the annual drawdown include East Reservoir, West Reservoir, North Reservoir, Turkeyfoot Lake, Mud Lake and Rex Lake.  The levels of Summit Lake, Nesmith Lake, Long Lake, Nimisila Reservoir, Comet Lake and Camp Y-Noah will not be affected.

While the lakes are lowered, area residents will have the opportunity to make needed repairs to docks and seawalls.  The lake levels will be lowered by 15 inches during the month-long period, then refilled to their normal levels.  The refill process will take approximately seven days, depending on weather conditions.

Portage Lakes State Park consists of eight lakes encompassing 2,034 acres in southern Summit County. Additional park facilities include a campground, picnic areas, nature trails and a public swimming beach as well as a dog park and dog beach.

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

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