The chill of winter leaves many of us feeling trapped in our homes while we wait on the spring thaw. To help the family beat back the winter blues, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) has fun outdoor activities happening across the state throughout the month of January.
Full Moon Owl Prowl at Burr Oak State Park – Experience the winter woodland landscape under the light of a full moon as we call for our night hunters on Friday, Jan. 13. A short slide presentation will precede this 1.5-mile walk. Meet in the Sandpiper room at the lodge at Burr Oak State Park at 7 p.m., and the event will last until 9 p.m. Burr Oak State Park is located at 10220 Burr Oak Lodge Road, Glouster 45732. For questions, contact the state park office at 740-767-3570.
‘Service in the Preserves’ at Siegenthaler Esker State Nature Preserve – We are seeking volunteers to help us remove several piles of invasive species from the Siegenthaler Esker State Nature Preserve in Champaign County. This activity will be held at Siegenthaler Esker State Nature Preserve on Saturday, Jan. 14, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Columbus Audubon’s ‘Service in the Preserves’ team has been helping state nature preserves for more than 33 years. To join the team and receive directions, contact Natalie Pirvu at 614-265-6466.
Orienteering and Mapping Training at Chaparral Prairie State Nature Preserve – Ever wondered how to use a compass or use a map to navigate over the landscape? Join us on Saturday, Jan. 14, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. for a course on orienteering and mapping. Participants should meet at Chaparral Prairie State Nature Preserve at 10 a.m. or meet at the lobby at the lodge at Shawnee State Park at 9:15 a.m. for a ride. This informal class will allow participants to learn in a classroom and then put these tools to use in a real world situation. Pack a lunch and dress in layers. The group will meet at Chaparral Prairie State Nature Preserve, which is located at 209 Hawk Hill Road, West Union 45693.
Winter Hike at Lake Loramie State Park – Meet at the maintenance area in the campground at 1 p.m. at Lake Loramie State Park on Saturday, Jan. 14, for a winter hike on a trail with a lake view from 1-3 p.m. Afterward, we will serve refreshments, and the kids can make a take-home craft. Lake Loramie State Park is located at 4401 Ft. Loramie Swanders Road, Minster 45865. Call 937-843-2717 for more information.
Winter Hike at Boch Hollow State Nature Preserve – Enjoy a peaceful yet invigorating 4-mile hike on Saturday, Jan. 14, through a variety of habitats on the new trail system at Boch Hollow State Nature Preserve. Many water and rock features of the preserve are now visible from the trail and frequently ice up during this time of year, creating beautiful winter scenes. The hike starts at 1 p.m. and will finish around 4 p.m. Hot chocolate will be served after the hike. The trail is strenuous, traversing many valleys and ridges, and people should wear sturdy shoes. Meet at 1 p.m. at the Boch Hollow office at 7211 Bremen Road, Logan 43138.
Winter Weeds at Burr Oak State Park – For people who have noticed dried plant parts in the winter and wondered what they were, the “Winter Weeds” hike on Saturday, Jan. 14, at Burr Oak State Park is a perfect opportunity to focus on identifying fall and summer wildflowers by looking at their dried parts. The naturalist will guide participants from 2-4 p.m. through the identification process with the use of a winter weed finder guide (provided) leading to the proficiency of participants in recognizing these vestiges of fall and summer. Meet in the lobby of the Burr Oak State Park Lodge and Conference Center at 2 p.m. Burr Oak State Park is located at 10220 Burr Oak Lodge Road, Glouster 45732. For questions, contact the state park office at 740-767-3570.
Winter Hike at Mohican State Park – Winter is an excellent season to see native wildlife, birds and majestic trees while hiking. The winter hike at Mohican State Park will be held on Sunday, Jan. 15, from 10 a.m.-noon. This hike will begin at the commissary, which is located at the park’s Class A campground, just outside Loudonville on State Route 3 in Ashland County. Three general hikes – a 5K and a longer 10K hike and an interpretive hike are planned. Trails run from moderate to difficult. Hikes, led by volunteers from the Mohican Trails Club and an Ohio State Park naturalist, will begin and end at the commissary. Warm fire, hot soup, cookies and drinks will be provided after the hike. This event is free and open to the public. The Mohican Trails Club welcomes donations to be used for trail maintenance and repair. Mohican State Park is located at 3116 State Route 3, Loudonville 44842, and people may call the park office at 419-994-5125 with any questions.
52nd Annual Winter Hike at Hocking Hills State Park – This self-guided hike at Hocking Hills State Park, located at 19852 State Route 664 South, Logan 43138, will be held on Saturday, Jan. 21, with continuous starts from 9-11 a.m. This rugged hike offers a 3-mile or 6-mile trek, allowing hikers to see noteworthy sights such as Old Man’s Cave, Cedar Falls and Ash Cave. This remains the most popular winter hike in the Ohio State Parks system, and millions of hikers visit this nationally recognized park throughout the year. Hikers are encouraged to wear layers and appropriate footwear for winter conditions. Refreshments are available at Cedar Falls, and donations are appreciated. Shuttle buses will return hikers to Old Man’s Cave from both Cedar Falls and Ash Cave. Call 740-385-6841 for more information.
Polar Plunge at Mosquito Lake State Park – Join us for a whacky winter fundraising event at the beach at Mosquito Lake State Park on Saturday, Jan. 21. Registration starts around 10 a.m., and the plunge starts at approximately 1:30 p.m. Visit sooh.org or call 614-239-7050 for registration and more information. Mosquito Lake State Park is located at 1439 State Route 305, Cortland 44410.
Winter Hike at Christmas Rocks State Nature Preserve – The approximately 5-mile hike at Christmas Rocks State Nature Preserve on Sunday, Jan. 22, from 1-4 p.m. will move up and downhill through different habitats, including a beautiful overlook at Jacob’s Ladder. Along the way, we will discuss plant and animal adaptations for winter survival. Hikers should dress appropriately for winter weather and wear sturdy footwear. Christmas Rocks State Nature Preserve is located at 2340 Meister Road SW, Lancaster 43130.
Fireside Chat: Reptiles at Burr Oak State Park – Join the naturalist for an informal discussion about reptiles at Burr Oak State Park by the fireplace in the lodge lobby on Friday, Jan. 27, at 3:30 p.m. People will enjoy meeting a special guest. Burr Oak State Park is located at 10220 Burr Oak Lodge Road, Glouster 45732. For questions, contact the state park office at 740-767-3570.
Artistic Make and Take at Shawnee State Park – People should bring their creativity to life during this fun workshop with local artist Dawn Richards on Saturday, Jan. 28. People participating should wear old clothes, come with an open mind and be ready to discover their imaginations from 1-3 p.m. in the lower lodge lobby at Shawnee State Park. Look for an art program with Dawn each season. The address for the Shawnee Lodge and Conference Center is 4404B State Route 125, West Portsmouth 45663. For questions, contact the state park office at 740-858-6652.
Getting outdoors is an ideal way to relieve stress and improve your mood. The new Explore Ohio initiative is aimed at encouraging people to exercise outdoors and become healthier in the process, which lines up with New Year’s resolutions made by many Ohio residents for 2017. Participants can track their miles, share their photos and create friends groups on the Explore Ohio website at ExploreOh.com. Whether people are running, hiking, biking, climbing, walking or paddling, Ohioans can keep track of their progress at ExploreOh.com and share their adventures on social media using #ExploreOhio.
Winter rates for overnight stays at Ohio State Parks are currently in effect. This is the perfect opportunity to see some of the newly renovated cabins at many of Ohio’s state parks at a discounted rate, including Buck Creek, Cowan Lake, Dillon, Hocking Hills, Mohican, Pike Lake and Pymatuning state parks. Go to parks.ohiodnr.gov/wintercamping to learn more.