COLUMBUS, OH – As we look ahead to 2018, this is the time of year when many people make New Year’s resolutions. When making resolutions this year, consider setting the goal to spend more time outdoors! If improving health and fitness is on your list of New Year’s resolutions, make sure to participate in the winter hikes ODNR is offering throughout the month of January to make the start of this new year great!
- End-the-Year-Right Hike at Burr Oak State Park – Finish off 2017 right with an invigorating walk through Burr Oak State Park’s beautiful forest on Saturday, Dec. 30! Wear sturdy hiking boots for this 3-mile hike. Meet at the nature center at 2 p.m. For more information, call 740-767-3570.
- Owl Walk at Mohican State Park – Welcome to an evening all about owls in Ohio at Mohican State Park on Saturday, Dec. 30, at 7 p.m. Learn about the different species of owls and their life histories. Then we will take a short hike to call our region’s most stealthy predator, the owl! Dress for the weather. Call 419-994-5125, ext. 20 to sign up. The walk will be easy to moderate. Meet at Camp Area A.
- New Year’s Eve Night Hike at Maumee Bay State Park – Maumee Bay State Park will be hosting our annual New Year’s Eve night hike on Sunday, Dec. 31! Meet at the nature center at 5:15 p.m. We will test our night vision on the boardwalk and bring in the new year naturally! All ages welcome, make sure to dress for the weather. For more information, call 419-836-7758.
- First Day Hike at Mohican State Park – Join the naturalist at Mohican State Park on Monday, Jan. 1, 2018, at 10 a.m. to bring in 2018 with a continuous hike from Camp Area A through beautiful Lyons Falls, Pleasant Hill Dam, the Mohican covered bridge, Hemlock Gorge Trail and back. Meet at the nature center, which is located at the park’s Class A campground, just south of Loudonville on State Route 3 in Ashland County. For more information, call 419-994-4290.
- New Year’s Day Hike at Maumee Bay State Park – Welcome in the new year and get started on those resolutions at Maumee Bay State Park by taking a naturalist-guided stroll around our 2-mile boardwalk through the beautiful Lake Erie marsh. Meet at the nature center at 10 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. The boardwalk is easy to walk and wheelchair/stroller accessible, dress for the weather. For more information, call 419-836-7758.
- First Day Hike at Hueston Woods State Park – Meet at the nature center at Hueston Woods State Park to help bring in the new year on Monday, Jan. 1, at 1 p.m. Hike our 3-mile loop trail through a scenic forest and close to Acton Lake’s shore. We will learn about native flora and fauna along the way. Hikers should wear appropriate footwear, and people should bring their vehicles, we will drive to the trailhead. For more information, call 513-523-6347.
- First Day Hike at Shawnee State Park – Get the year off to a good start on a fun relaxing walk through an oak hickory forest with family and friends in the center of the largest state forest in Ohio, Shawnee State Forest, along the 1-mile Lampblack Trail. Meet at the lodge lobby of Shawnee State Park at 1 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 1. Light refreshments will be served afterwards in the cozy, cheerfully decorated timber-framed lodge. For more information, call 740-858-6652.
- First Full Moon Hike at Lake Hope State Park – Begin a healthy new year by taking a 3-mile hike illuminated by the moon at Lake Hope State Park on Monday, Jan. 1, at 4:30 p.m. Bring a flashlight, dress in layers and wear sturdy shoes. Meet at the shelterhouse. For more information, call 740-596-4938.
- Owl Prowl at Lake Hope State Park – Discover the adaptations that make owls one of the top predators of the night. Meet at the Hope Furnace at Lake Hope State Park on Friday, Jan. 5, at 6 p.m. For more information, call the nature center at 740-596-3030.
- Birds of Winter at Burr Oak State Park – Winter is a great time for bird watching and learning to identify field marks—there are fewer birds, and the trees are bare! We will search for our Ohio winter bird residents on this short hike at Burr Oak State Park on Saturday, Jan. 6, at 10 a.m. Bring binoculars and dress warmly. Meet in the lodge lobby. For more information, call 740-767-3570.
- Water Wise at Shawnee State Park – Acquire new skills or brush up on old ones with Shawnee’s naturalist at the lodge indoor pool at Shawnee State Park on Saturdays in January (Jan. 6, 13, 20 and 27) at 10 a.m. Paddling, nautical knots and water safety are the themes of this fun water program. Bring a bathing suit and prepare to get wet. Attend four programs and receive a free hour of kayaking. For more information, call 740-858-6652.
- Nature Nook at Shawnee State Park – Visit with a naturalist at Shawnee State Park and learn more about our native wildlife and fun things to do in the area. Meet upstairs in the lodge from 12-2 p.m. on Saturdays in January (Jan. 6, 13, 20 and 27). For more information, call 740-858-6652.
- Section Hike at Shawnee State Park – Put your feet to the test on a section of the 60-mile Shawnee Backpack trail. Wear sturdy hiking boots, pack snacks and water, and be prepared to climb. Hikers should meet in the lodge lobby of Shawnee State Park on Saturday, Jan. 6, and Saturday, Jan. 13, at 1 p.m. For more information, call 740-858-6652.
- Winter Hike at Lake Hope State Park – Meet at the Hope Furnace on Saturday, Jan. 13, at 10 a.m. for a 3-mile hike on the Peninsula Loop trail to check out the wonders of nature in winter. Dress in layers and wear sturdy boots. For more information, call 740-596-4938.
- Winter Hike at Dillon State Park – Bundle up and join us as we witness the wonders of winter at Dillon State Park on Saturday, Jan. 13. This winter hike is about 2.5 miles long covering the Eagle Ridge Trail and Blackberry Ridge Trail. Deep ravines, rolling hills and beautiful lake views will be waiting. The hike is rated easy to moderate. Hikers are free to hike on their own, and naturalist-guided hikes will start at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Meet at the camp store to participant. This is a fantastic way to prepare for the Hocking Hills winter hike. There will be a fire in the camp store’s fire ring. The camp store will be open, and coffee and hot chocolate will be available. Call the park office with any questions at 740-453-4377 or contact the Dillon naturalist cabin at 740-452-0040.
- Off the Beaten Path at Burr Oak State Park – This winter hiking series will explore areas of the park not normally seen by hiking established trails. Wear sturdy footwear and be prepared for steep hills and uneven terrain on this 2-mile hike at Burr Oak State Park on Saturday, Jan. 13, at 2 p.m. Meet at the nature center. For more information, call 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. 14, starting at 10 a.m. The hike begins at the commissary, which is located at the park’s Class A campground, just south of Loudonville on State Route 3 in Ashland County. Hikers will be able to choose to do three general hikes – a 5K, a longer 10K and an interpretive hike led by a park naturalist. Trails run from moderate to difficult. Hikes will begin and end at the commissary. A 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. For more information, call 419-994-4290.
- Winter Hike at Lake Loramie State Park – Hikers should meet at the maintenance area at Lake Loramie State Park in the campground for a winter hike on Lakeview Trail on Saturday, Jan. 20, at 1 p.m. After the hike, we will have refreshments, and the kids can make a take-home craft. For more information, call 937-295-2011.
- Woody Plant Identification Hike at Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve – This woody plant identification hike will feature identifying characteristics of woody vegetation found at Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve on Saturday, Jan. 20, at 3 p.m. Winter is an ideal time to learn to identify trees and shrubs and the calcareous soils of the gorge supports a diverse community of plants. Sturdy foot wear is recommended for this moderately strenuous hike. People should meet at the nature center, which is south of the main parking lot at 2381 State Route 343, Yellow Springs, 45387. For more information on this hike, contact preserve manager at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 937-537-6173.
- Owl Prowl at Burr Oak State Park – Experience the winter woodland landscape at night as we call for our favorite nocturnal hunters—the owls. A short slide presentation will precede this 1-mile walk at Burr Oak State Park on Friday, Jan. 26. Meet in the Sandpiper room in the lodge at 7 p.m. For more information, call 740-767-3570.
- Winter Hike at Wingfoot Lake State Park – Winter is a wonderful time to explore the great outdoors! Join the naturalist on Saturday, Jan. 27, at 10 a.m. for a walk around Wingfoot Lake State Park to see what we can see in this winter wonderland. For more information, call 330-628-4720.
- Fireside Chat: Great Nature Reads at Burr Oak State Park – The naturalist at Burr Oak State Park will share some nature-themed book recommendations for both adults and young children on Saturday, Jan. 27, from 3-4 p.m. Bring your own to share! This event will be ongoing by the lodge fireplace. For more information, call 740-767-3570.
- Full Blue Moon Hike at Lake Hope State Park – The second full moon of the month renders it a blue moon! Enjoy a 2-mile hike at Lake Hope State Park on Wednesday, Jan. 31, at 6 p.m. along the closed Lake Ridge Road to the group camp area for a high vantage point to watch the moon. Bring a flashlight, and dress in layers. Meet at the Hope Furnace to caravan to the starting point. For more information, call the nature center at 740-596-3030.
To learn more about family-friendly events at Ohio’s state parks and state nature preserves, go to parks.ohiodnr.gov/calendar or naturepreserves.ohiodnr.gov/calendar.
Getting outdoors is an ideal way to relieve stress and boost mood levels. The Explore Ohio initiative is aimed at encouraging people to exercise outdoors and become healthier in the process. Participants can log 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. After reaching 100 combined miles of activity on the site, each registered user will receive an email with a certificate good for 15 percent off camping at any Ohio State Park.
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.