Using public Ohio DNR data I created a visualization of the Ohio deer harvest for the past four seasons. The harvest is shown geographically color coded by county. Hovering the cursor over a county will give the seasonal harvest count for that county. The slide control lets you view four different seasons. Counties are color coded from least deer harvested (light green) to most deer harvested (dark green). The visualization can be viewed here.
In February 2014 we visited Greenville Falls State Scenic River Area, north of Dayton. It is a 92-acre park, owned by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources but managed by the Miami County Part District. The falls consist of a scenic, 20-foot cascade in Greenville Creek. The park also features ruins of historical interest, nearly a mile of trail, access to fishing spots, a limestone natural arch, picnic areas, kiosks, interpretive signs, and a port-a-potty.
Zooming in on the falls from the bridge that crosses Greenville Creek. The water in the creek was high and moving rapidly from recent rain and melting snow.
Last Saturday we participated in the winter hike at Clear Creek Metro Park. This 5,382-acre Metro Park is located on the border of Hocking and Fairfield Counties; it features 14 miles of hiking trails.
Fallen trees lean over trail. They are high enough to walk under.
Ramser Arboretum is a 680-acre arboretum in Knox County that is privately-owned, but open to the public (except during deer-gun season). It features more than five miles of hiking trails that may be used by cross country skiers during the winter.
Wide path through the woods
On the occasion of its fiftieth anniversary, the Annual Hocking Hills Winter Hike set an attendance record with over 5300 people attending. Five hundred lucky people received a commemorative hiking stick. Bob and I just hiked the Old Man’s Cave portion of the hike this year.
Looking out from Old Man’s Cave.
On New Year’s Day we went on our first hike of the year: a birding hike at Blacklick Woods Metro Park. About twenty people joined a park naturalist, Colleen, for the two-mile hike. If you’re beginning birders like us, it’s really helpful to join up with a group such as this. On a number of occasions the naturalist or other members of the group pointed out birds that I’m sure I would have missed otherwise. We also learned some of the places that certain species of bird like to frequent, so when we are out by ourselves we can fall back on our new found knowledge.
Juvenile, red-tailed hawk experiencing his first winter.
In reviewing 2014, we’ve come up with our annual TrekOhio highlights!
Best Hike of the Year
We’ve excluded the Hocking Hills Winter Hike, which otherwise would probably win best hike every year. Beyond this annual hike, below are our favorites for this year.
Deb: My favorite hike for the year was the one that we took at the Headlands Dunes State Nature Preserve. Living miles from the ocean, it is easy to forget that Ohio has beach dunes, but thanks to Lake Erie, we do. The hike is very scenic, and the dune plants are rare and intersting. And we were both surprised to see a deer grazing on the beech!
Approaching Lake Erie while hiking at the Headlands Dunes State Nature Preserve
Dawes Arboretum located in Central Ohio consists of 1,800 acres of formal gardens, fields, ponds, and forests, including eight miles of hiking trails. Among its facilities are a visitors center, rest rooms, picnic areas and shelters. The meticulously maintained formal gardens are a popular venue for weddings.
Bridges in Japanese garden
At 320 acres Gifford State Forest is the smallest state forest owned by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). The sign at the trailhead suggests that there are a total of 4.7 miles of trail. We hiked most of those miles this past July, and here’s our report as to what they’re like.
What’s referred to as The Ridges is over 1000 acres of land owned by the Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. The university makes use of a number of buildings on this land to house administrative offices, an art gallery and an art museum, among other things. In addition the Ohio University has allowed non-profit organizations to develop a number of trail through the area. Among them are the Ridges Trail, the Athens Trail, the Ridges Cemetery Nature Walk, and the River Valley Nature Trail. Today I’ll be focusing on the Ridges Trail which leads to Athens’ highest point, Radar Hill. I’ll also briefly touch on the Ridges Cemetery Nature Walk. In a previous article on Strouds Run and Sells Park, we discussed hiking a different portion of the Athens Trail.
View from Radar Hill, the highest point in Athens.