Time to sound off about Ohio outdoor recreation

This is the time of year when you are itching to get outside. Those temps last week said “go, go,” but the calendar and the forecasts say “not so fast.”

Even if you are not about to venture past your front door, this is the time of year you can tell those responsible with providing outdoor activities and facilities just what you think. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has two opportunities for the public to sound off about facilities, activities and laws pertaining to outdoor recreation.

• ODNR is conducting an online survey, asking Ohioans about the outdoor recreational activities they enjoy the most. Ohio residents can share their opinions about their favorite activities, and any new or expanded outdoor recreational opportunities they would like to see in Ohio.

The survey is available through March 8 at ohiostateparks.org/research.

• Ohioans are invited to offer public comment regarding the proposed and future hunting, trapping and fishing regulations at open houses scheduled across the state on Saturday from noon to 3 p.m.

This would be a good time to share your feelings about any issues pertaining to wildlife, and the deer seasons in particular. ODNR Division of Wildlife biologists and law enforcement officers will be available to answer questions and receive comments. Those unable to attend an open house can provide comments online at wildohio.gov.

In southwest Ohio the open house will be held at the Greene County Fish and Game, 1538 Union Road, Xenia. For questions, call 937-372-9261.

A statewide hearing on all of the proposed rules will be held at the Wildlife District One office on March 16, at 9 a.m.

The Ohio Wildlife Council will vote on the proposed rules and season dates during its April 12 meeting after considering public input.

Maple fest: Hueston Woods State Park will host its 51st annual Maple Syrup Festival on Saturday and next Sunday and March 11-12 from noon-4 p.m. A pancake breakfast, with locally made syrup, will be available at the park lodge. Throughout the weekend, concessions will be made available by the Friends of Hueston Woods and the Museum Association. Visitors can go on maple syrup tours, hay rides and hikes through the Big Woods State Nature Preserve. The nature center will also be open. For more information, call 513-524-4250.

Wildlife conference: The Ohio Department of Natural Resources will host its annual Wildlife Diversity Conference on March 7 from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at the Ohio Union on the Ohio State University campus. This year's theme is "From Dusk to Dawn: Nocturnal Revelations." It's all about wildlife that lives under the cover of darkness. Doors will open at 8 a.m. Lunch ($18) will be available for those who take part in pre-registration. For more information, visit ohiodnr.gov/Wildlife/DiversityRegistration.

Safety class: A class entitled About Boater Safety will be offered at Eagle Creek Marine, 5700 Poe Avenue, Dayton on March 25 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. The cost is $15 or $20 to keep the course book. Pre-register by calling Sharon Hounshell at 937-890-5964.