Friday, July 19, 2019 Elyria 75°
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Outdoors

Outdoors: Area parks are good getaways ... if it ever stops raining

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It’s been a wet spring for everyone. If fact, when it’s over it likely will go down as one of the wettest on record — definitely less than ideal for outdoor recreation.

Now halfway through June, things should hopefully be changing. With the kids out of school, families will be vacationing and getting away.

Locally, there are plenty of opportunities to do things that are inexpensive and convenient. Within a few hours drive are several places families can hike, bike, camp, kayak or pariticipate in any outdoor pursuit that fits their interest.

Locally, watersports run the show. With Lake Erie and the surrounding rivers and lakes, kayaking and fishing are the two most popular activities. From the Grand River east of Cleveland to local waters like the Black and Vermilion rivers, there are a lot of great paddles and opportunities to wildlife watch within the area.

Several area places offer rentals, so having your own kayak and gear is not required.

If you’re looking to stay in Ohio, a trip a couple of hours south to Hocking Hills is always a hit. It’s one of the more picturesque areas in the state and a place I spent much time at throughout my college days as a student at Ohio University. It’s about a three-hour drive from home and there is something for everyone — cabins, hiking, camping, zip lining.

Some of the more popular sections at Hocking Hills are Old Man’s Cave and Cedar Falls. You can also find shopping, breweries and wineries in the area.

If looking for a day trip, drive south for about an hour to Loudonville’s Mohican State Park. Kayaking the Mohican River is a favorite hobby of many. There’s also plenty of hiking, campgrounds and cabins for those who want a different activity or to extend their stay a little longer.

One of the most popular out-of-state trips for outdoorsy Ohioans is just a couple of hours east in Pennsylvania’s Allegheny National Forest. The picturesque beauty of green in the trees and clean water provides plenty of options for the outdoorsman.

The ANF offers kayaking, fishing, hiking trails, backpacking and camping. Much of the recreation in the area stems from the Allegheny River. You take Route 80 to get there, so pricey tolls are avoided on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The most popular areas are the Kinzua Sky Walk and Kinzua Creek Trail.

Sometimes getting away for a period of time isn’t always an option. But with the public lands and water we have in Northeast Ohio, a couple of hours outdoors can provide needed peace and quiet.

Findley State Park, Lorain County Metro Parks and the Cuyahoga Valley National Park have family friendly hiking and biking. Many parks are pet-friendly, too, so your friends don’t have to stay home or be boarded.

Now, it’s just time to wait out the weather and hope for a reversal of fortune when it comes to rainfall. We certainly could use a break.

Contact Brad Zahar at bzaharoutdoors@gmail.com.
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