Storms strike Ohio state forests, DNR surveys 'significant' tree damage, closes recreation facilities after visitor becomes stranded

COLUMBUS, Ohio , July 5, 2012 (press release) – Many of Ohio’s State Forests suffered from significant tree damage, which has affected recreational facilities, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ (ODNR) Division of Forestry. These recreational facilities at southern Ohio State Forests will be temporarily closed until the damage is cleaned up.

Forest crews worked through the weekend opening roads and searched for visitors who may have been trapped. One visitor at Tar Hollow State Forest was reportedly out in the storm, and forest crews cleared the roadway to help the stranded visitor late Friday night. No injuries were reported.

“While we are still surveying the tree damage, our recreation facilities in the southern part of Ohio are closed for public safety reasons,” said Robert Boyles, chief of the ODNR Division of Forestry. “The storms caused branches and whole trees to block roads, trails and other recreation sites. Our staff will continue to work diligently to open these facilities as soon as they are safe, but it will take some time.”

Trails for bridle, hiking, all-purpose vehicles (APV), mountain biking and backpack, as well as associated camps, will be closed through the Independence Day holiday and until further notice. Updates will be posted on the ODNR Division of Forestry website at www.ohiodnr.com/forestry.

Ohio State Forests offer a variety of backcountry recreational opportunities on 21 state forests covering 200,000 acres. The ODNR Division of Forestry manages these lands for clean water and air, soil stabilization, timber, wildlife habitat, forest health and recreation.

The ODNR Division of Forestry works to promote the wise use and sustainable management of Ohio’s public and private woodlands.

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