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Ohio Department of Natural Resources Hosts Record Crowds for Total Solar Eclipse Viewing


Over 150,000 spectators gathered at Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) locations statewide to witness the awe-inspiring total solar eclipse. Supported by Governor Mike DeWine, ODNR staff ensured a safe and memorable experience for visitors, offering educational programs and accessibility accommodations. Law enforcement presence and partnership with Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) further enhanced the event’s success, highlighting ODNR’s commitment to environmental stewardship and public engagement.

Full Report:

Columbus, Ohio – The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) celebrated a landmark event as more than 150,000 people flocked to ODNR locations across the state to witness the rare spectacle of a total solar eclipse on Monday.

Governor Mike DeWine expressed pride in Ohio’s role as a destination for eclipse enthusiasts, stating, “People from all around the world came to Ohio to witness the splendor of the total solar eclipse. ODNR helped showcase how Ohio is the Heart of it All by ensuring dozens of natural spaces were free, accessible, and safe for visitors.”

ODNR staff were strategically positioned statewide to welcome visitors for this once-in-a-lifetime event. Preparation and coordination among ODNR divisions ensured that state parks, wildlife areas, nature preserves, and forests provided safe and enjoyable viewing opportunities.

ODNR Director Mary Mertz remarked, “Ohio’s outdoor spaces were the perfect setting for this natural wonder, whether people wanted to be standing along our beautiful rivers, in the clearing of towering trees, or among the sunny glow of Lake Erie. Visitors enjoyed an unforgettable experience in a safe, family-friendly setting enabled by our dedicated staff.”

Key ODNR locations, including Headlands Beach State Park, witnessed significant crowds, prompting the deployment of nearly 300 law enforcement officers statewide. Natural Resources Officers and Wildlife Officers ensured safety along the eclipse’s path of totality, while additional officers monitored areas outside the path.

Leading up to the eclipse, ODNR’s Division of Parks and Watercraft and Division of Wildlife hosted over 300 educational programs for visitors. Partnering with Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD), ODNR provided LightSound devices at 30 locations, allowing users to experience the eclipse’s changes through audible tones.

Furthermore, ODNR’s Division of Wildlife encouraged citizen science participation through the iNaturalist research project and provided a digital field guide for nocturnal wildlife observations.

As ODNR commemorates its 75th anniversary, the department remains dedicated to protecting Ohio’s natural resources while offering exceptional recreational opportunities. The public is invited to join ODNR in celebrating 75 years of conservation and outdoor exploration in 2024.

ODNR continues to uphold a balance between the responsible use and preservation of natural resources for the benefit of all Ohioans. For more information, visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.