Owning a boat requires a lot of work, but with a new map created by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, you won't have trouble finding a place to use it.

Boating Boon

Owning a boat requires a lot of work, but with a new map created by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, you won't have trouble finding a place to use it.

Behold one of the most useful, comprehensive tools for enjoying the great outdoors: the updated Ohio Boating Areas map.

Available in a print brochure and online, it lists every access point, marina and launch ramp on the state's lakes and rivers. Safety regulations, boating tips and registration info are also included.

If you're running a johnboat, kayak or canoe, be sure to check out the related stream access database - a guide to paddling entry points on smaller streams and rivers.

Web: ohiodnr.com/watercraft

On the Waterfront

Here's a tip o' the cap to Touch the Earth Adventures, based in the Hocking Hills, for combining two of my favorite outdoor activities. The group will host Birding by Kayak trips June 27-28, July 25-26 and Sept. 27 on various waterways in Southeast Ohio.

Trips cost $40 if you need equipment, $20 if you're bringing a boat and gear. Each excursion will be led by Julie Davis, president of Columbus Audubon, and paddlers of all skill levels are welcome.

On Saturday, kayakers will head to Hammertown Lake, near Jackson, at 4:30 p.m. On Sunday, they'll hit Strouds Run Lake in Athens at 7:30 a.m. Both trips last about three hours.

Web: hockinghills.com/earthtouch

Going Green

Dawes Arboretum has done its part in conserving natural landscapes. Now the Newark nature preserve, located 35 miles east of Columbus, wants to teach others how to be responsible stewards of the environment.

Its "Going Green" class will be held at 4 p.m. Wednesday, July 1, and will cover green audits of the workplace and other practical steps toward sustainability. The program is free, but registration is required by June 29.

Web: dawesarb.org

Sleep Tight

Writing this weekly column, my hope is that you'll take the opportunity to explore the wonderful natural resources in the region. This weekend, you can start in your own backyard. Literally.

The Great American Backyard Campout on Saturday, June 27, is a national event that encourages individuals, friends and families to sleep under the stars.

I recommend bringing a sleeping bag, tent, bug spray and a flashlight, but all you really need is a small patch of grass. After one night outside, your life will never be the same.

Web: nwf.org/backyardcampout

Glass Act

Franklin Park Conservatory will unveil Chihuly Reimagined on Saturday, July 4. The latest installation from renowned glassblower Dale Chihuly will feature thousands of individual pieces. It will remain on display through March.

Web: fpconservatory.org

Weekend hike: Salamander Search

Ohio is home to about 25 species of salamander, so you're sure to find a few during this hands-on hike at Highbanks Metro Park in Lewis Center.

Naturalists will lead visitors on a 2.5-mile jaunt through ravines and creeks at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 28, to search for intriguing amphibians. Bring old clothes and wading shoes. Meet at the Nature Center.

Web: metroparks.net

Outdoor Tip of the Month: Tracking storms

Nothing ruins a good backpacking trip like bad weather, but knowing when the sky is about to dump can save a headache. One way to track a coming storm is listening for distant sounds that seem louder than usual. This happens because a lower cloud ceiling forces noise to dissipate out instead of up. Low clouds signal imminent precipitation. Thanks to Field & Stream for the advice.

For more outdoor adventures and Nature Notes, click to the Venture blog at ColumbusAlive.com.