Falcons another way to get visitors to land

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 3, 2005

Two of the most prestigious residents in the state are living right here in Ironton - well, living under the Ironton-Russell Bridge actually.

Lucy, a 7-year-old peregrine falcon from Toronto, and her unnamed mate who is often called Outlaw have made a recess beneath the bridge home for at least the past 5 years. Each year, a new falcon family is born, much to the delight of visitors from near and far.

On Wednesday, Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Wildlife officials removed four baby falcons from the nest for a little check up. This delighted the more than three dozen onlookers from around the Tri-State who came to see.

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With only 22 pairs of peregrine falcons in the entire state, 19 of which have produced eggs this year, this summer spectacle is a perfect example of Ironton’s, and the county’s, untapped tourism potential.

Maybe, these often difficult to see birds wouldn’t be enough to bring someone to southern Ohio by themselves, but are another attraction that could be marketed together as a package with what we already have. Sadly, when you grab a map of things to do in Ohio, Lawrence County is scarcely a footnote.

We have to change that by pinpointing the county’s assets and building upon those. Lawrence County has so many attractions that are being underutilized, and the falcons are just the tip of the iceberg.

Of course, the annual Ironton-Lawrence County Memorial Day Parade is a great example of something unique, something that cannot be equaled anywhere else. Could more be done to promote the event nationally? Could some more events of broader interest be added that weekend to draw people here sooner?

Lake Vesuvius is often the most touted recreation destination in the county, and rightfully so. But what about pushing some of the other attractions such as Timbre Ridge Lake, Sky Lake or the Ohio River.

Couldn’t the county better utilize all the available riverfront property with fully developed parks, restaurants and shopping areas.

What about our heritage? Look at the Underground Railroad museum in Cincinnati. Why couldn’t the county build from that and create something on a smaller scale that would attract those interested in that location? Heck, we'd be thrilled if the Ohio Department of Transportation added some signage to direct U.S. 52 travelers to the proper exit for the Lawrence County Historical Museum.

So many possibilities are out there if the community is willing to work together and move forward.

Just as it is for those young falcons, the sky is truly the limit for Lawrence County.