• 63°

A day at the lake

Eventgoers line the boardwalk at Lake Vesuvius during the 2010 Annual Wheelin’ Sportsmen Fishing Day event.

PEDRO — The Wayne National Forest will host the eighth annual Wheelin’ Sportsmen Fishing Day from 10:30 to 2 p.m. Thursday.

The event is sponsored by the National Wild Turkey Federation. With help from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife, Lake Vesuvius will be stocked with nearly 1,000 rainbow trout to help increase the anglers’ success.

The Wheelin’ Sportsmen Fishing day is planned for those restricted by age or disabilities, by utilizing the accessible boardwalk spanning Lake Vesuvius from the boat dock to the dam.

The Wheelin’ Sportsmen outreach program, established by the NWTF, intends to provide physically challenged individuals opportunities to participate in outdoor activities such as fishing, hunting, bird watching and others.

The fishing day is the result of multiple partnerships between the Wayne National Forest, the South Hills Longbeards Chapter of the NWTF, Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife, Ohio University Southern Nature Center, Lawrence County Bass Club, and City National Bank.

“This event is a set-aside day for special needs folks to help facilitate a good outdoor experience,” says Patrick Mercer, wildlife biologist on the Wayne National Forest. “Experiences like these are essential to foster a connection with nature and develop a greater appreciation for our natural resources. It’s a rewarding experience for everyone who participates.”

Several years ago, Lake Vesuvius was outfitted with a boardwalk that stretches along one of its shorelines, allowing for improved accessibility by persons with wide-ranging abilities. Because of the ideal features of the site, the event has been held at the lake for several years in a row, with prior attendance confirming that the event is valued by many in the area.

Lake Vesuvius is north of Ironton, off State Route 93, approximately one mile east on Lawrence County Road 29 (Paddle Creek Road).

The boat ramp parking lot will be utilized for mobility impaired arrivals and parking at the dock is reserved for those individuals, allowing for easier loading and unloading of wheelchairs and scooters. No private boats will be allowed in the area during the event.

Those persons interested in attending the Wheelin’ Sportsmen Fishing Day may pre-register by contacting the Ironton Ranger District at (740) 534-6500.