Specified areas and trails within Cincinnati Parks throughout the year are closed for portions of time for trail restoration, environmental restoration or controlled bow hunting in order to sustain the natural resources and wildlife within the parks. Please review the below table for a full list of trail notifications. Learn more about our Controlled Bow Hunting program.
There are no active long term trail closures at this time. Cincinnati Parks staff and volunteers do daily and weekly projects maintaining our vast and beautiful trail system. Please abide by any temporary signs you may come across while hiking for ecological restoration projects in process. If you would like to volunteer for Conservation and Land Stewardship please click here to see opportunities you can help.
One of the greatest challenges throughout our park system is the loss of young tree seedlings and spring wildflowers, due to the over population of white-tailed deer. This loss alters forest composition and the long-term regeneration of future forest. As a result of this changing ecosystem, all of the wildlife depending upon these resources are negatively impacted.
White-tailed deer are considered a keystone species, known for affecting other organisms in an ecosystem. They are browsers, meaning they eat all forms of plant material including seedlings, leaves, buds, flowers, fruit, bark, young trees and branches. Without the presence of keystone predators, like mountain lions, wolves, and black bear, the uncontrolled overpopulation of deer threatens the natural environment by reducing the diversity of plant life. When left unchecked the forest becomes over-browsed of favorite deer species, such as oak trees, changing the composition of the forest for park patrons to enjoy now and into the future.
The controlled bow hunting program has been well-established since 2008 with an outstanding safety record thanks to an annual mandatory skills test each hunter must pass in order to qualify for the program. Beyond this, all qualified hunters receive educational training delivered by Parks Natural Resource Management staff on the Park Board’s hunting regulations and safety requirements. In discussion with hunters in our parks, park users are regularly found hiking within the designated zones. Therefore, hunters have grown accustomed to creating buffer zones by setting up further from populated areas and popular trails.
Be Aware. Whenever enjoying our parks be mindful of your surroundings including the other recreational activities taking place in the forest. If you do not feel comfortable hiking in a hunting zone, click here for a list of parks with trails outside of these zones.
Be Seen. Bright colors are encouraged all year round to improve visibility and make it easier for rescue personnel if visitors become lost, sick, or injured while on trails. When entering a controlled bow hunting zone, it is important to wear bright colors, especially true during sunrise and sunset, since you’ll be less visible and have less visibility in the dim light.
Be Smart. Stay on marked trails. All hunting zones have been set at least 30 feet (the distance a bow can travel) away from marked trails.
Dogs on leash. Dogs are permitted on most trails on 6 ft leashes. Keep your dog on leash when hiking the trails.
Parks considered other available options before deciding on controlled bow hunting to reduce the deer herd. Two of the options we get the most questions about are Trap/Release and Contraception. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife (DOW) does not allow trap and release programs in our state. Studies haven shown over 60% of the deer do not survive within a year of relocation due to stress. Contraception is considered to be experimental in the state of Ohio, and can only be approved by the DOW as a research project. The Cincinnati Park Board and the DOW have recently approved a research project to sterilize the deer in the Clifton parks – Rawson/Edgewood and Mt. Storm. Female deer (does) will be tranquilized, transported to a mobile veterinary facility, and have their ovaries removed. They will be ear tagged for future reference, some will be radio collared to monitor movement. The stated objectives of this 3 year project are to reduce the population and to quantify local immigration rates.
In order to maintain a Magrish & California Woods as preserves, all species within the preserve must be managed to support all of the other species. When one species dominates the preserve (whether it is honeysuckle or deer) the rest of the species (plants & animals) that depend on them for food or nesting suffer and the preserve supports fewer species.
White-tailed deer are considered a keystone species, known for affecting other organisms in an ecosystem. They are browsers, meaning they eat all forms of plant material including seedlings, leaves, buds, flowers, fruit, bark, young trees and branches. Without the presence of keystone predators, like mountain lions, wolves, and black bears, the uncontrolled overpopulation of deer threatens the natural environment by reducing the diversity of plant life. When left unchecked the forest becomes over-browsed of favorite deer species, such as oak trees, changing the composition of the forest for park patrons to enjoy now and into the future.
The hunters are allowed to keep the meat or donate it to food banks.
We work to get the best and most accurate hunters in an effort to reduce the chances of a wounded deer not being claimed or wandering onto a neighbor’s property. However, even with the best hunters, there is still a chance of a deer dying on private property. Hunters are not allowed to enter private property without permission of the property owner. If a hunter requests permission to enter your property to track or retrieve a deer it is our hope that the property owner will allow this. Any problems can be reported to your local police department or Natural Resource Management office 513.861.9070 from Monday to Friday 9am – 4pm.