Folks who love Ohio's outdoors aren't a shy bunch. They're likely to show their passion for hunting, fishing, boating and other outdoor pursuits in quiet, but clearly visible ways. From slogans and logos on ball caps and t-shirts to bumper stickers on cars and boats, outdoor enthusiasts will find some way to tell the world: I love ______!
An increasingly popular way to boast sporting pride is with a conservation license plate, a more lasting and meaningful version of the tried-and-true bumper sticker. Patterned after commemorative license plates that reflect college emblems or military honors, these special plates have found their greatest appeal among the state's outdoor enthusiasts. And, in the 10 years since their first appearance, these plates have contributed nearly $13,000,000 to a variety of conservation efforts in Ohio.
The Lake Erie license plate was the first of this breed, introduced in 1993. Featuring Ottawa County's Marblehead Lighthouse, one of the lake's most enduring (and endearing) landmarks, this plate appeals to a broad array of boaters and anglers anyone who appreciates and enjoys Ohio's Great Lake.
Like all conservation plates, most of the $25 additional license fee for each set of Lake Erie plates goes to support a special cause. In this case, it's the Lake Erie Protection Fund for research that promotes the continued health of the lake's ecosystem. A portion of the extra fee goes to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to cover their costs.
Two other conservation plate designs are successfully raising funds for Ohio's wildlife diversity programs. The Cardinal plate, featuring the official state bird, raises funds to reverse population declines in Ohio wildlife species and to restore fragile habitats in which those species thrive.
Similarly, the Bald Eagle plate generates important funding for wildlife diversity by highlighting Ohio's successful efforts to restore the American bald eagle in our state. In 1979 Ohio recorded only four bald eagle nests in the state; this past spring a record 78 eagle pairs raised a total of 105 eaglets in nests across the state.
Ducks Unlimited (DU), the international conservation organization, supports its efforts in Ohio to restore wetlands and other waterfowl habitat with sales of a special DU license plate.
A completely new look has been given to the Scenic Rivers plate (online ordering information
) and its one that will likely hold a specific appeal for anglers. Originally introduced in 1995, the redesigned plate now pictures a leaping sport fish, a symbol chosen because fish and other aquatic life are the best barometers of a clean and healthy stream. Proceeds from Scenic River plate sales support stream quality monitoring projects and land acquisition along Ohios 20 scenic river segments.
If you're looking for more information about Ohio's conservation license plates, check out the Bureau of Motor Vehicles website
(where you can also order plates on-line) at: www.oplates.com or visit your nearest Deputy Registrar.
Whichever version you choose, you'll join thousands of Ohio sportsmen and sportswomen who support their favorite pastime with the purchase of conservation plates then let their bumpers do the talking about Ohios great outdoors.