This map from TourismOhio shows the path of the solar eclipse viewing areas.

Get prepared for eclipse trips

By Matt Reese

On April 8, there will be a rare total solar eclipse visible in the United States from southwestern Texas northeast through Maine. Among the very best viewing locations in the world is a 124-mile-wide swath across western to northern Ohio, which is expected to attract many visitors to the state on eclipse trips.

solar eclipse occurs when the moon casts its shadow on the earth as it passes between the earth and the sun. In the upcoming total solar eclipse, the moon will appear to totally obscure the sun.

A solar eclipse generally happens somewhere on earth every year and a half or so, but the last total solar eclipse visible in Ohio was in 1806 and the next total solar eclipse in Ohio will be in the year 2099, according to TourismOhio of the Ohio Department of Development.

Here are some other interesting facts from TourismOhio about the upcoming total solar eclipse:

• The 2024 total solar eclipse in Ohio will last less than five minutes, while a partial solar eclipse will be visible for much longer before and after the total eclipse.

• In Cleveland, the partial eclipse will begin at 1:59 p.m. with totality beginning at 3:13, maxing out at 3:15 and the partial is ending at 4:29 p.m.

• The total solar eclipse starts in western Ohio on April 8, 2024, beginning at 3:08 p.m. with the final exit of the moon’s shadow from the far northeastern corner of the state at 3:19 p.m.

• The moon will be relatively closer to the Earth during the 2024 eclipse. The closer proximity will allow the eclipse to be larger and last longer in duration.

Celestial events of this magnitude in the past have drawn vast crowds of spectators from every corner of the country to the best viewing areas. Invited or not, visitors from afar will likely be travelling to Ohio watch the unique event. Local municipalities are implementing plans, some schools are closing and authorities are preparing for potentially huge crowds flocking to Ohio for April 8.

Rural residents should plan accordingly for eclipse watchers looking for a place to park and view the spectacle.

“From a legal perspective I think we’re hearing a lot of concerns about landowner liability. Maybe people are going to try to come on our property to watch the eclipse. They might try to park on the side of the road, so from a legal perspective, a landowner’s liability to someone for an injury or some sort of harm that might happen is largely based on whether and to what extent the landowner has what we call a ‘duty of care’ to that person,” said Leah Curtis, policy council with Ohio Farm Bureau. “Trespassing is always a big concern and it can get a little sticky to deal with. So, one thing that you can do is try to ensure your property is marked with signs. What a ‘No Trespassing’ sign does is, it’s helpful to put people on notice that they’re not welcome on your property. So, well-meaning people that may just have unintentionally stumbled upon your property, when they see those signs, they’re going to know, ‘I’m not supposed to be here.’ If there is a situation of a lawsuit or criminal charge that ‘No Trespassing’ sign can help as evidence that that person should have known they were trespassing.”

In addition, Curtis said locking doors to homes and outbuildings and adding physical barriers like temporary fences may be needed for additional safeguards. More landowner resources are available online at OhioFarmBureau.org including details about farm insurance, dealing with invited and uninvited guests, Ohio’s Agritourism Law and the state’s Recreational User Statute from Ohio State’s Agricultural & Resource Law Program, plus tips regarding risk and protecting your operation.

Some farms and rural communities are seizing the opportunity of the rare eclipse to welcome guests and new customers to the area. For example, a group of Crawford County farms has teamed up for a self-guided Farm Hop on April 6 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Some of the farms offer camping opportunities for eclipse watchers. The ticketed (but free) event includes a giveaway and features local fare including baked goods, meats, salad mixes, dried flowers, popcorn, cosmetic items, culinary items, maple syrup, honey, teas, and more for purchase from participating farms to capitalize on Ohio’s eclipse trips. 

For more resources from Ohio Farm Bureau to prepare landowners for April 8, visit: ofbf.org/2024/02/05/solar-eclipse-resources-for-ohio-landowners/.

For more about planning to watch the eclipse, visit development.ohio.gov/home/news-and-events/all-news/2024-0208-tourismohio-launches-new-feature-for-2024-solar-eclipse-trip-planning.

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