Youngstown Vindicator: Ohio State Parks Week showed what we can offer to all


Youngstown Vindicator



During last week’s Ohio State Parks Week, many Buckeye State residents might have been surprised to learn there are 75 state parks, with recreational opportunities ranging from kayaking on Lake Erie to hiking to gorgeous, historic forests and formations.

“From Maumee Bay to Forked Run, our state parks add so much to our quality of life and make Ohio a great place to live,” said Gov. Mike DeWine. “I encourage you to celebrate our state parks by taking time to get outside and enjoy a walk along a Storybook Trail with your family, a day on the water with friends, or a hike to some of Ohio’s most scenic spots.”

Soon, a 76th state park will be in place, with development of a park near Xenia that will feature an interpretation center in partnership with the three federally recognized Shawnee tribes and Ohio History Connection. Our responsibility to appreciate and preserve the state’s history and natural wonders does not, after all, begin with 1787.

If you are not at least an occasional visitor to Ohio’s state parks and forests, you are missing out. There are plenty within easy driving distance, and they offer opportunities to unplug, unwind, spend a little time amid our state’s natural beauty, exercise, learn something … and still be back home in time for dinner. (Unless you want to eat dinner at one of the lodges, which also is a great option.)

If you already know what treasures we have here, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources has announced creation of the Ohio State Parks Foundation to protect, enhance and advocate for the state’s parks. At ohiostateparksfoundation.org you can vote for your favorite park, and you can learn about ways to support those parks.

In declaring Ohio State Parks Week, DeWine said, “Ohio State Parks economically benefit the state of Ohio as well as the communities around them, bringing visitors to local restaurants and lodging establishments…”

That’s just the beginning. Visit one and find out for yourself. But be prepared, once you see what our state parks have to offer, you’ll want to go back for more.

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