Lots to Do in Ohio State Parks | News, Sports, Jobs

Many Ohioans might be surprised to learn that there are 75 state parks, with recreational opportunities ranging from kayaking on Lake Erie to hiking through beautiful forests and historic formations.

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

Soon, a 76th state park will be in place, with the development of a park near Xenia that will include an interpretive 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’re not at least a casual visitor to Ohio State Parks and Forests, you’re missing something. There are plenty of them within easy driving distance, and they provide opportunities to disconnect, relax, spend some time amid our state’s natural beauty, exercise, learn something… and still be home in time for dinner. (Unless you want to dine at one of the lodges, which is a great option.)

If you already know what treasures we have here, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources announced the creation of the Ohio State Parks Foundation to protect, enhance, and defend state parks.

At ohiostateparksfoundation.org, you can vote for your favorite park and learn about ways to support those parks.

Buckeye Lake was officially named Ohio’s first state park in 1949. The area was once billed as “The Inner Ohio Coast” and the “Atlantic City of the Midwest.” At the beginning of the 20th century, the shores of the lake were lined with hotels and restaurants intended for families who came to discover rides, an ice rink and arcade games.

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…”

This is just the beginning. Visit one and find out for yourself. But be prepared, once you’ve seen what our state parks have to offer, you’ll want to return.

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