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Pools, Cabins And Trails: Ohio Looks For Ways To Upgrade State Parks

A trail along Clifton Gorge found in John Bryan State Park located in Yellow Springs.
Andy Chow
Statehouse News Bureau
A trail along Clifton Gorge found in John Bryan State Park located in Yellow Springs.

A group of experts is working with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources by taking a close look at Ohio’s 75 state parks to find out what kind of improvements can be made. 

ODNR says they want to take their parks to the next level, which can include everything from renovated cabins, smoother operations or new attractions. Updates and potential for expansion might include installing more pools and creating new trails.

ODNR director Mary Mertz also points out that the cabins, which have been around since the 1970s, are in need of a facelift.

“I think we just finally hit the time when you need to take action, so we are assertively going to do that, cause I don’t want people disappointed when they show up,” Mertz said. “I want them to have a great base from which to go out and explore our beautiful parks.”

She added that the task force will look into the latest trends on which the state parks can capitalize, such as paddle boarding.

ODNR requested nearly doubling its state park operations budget for the next fiscal year in order to help cover other upgrade projects such as trail maintenance, building waterproofing, restroom renovations and other jobs.

The department hopes to get a report from the state parks task force by August. ODNR says they plan to look at the recommendations, which could then become requests in the next capital budget proposal.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.