The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) announced recently that all of Ohio’s state parks and watercraft facilities are now fully open for the public to enjoy this summer.
“We are extremely happy that the parks are back operating at full capacity. The camp store and marina at Rocky Fork are back open to fully serve our visitors with camping supplies, boating supplies, fishing supplies, snacks, and fuel for their watercrafts,” said Adam Somerville, ODNR natural resources officer for Rocky Fork, Paint Creek and Adams Lake state parks. “Customers can fully expect the same exceptional customer service from park staff that they have received in the previous years.
“From a law enforcement standpoint, we are happy to have park visitors back and enjoying our wonderful natural resources again. We understand that folks have been cooped up for a while and are ready to get out and have fun. We ask that the park visitors be respectful to other visitors and the park.”
At the peak of the pandemic, Ohioans visited Ohio’s state parks in record numbers to safely enjoy recreational activities outdoors, but indoor recreation was suspended as a safety precaution. With Ohio’s increase in vaccinations and decrease in coronavirus spread, newly reopened facilities include all group activity areas such as shelter houses and other day-use group facilities: nature centers, campground stores, pools, park offices and commissaries. Many areas which may have had limited occupancy (shower houses, playgrounds and ball courts) have returned to prepandemic rules of operation.
Although masks are no longer required for visitors inside state park buildings, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) reminds citizens that the pandemic is ongoing and that a large number of Ohioans remain unvaccinated and at-risk, including everyone under the age of 12. The ODH strongly encourages visitors who have not been fully vaccinated to continue to wear masks indoors and follow other preventative measures.
The best way to plan a trip to a state park is to begin by visiting the ODNR website at www.ohiostateparks.gov. Each park web page offers details on day-use facilities such as hiking trails, boat launch areas, specialty features, and overnight accommodations. Webpages also host the most updated information regarding closures due to weather or construction. Reservations may be made online or by calling (866) OHIOPARKS.
Special activity permits are now being accepted for events like fishing derbies, races and other events coordinated by outside organizations. Special permit applications must be completed by an adult and submitted to the applicable state park no less than 30 days prior to the event date to allow adequate time to process the permit. It is highly recommended to submit the application 60 days in advance.
The ODNR Division of Parks and Watercraft provides outdoor recreation and boating opportunities by balancing customer service, education and conservation of Ohio’s 75 state parks and waterways.
The ODNR ensures a balance between the use and protection of natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.