State parks have new manager

Cover overseeing Rocky Fork, Paint Creek, Adams Lake

By John Hackley - [email protected]

Cory Cover, who assumed the role of manager of Rocky Fork, Paint Creek and Adams Lake state parks in July, will be available at an open house to meet local residents at Rocky Fork State Park from 3-6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 3.

Cover has spent his entire career at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

After graduating with a degree in recreation and wildlife from Hocking College, Cover began his service with ODNR as a watercraft officer in 2002 at the age of 22.

Following a merger of the parks division and the watercraft division in 2016, he became a natural resources officer and moved to the park management position July 18 of 2021.

Cover has had an interest in nature since his time growing up in Mt. Gilead. “I think it started when I was younger just hanging out in the woods with friends camping out and hiking and hunting and fishing – just the desire to be outdoors at that point,” he said.

In his position as park manager, Cover strives to make the best state parks he can for the people who visit them. “I think everybody whenever they come into one of these jobs is wanting to make the parks better for the public,” he said. “Anytime you come here with your family, you want to have a clean park. You want to have a park that is safe for you and your family to enjoy – something for all of the public that lives here and comes here to visit.”

Cover manages upwards of 50 ODNR employees throughout the year. “It changes throughout the season,” he said. “Right now through the winter season we have roughly 10 employees, but through the summer we’re going to have upwards of 50 employees among the three parks.”

Cover encourages everyone to take advantage of their local state parks. “It’s a great opportunity,” he said. “I mean not everybody has these amenities in their backyard, and for everybody that’s right here in Highland County, not only do you have Rocky Fork State Park, but you also have Paint Creek State Park, and there are so many opportunities to go boating, to go to the beach, to camp, to use a playground, and to go hiking.”

He said there are also natural sites to see outside of the state park system. “We also have other places here too – not just the state parks – like the Highlands Nature Sanctuary,” he said. They are a great partner to ODNR and provide a lot of good outdoor recreational opportunities, too.”

Highlands Nature Sanctuary is a lesser known park that protects the Rocky Fork Gorge which boasts cliff walls towering almost 100 feet up on both sides of the stream and the highest concentration of caves anywhere in Ohio.

“I’m really excited about this job,” said Cover. “For the last six months that I’ve been doing this job it’s been a neat challenge with ODNR, and it’s something that I’m excited about and something that I’m enjoying.”

Reach John Hackley at 937-402-2571.

Cover overseeing Rocky Fork, Paint Creek, Adams Lake

By John Hackley

[email protected]