Special to 1831Galion; From Office of Governor DeWine

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has officially declared 2024 as the Year of Ohio State Parks. This declaration marks the 75th anniversary of Ohio State Parks and underscores the state’s unwavering commitment to preserving its natural wonders and expanding outdoor adventures.

“Ohio’s state parks, where admission is always free, give visitors an opportunity to gain a deeper appreciation of Ohio’s natural heritage,” said Governor DeWine. “The Year of Ohio State Parks is the perfect time to visit one or more of Ohio’s 75 state parks, experience our state’s natural beauty, and actively participate in the preservation of these treasured lands.”

Ohio’s state parks and waterways are renowned for their breathtaking landscapes and diverse recreational opportunities. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Parks and Watercraft plays a pivotal role in safeguarding these resources, ensuring that Ohioans can continue to enjoy the many benefits of spending quality time in nature.

“We are excited to celebrate what we believe to be the best state park system in the country,” ODNR Director Mary Mertz said. “We have exceptional employees who show a passion for our parks day in and day out, making sure everyone is able to make memories in these picturesque places.”

Park staff serve as stewards and caretakers of the parks, preserving the state’s natural and cultural history. The Year of Ohio State Parks is an historic celebration, emphasizing the outstanding opportunities statewide to honor and appreciate some of the world’s most iconic outdoor destinations.

“We are proud of our parks, and everything they have to offer to Ohioans and those who travel across state lines,” Division of Parks and Watercraft Chief Glen Cobb said. “For 75 years we’ve welcomed visitors, and we encourage them now to join in this statewide celebration.”

Governor DeWine’s proclamation highlights the pivotal role state parks have played to expand access to the outdoors for people of all backgrounds. Through a variety of safe and equitable outdoor activities and events, state parks foster stronger social ties, celebrate Ohio’s rich culture, and showcase the state’s remarkable ecosystem.

Ohio started designating properties as official state parks in 1949 when lawmakers created the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. ODNR is also celebrating a department-wide 75th anniversary throughout 2024 by highlighting the achievements of all 12 divisions, including the Division of Parks and Watercraft.

For more information and to stay updated on the 75th anniversary celebration events and activities as well as all the programming the state parks have to offer, visit the Ohio State Park website.