Ohio has 74 state parks, and we suspect every one of them needs one thing or another.
That’s why the $88.5 million set aside in the latest state budget to be spent over the next two years to upgrade trails, campgrounds and recreation is good news to anyone who likes to explore the Buckeye State’s great outdoors.
Ohio’s parks are one of the state’s treasures and a great bargain. The funding of a park is one of the best investments the state can make.
Ohio is one of only seven states that doesn’t charge entry fees, making them attractive to people looking for an inexpensive, close-by getaway.
All the state’s parks aren’t created equal, which is good. Some have golf courses, lodges, swimming and restaurants. Others, like nearby Van Buren, offer simpler amenities like camping, fishing, hiking and picnicking.
The diversity is an asset. To each his own.
Many of the state park facilities were built in the 1960s and 1970s and are in need of repairs or upgrades. Recent budgets have provided just $15 million to $20 million every two years, which has meant much has gone undone.
This time, officials plan to seek public opinion and prioritize projects before divvying up funds.
Through http://parks.ohiodnr.gov/improvements, visitors will help decide which campsites, cabins, lodges, restrooms, shower houses, trails, roads and wastewater treatment facilities will be improved.
Some officials say it would take $600 million to complete all the projects the parks need, but $88.5 million should make a considerable dent.
That said, we hope the 296-acre Van Buren State Park, which has been open since 1950, gets its share.
While it doesn’t have all the features of the state’s better-known and more-visited ones, like Burr Oak, Salt Fork or Maumee Bay, it is still a recreation spot well worth preserving and improving.
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