With 74 state parks, 136 state nature preserves, 21 state forests, access to Lake Erie and the Ohio River, 600 inland lakes and 60,000 miles of rivers, streams and waterways, the Ohio outdoors has something for everyone. I always enjoy spending time outside and exploring our state. Whether people are interested in running, walking, biking or swimming, there are options for all ages and activity levels to enjoy. Not only does spending time outside offer great health benefits, it is also an opportunity to make memories that your family will remember for years to come.
Exploring the natural beauty that Ohio has to offer allows residents to experience physical and mental benefits as well. According to the Ohio Department of Health, physical activity, along with other healthy lifestyle choices, such as healthy eating, can lead to benefits including lowering blood pressure, controlling weight and reducing the risk for other chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
When Ohioans and out-of-state visitors pursue outdoor adventures, it is also beneficial for Ohio’s economy. Visitors to Ohio’s state parks spent $229 million in 2011, generating business sales of $349 million, directly and indirectly. In addition, overnight state park visitation generated $47 million in tax revenue in 2011.
Volunteers are extremely important and beneficial to our 74 Ohio State Parks. Currently, we have 59 Friends groups and approximately 4,000 volunteers statewide who volunteer at our parks throughout the year. Our Friends groups and volunteers have been crucial in helping with program assistance, invasive species removal, fundraising and in-kind services for grant matches. With their help, the parks, forests and waterways will remain in great condition for future generations to enjoy as they explore Ohio.
With so many trail opportunities, I am excited to join First Lady Karen Kasich and complete 100 miles on the state’s trails. Please join me in participating in #ExploreOhio and enjoying Ohio’s natural beauty. No matter what kind of experience you’re looking for, whether an adventurous hike or a peaceful day of biking, you’re sure to find it here!