The Ohio Department of Natural Resources received four Ohio Parks and Recreation Association Awards of Excellence, including first place for the new Hocking Hills State Park Visitor Center, at the association’s annual conference last week.
“The Hocking Hills Visitor Center is a great starting point for any adventure at one of Ohio’s finest parks,” said natural resources Director Mary Mertz. “It’s exciting to see the public’s investment and years of work now paying dividends for visitors from all over.”
The following projects were recognized with 2019 Ohio Parks and Recreation Association Awards of Excellence in several Capital Improvements categories:
- First place — Hocking Hills State Park Visitors Center, which opened in the summer of 2019. The center is open year-round and offers a staffed information desk, trail safety and educational exhibits, gift shop, and lower level restrooms;
- Second place — Rocky Fork State Park accessible fishing pier, which united local volunteers and funding from the community, National Wild Turkey Foundation and two natural resources divisions. The new pier has improved fishing access for visitors of all abilities and its green LED lighting improves night fishing;
- Third place — Buckeye Lake State Park 4.1-mile multipurpose path, which has balanced recreational use by residents and park visitors. In addition to connecting two popular areas of the park, the project also installed a new accessible fishing pier at Mud Island and created additional parking; and
- Third place — Catawba Island State Park improved boat launch facility, which included replacing aging ramps with new concrete ramps, and new lighting. The project also reconfigured vehicle and pedestrian traffic. As a result, boaters experience less wait time in the launch area and visitors and residents can maneuver safely through the park.
“These award winners represent the best of the best in parks and recreation in Ohio,” said Ohio Parks and Recreation Association Executive Director Woody Woodward.
The Ohio Parks and Recreation Association Awards of Excellence are judged by a panel of Ohio parks and recreational professionals.