The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Parks and Watercraft manages the facilities at all 75 state parks, nature preserves, and wildlife areas. The state parks include over 800,000 land acres and more than 7 million acres of streams, inland and coastal waters, and rivers.
ODNR’s Division of Parks and Watercraft collaborated with ms consultants to plan for the future of Ohio’s State Parks. The Statewide Master Planning project resulted in 12 park master plans, over 185 prospective projects, and a corresponding statewide database to track and prioritize investment dollars into park facility improvements.
To maintain the popularity of the state parks for the next generation, it was essential to address the various state park challenges. These challenges include aging facilities, changes in recreational trends, and staffing constraints.
To begin, our team went to each of the twelve selected parks to document the condition of every facility.
At the same time, the team facilitated two visioning workshops with management staff within the Division of Parks and Watercraft to develop statewide initiatives to be utilized at every state park.
Early project steps included:
Once the assessments and statewide visioning workshops were complete, the ms team initiated steps to create park master plans.
These plans would include location-specific project lists, general improvement recommendations/criteria, and an identity statement that would guide any future development.
These master plans included the following steps:
The ms team created a capital improvement project prioritization tool. This database tool sequences projects and prioritizes them across all applicable state parks based on a numerical score.
The plan is to eventually incorporate all 75 parks into the tool to provide ODNR with a statewide priority project list that can be utilized for capital improvement plan refinement.
To help guide ODNR’s future capital budgeting, the tool scores each project according to:
This statewide project compiled technical guidance on a vast array of Ohio State Park features like campgrounds, cabins, marinas, lodges, trails, operations, roadways, water and wastewater facilities, and utilities.
Ultimately, these plans and the statewide database will be used to improve facilities and guide future investments in the Ohio State Park system. This project is a large undertaking and is resulting in a deeper understanding of each park’s potential and unique benefit to all Ohioans and Ohio State Park patrons.