Special to 1808Delaware

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources announced this week that all of Ohio’s state parks and watercraft facilities are now fully open for the public to enjoy this summer.

“The Ohio State Parks team is so happy to welcome our guests back for in-person activities and programming this summer,” said ODNR Director Mary Mertz. “Families can plan for group activities, such as reunions, and visitors of all ages are welcome back to our nature centers and educational programming.

Several state parks, such as Malabar Farm and Marblehead Lighthouse state parks, will resume regular hours for public tours.

Tours of the Big House at Malabar Farm will be given daily at AM and 2 PM through Labor Day weekend. On Fridays and Saturdays, a 4:30 PM tour is also available. Fees apply.

Marblehead Lighthouse tours will be available seven days a week from noon until 4 PM through Labor Day weekend. The last tour begins at 3:40 PM. Cash fee for adults and children over 6 years old. Gift shop hours vary.

At the peak of the pandemic, Ohioans visited Ohio’s state parks in record numbers to safely enjoy recreational activities outdoors, but indoor recreation was suspended as a safety precaution. With Ohio’s increase in vaccinations and decrease in coronavirus spread, newly reopened facilities include all group activity areas such as shelterhouses and other day-use group facilities; nature centers; campground stores; pools; park offices; and commissaries. Many areas which may have had limited occupancy (showerhouses, playgrounds, and ball courts) have returned to pre-pandemic rules of operation.

Although masks are no longer required for visitors inside state park buildings, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) reminds citizens that the pandemic is ongoing and that a large number of Ohioans remain unvaccinated and at-risk, including everyone under the age of 12. ODH strongly encourages visitors who have not been fully vaccinated to continue to wearing masks indoors and following other preventative measures.

The best way to plan a trip to a state park is to begin by visiting our website at ohiostateparks.gov. Each park web page offers details on day-use facilities, such as hiking trails, boat launch areas, specialty features, and overnight accommodations. Webpages also host the most updated information regarding closures due to weather or construction. Reservations may be made online or by calling (866) OHIOPARKS.

Special activity permits are now being accepted for events like fishing derbies, races, and other events coordinated by outside organizations. Special permit applications must be completed by an adult and submitted to the applicable state park no less than 30 days prior to the event date to allow adequate time to process the permit. It is highly recommended you submit the application 60 days in advance. To obtain a special activity permit, click here.

Source: ODNR

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