Special places for contemplation, recreation and outdoor adventure
The National Park Service has several parks in Ohio with significant natural resources. The NPS mission is to preserve unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the national park system for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. Ohio is fortunate to have one of 55 national parks, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, along the Cuyahoga River in Northeast Ohio. In Southern Ohio, Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, while primarily interpreting the mound-building native americans of the area, also preserves significant natural resources, such as forests and restored grassland, in accordance with the NPS mission. Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial is a manicured park with an observation tower located on South Bass Island. The memorial commemorates the Battle of Lake Erie, and celebrates the long-standing peace between the United States, Canada, and Britain. While this memorial itself does not contain significant natural resources, it provides a wonderful opportunity to observe Lake Erie, one of the largest bodies of fresh water on earth. For a full listing of National Park Service parks in Ohio, follow this link: U.S. National Park Service units in Ohio
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of the Interior, preserves land in order “to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people“. To this end, the FWS has created three wildlife refuges in Ohio, totalling 8,800 acres in north-central Ohio. Cedar Point National Wildlife Refuge is located near Oak Harbor, Ohio. One feature of note is a 2,000 acre marsh pool, the largest remaining contiguous coastal marsh along Lake Erie’s shoreline. Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge is located directly between Toledo and Port Clinton on State Route 2. It is a major stopover, feeding and breeding ground for a wide variety of ducks,other waterfowl, and songbirds. The refuge preserves large area of waht was the Great black Swamp in Northern Ohio. West Sister Island National Wildlife Refuge is Ohio’s only wilderness area. Public Access is not allowed to this island 9 miles off the coast.
Wayne National Forest is Ohio’s only National Forest. The U.S. Forest Service’s mission is to “sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations“. While this means that the forests are harvested, they are managed on a sustainable basis, and allow recreational access, so they do the “greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of people in the long run” according to the first chief of the Forest Service, Gifford Pinchot. In line with this mission, the Wayne National Forest has over 300 miles of trails available for your hiking pleasure.