Merger of State Parks, Boating Operations Clears Ohio Senate

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – A proposal to combine Ohio’s parks and watercraft operations into a single office has cleared the Ohio Senate.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources included the merger in its budget this spring as a cost-cutting measure. The bill goes next to the House.

Gov. John Kasich’s administration says merging state parks with the watercraft division will ultimately drive more dollars to boaters, park visitors and other outdoor enthusiasts. Combining them would save the boating operation about $1 million.

Almost every one of Ohio’s 74 state parks contains a lake or river used for recreational boating. Meanwhile, parks staff are the ones who maintain docks, marinas and boating access points.

A single office would be created under the plan, with a unified corps of officers available to provide service.