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Help reduce litter, damage to our wonderful state parks

In Ohio and throughout Appalachia, many escaped the confines of their homes during the pandemic by heading to a state or national park. Outdoor activity lends itself to social isolation while at the same time enhancing the health and wellbeing of those enjoying a day in nature.

We are fortunate as Ohioans to have 74 state parks to visit. All are free to visit and enjoy. Nearby in our part we have Guilford Lake, Beaver Creek, West Branch, Pymatuning Lake, Lake Milton and Mosquito state parks to take advantage of.

But because humans don’t always do the best job of taking care of the people and planet around them, all that time outdoors has led to another problem — litter and other damage.

Alum Creek State Park Assistant Director Suzie Vance told another media outlet “Unfortunately, sometimes that comes with a little bit and other times a whole lot of litter.”

Appalachian District Ranger Jen Barnhart said officials have had to ban camping in the Max Patch area of North Carolina’s Pisgah National Forest.

“We’ve been working with partners to achieve sustainable recreation at Max Patch because of the impacts due to a significant increase in visitors over the past decade,” Barnhart said. “Unfortunately, the level of use is causing a public safety hazard as well as serious damage to wildlife habitat.”

It takes very little effort to leave no trace — pick up after yourself and carry out what you take in. And don’t forget, aside from simply being the right thing to do, cleaning up after yourself will save the taxpayer money required to have the park systems do the work for you.

Get out there, enjoy all our outdoor wonders have to offer. But then, for goodness sake, folks, if you value your time spent in our state’s and region’s natural treasures, take better care of them.

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