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ODNR Invests Nearly $7 Million in Trails for Local Communities

COLUMBUS, OH – The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) has approved nearly $7 million in Clean Ohio Trails Fund grants to improve outdoor recreational opportunities for Ohioans.

“Clean Ohio Trail Fund grants are crucial to providing trail and infrastructure improvements to Ohio communities,” said ODNR Director Jim Zehringer. “Having hiking, biking and walking opportunities in our neighborhoods allows families easier access to the outdoors and helps to promote the benefits these trails and exercise provide.”

Ohio’s 2018 Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) was recently released by ODNR and is available at parks.ohiodnr.gov/research. The SCORP is completed every five years, and it provides up-to-date information on statewide outdoor recreation priorities and current recreation trends in the state. Results from the 2018 SCORP showed that trails are highly popular with Ohioans, with 90 percent walking or hiking a trail a few times a year and approximately a third walking or hiking a trail monthly.

ODNR conditionally awarded 19 Clean Ohio Trails Fund grants for community projects that will acquire land for new trails, build and improve trail infrastructure, including regional trail systems and bridges, links to statewide trails and connections from urban areas to recreational areas. The investments help facilitate travel and provide safe and scenic trails where Ohioans can hike, bike, run or roll and build healthy lifestyles.

The nearly $7 million in reimbursement funding will be used in 14 counties to develop miles of new trails, trail extensions, land acquisition and bridges. Grant recipients provide a 25 percent match for their projects.

The Clean Ohio Trails Fund, administered by ODNR, is one of three components of the Clean Ohio Fund, which restores, protects and connects Ohio’s natural and urban places. Ohioans approved the establishment of the $400 million bond program in 2000. This is the 13th round of funding to be awarded through the Clean Ohio Trails Fund.

To date, the Clean Ohio Trails Fund has dedicated more than $86.48 million to provide Ohioans with better access to recreational opportunities through the creation of more than 455 miles of trails and the acquisition of 127 miles of abandoned railroad and greenway corridors.

To see which local Ohio communities will receive grant funding, go to realestate.ohiodnr.gov/outdoor-recreation-facility-grant.