Press Release | Columbus, Ohio
Ohioans now have another reason to visit Ohio State Parks with four new Ohio Storybook Trails. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) built the Storybook Trails to combine literacy and reading with adventure and the great outdoors.
“It’s so important to develop a love for reading at a young age, and Ohio’s Storybook Trails offer a unique opportunity to take children inside the pages of a book,” said Ohio Governor Mike DeWine. “Ohio’s beautiful State Parks have always been an ideal place to spend time with family, and these trails add to the fun.”
Earlier this month, Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine and ODNR Director Mary Mertz dedicated four new Storybook Trails at Burr Oak State Park (Glouster), Findley State Park (Wellington), Great Seal State Park (Chillicothe), and Sycamore State Park (Dayton). Each trail is approximately a half-mile long with 15 to 20 child-height panels, featuring pages of an Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library children’s book and an activity. Each park features one book’s complete story.
“There is nothing better than fresh air and a good book, and Ohio Storybook Trails offer both to Ohio families,” said Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine. “Research shows early literacy can make such a big difference in a child’s academic success. The books featured on these trails were handpicked by the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library for their easy-to-understand, positive narratives.”
The four new trails add to the stories already being told at five existing trails at other Ohio State Parks. Two more will be dedicated soon. That will bring a total of eleven Storybook Trails.
“There’s something really special about reading a good book while walking along a Storybook Trail with your family,” said ODNR Director Mary Mertz. “They combine two of the most vital lessons for our children – the importance of reading and a healthy, active lifestyle. Storybook Trails provide an opportunity to learn about both while enjoying the beautiful sights Ohio has to offer.”
ODNR launched the Storybook Trails program in 2019 to promote the importance of literacy, a healthy lifestyle, and connecting with nature. A Little Free Library complements each trail, and visitors can borrow books for free and donate books to the collection.
ODNR partnered with the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to provide story content for several trails and raise awareness of these valuable resources for Ohio families. The Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library provides one free book every month to eligible children – from birth to age five — enrolled in the program. Currently, 286,184 Ohio children receive the books every month. To learn more about the program or to sign up, visit OhioImaginationLibrary.org.
An interactive map of Storybook Trails in Ohio is available at ohiodnr.gov. ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.