Ohioans Gather Tomorrow at Statehouse to Protect State Parks from Drilling

NWF   |   May 16, 2011

Blog post was written by Tracy Sabetta, who leads the outreach to NWF supporters in Ohio. You can reach her at tsabetta@initiativeohio.com.

Columbus Statehouse
Columbus Statehouse | flickr / radsu

Spring has finally arrived in Ohio! What a beautiful time to get outside again, work in the garden, walk in the woods, and enjoy the treasure of natural resources Ohio has to offer. We really are very fortunate in our state to have such a wide array of state parks, wildlife preservers, and scenic rivers to enjoy close to home.

Please join me on Tuesday, May 17th. We will be celebrating “We Love Our Parks, We Love Clean Water Day” on the lawn of the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus from 10am -4pm.

I have spent the last few months, as I’m sure you have, ready to toss the jacket aside and feel some grass between my toes. One of my favorite things to do every spring is to hike at Hocking Hills State Park and Old Man’s Caves. Now, I take my 12-year old daughter with me and I feel like I get to see it all again for the first time.

What is really upsetting to me is that there are very serious efforts in the state legislature right now to strip away some of the natural beauty we have all been waiting to enjoy. As you may have heard, there is language in the state budget bill being debated right now that would open up our state parks, nature preserves, and other protected lands to oil and natural gas drilling.

Fish, wildlife, and water resources found on Ohio’s state parks and preserves are extremely valuable, and are growing more so each day as private lands become developed. As hunters, anglers, and outdoor enthusiasts, National Wildlife Federation members know that protecting wildlife habitat is crucial to maintaining wildlife populations that sustain hunting and fishing activities.

In fact, those of us who enjoy the outdoors contribute in excess of $10 billion to conservation through excise tax and licensing revenue, which provides 80% of the funding to most state fish and wildlife agencies each year. We have a vested interest in keeping our parks system strong.

That is why it is so important that we attend “We Love Our Parks, We Love Clean Water Day” on the lawn of the Ohio Statehouse from 10am-4pm on Tuesday, May 17th. If you can join us, please email me at tsabetta@initiativeohio.com.

As funding cuts and gas drilling threaten our parks, show Ohio leaders that you care about our natural treasures by enjoying the outdoors at the “people’s house.” Bring blankets, friends, and recreational equipment like Frisbees, footballs, and more! The event will feature a picnic, games, information booths, a press conference with some of our legislative champions, music, and much more. Rain or shine — so bring your ponchos!