The state parks in Ohio have seen a huge increase in use after the pandemic first hit in 2020.

According to the numbers provided by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, overnight stays at the parks jumped 26.5 percent in the five years from 2017 to 2021.

So far in 2022, parks have recorded 607,919 overnight stays, down slightly from the 2021 numbers from the same time period, which was 634,401.

Announced in Gov. DeWine's capital budget for the state parks this year announced $515 million, to be used for improvements in lodges, campgrounds, cabins, dams, trails and natural areas set aside for park improvements in the 76 state parks around the state.

In the Valley, those funds are being used to improve the parks and experiences that are also seeing increased use. 

Lake Milton State Park is one of the parks that have benefited from the funds, with improvements including dam improvements, restroom upgrades, an 18-hole disc golf course and just this week, a Story Book Trail. The trail is part of the Dolly Parton Imagination of Ohio. Located near the amphitheatre at the north end of the beach, the trail is approximately a half-mile which presents a children’s story in segments as it follows a paved path adjacent to the lake and a wooded area.

According to John Trevelline, the Lake Milton State Park Manager said the park has seen substantial improvements to the Marina, including docking updates and new restrooms for guests.

And while summer is almost over, the park schedule offers many events throughout the rest of the year. Click here for all events, or filter it down by clicking the filter events and select North East Ohio for more regional events