Burr Oak State Park is home to 12 of the best miles of the 1,444 mile Buckeye Trail, along with the co-located 4,600 mile North Country National Scenic Trail and 6,800 mile American Discovery Trail. The park also hosts miles of day hiking trails, equestrian trails, and the 20 mile Burr Oak Backpack Trail which connects to the Wildcat Hollow Trail in Wayne National Forest creating a 40+ mile backpacking destination.
All of these trails, hunting, fishing, wildlife watching, environmental education and other quiet low impact uses of the park will be heavily impacted by a proposal to develop the park to target ATV riders. Without a park management plan to refer to, a published project proposal, a cost benefit analysis, environmental study, or public comment Burr Oak will be dramatically changed as no other state park has been.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation is moving forward to develop a 25 mile ATV trail system in the park, dramatically changing its character by using portions of the BT, crossing the trail and coming within proximity of Ohio’s State Trail. This would be the first time ATV’s would be allowed in any Ohio State Park.
It is well known that hiking and equestrian trails are not compatible with ATV use for safety, user experience, and trail sustainability. The development of ATV trails at Burr Oak could push Ohio’s State Trail and other uses out of the park altogether in the interest of a single use. Investing in marketing, promotion and programming of all of Burr Oaks natural and recreational assets is a more economically and environmentally sustainable alternative to the costs of ATV’s as the dominant use of the state park.
Below are some facts and resources. If you agree that Ohio’s State Trail and National Scenic Trail are the priority that ODNR’s Ohio Trails Plan, Trails for Ohioans says they are, please let your voice be heard before these miles are lost.
Share your thoughts and ask for a project plan and opportunity for public commenting
Thank you for caring about Ohio’s State Trail and Burr Oak State Park!
Wayne National Forest Correspondence with ODNR Burr Oak
Buckeye Trail Association Letter to ODNR, ATVs at Burr Oak State Park
Buckeye Trail Associaiton-ODNR Memorandum of Understanding, 1970
Burr Oak State Park Trails Map with proposed ATV trails
Burr Oak State Park and Wildcat Trail System Map with proposed ATV trails