DeWine announces funding for Outdoor Storybook Trails

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 17, 2022

COLUMBUS — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, first lady Fran DeWine and Ohio Department of Natural Resources director Mary Mertz announced Friday that Ohio is offering $50,000 in grants for new or improved Storybook Trails throughout the state.

“Storybook Trails offer a unique and active way for families to get outside, learn about nature and enjoy a good book along the way,” DeWine said. “I encourage community leaders to take advantage of this amazing opportunity to provide a new family-friendly outdoor option for their residents.”

Funding for Storybook Trails will be awarded through the Recreational Trails Program. Cities, villages, counties, townships, special districts, state and federal agencies, and nonprofit organizations are eligible to apply for individual grants of $5,000 to $10,000.

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Applicants must own the property and use funding for Storybook Trail construction or maintenance, Storybook trailhead construction or maintenance, or interpretive signage for a Storybook Trail.

“We want to share the impact that our Storybook Trails have had in our state parks with communities all over Ohio,” Mertz said. “These literature-lined paths give children, and their parents, a really fun way to get some fresh air and get active, all while learning about the importance of protecting our natural resources.”

This is the second round of Storybook Trail funding offered by ODNR. DeWine announced the first round of grants in February.

The Recreational Trails Program is a reimbursement grant program that provides up to 80 percent project funding. The grant program is federally funded and is administered by ODNR in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration. Applications for Storybook Trails through the Recreational Trails Program must be postmarked by July 15. More information on the application and approval process can be found on ODNR’s website.

ODNR launched its Storybook Trail program in 2019 to promote the importance of literacy, a healthy lifestyle and connecting with nature. There are 16 ODNR Storybook Trails at state parks throughout the state, and five additional Storybook Trails are expected to open this year.