CLINTON COUNTY — Having outdoor recreational opportunities at an appealing state park can be an economic driver.
That was the theme as Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Director Jim Zehringer was recently joined at Cowan Lake State Park by Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) to speak about improvements to several cabins and to the campgrounds.
Four cabins were refurbished with modern kitchens, living rooms and bathrooms, said Zehringer.
In addition, electric lines at the campgrounds were upgraded to accommodate higher amp service that’s needed by newer camper vehicles, he said. Also, playground equipment was added.
“Upgrading our electrical, upgrading our wastewater treatment, upgrading our campsites, our cabins — these were all things that you the users of our parks told us [to do],” Zehringer said to an audience of about 30 people.
Not only have the electrical requirements of camper vehicles changed over time, but infrastructure improvements are needed because “our state parks are getting old,” said the ODNR director.
Cowan Lake was dedicated as a state park in 1968 (a dam was completed across Cowan Creek in 1950). Mature woodlands complement the natural features of the 1,075-acre park.
Rosenberger, who grew up just a few miles from the lake, spoke of the “importance of natural resources in the state.”
“This is one of Clinton County’s and southern Ohio’s biggest economic development resources because quality of life is one of the most important things to attracting any business,” Rosenberger said.
The Ohio Travel Association’s executive director, Melinda Huntley, also spoke at the unveiling of the park’s improvements.
She said there is increased interest in outdoor recreation such as fishing, boating, birding, hiking and agri-tourism.
Huntley also said Clinton County, as a destination point for travelers, benefits from its proximity to large population centers, a reference to Cincinnati, Dayton and Columbus.
She said the Clinton County Convention & Visitors Bureau is “a really effective visitors bureau” that is known statewide for understanding how to bring in people who enjoy outdoor recreation.
The improvements made to the cabins are “an economic driver,” Huntley said. According to her, that’s because most people who enjoy outdoor recreation prefer to have comfortable lodging at night that includes a shower, air conditioning and a nice bed rather than to “rough it.”
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768 or on Twitter @GHuffenberger.