Take advantage of deep discounts at Ohio's Grand Lake St. Marys State Park

Camping, getaways, shelter house rentals and state dock fees will be discounted at 50 percent during the 2011 season at Grand Lake St. Marys State Park, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

The discounts, which are available now, include:
  • 50 percent off camping;
  • 50 percent off shelter house rentals;
  • 50 percent off Getaway rentals (rent-a-camp, cabins, etc.); and
  • 50 percent off seasonal state dock fees. 

The discounts are meant to lure campers back to the state park, which had suffered a severe drop-off in visitors due to an outbreak of toxic algae in the lake.

The following item further explaining the toxic algae is taken from a webpage by the Ohio EP.

Grand Lake St. Marys is Ohio’s largest inland lake at 12,700 acres. Straddling the Auglaize-Mercer County line between St. Marys and Celina, the lake was constructed in the mid-1800s to store water for the Miami-Erie Canal. In 1949, Grand Lake St. Marys was among the first state parks established in Ohio.

Today, it is a popular recreation lake for boating, personal watercraft, fishing and swimming. It also is the drinking water supply for the city of Celina. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources maintains a campground, three public beaches and several picnic areas in a state park along the lake.

Over the years, the lake has become increasingly enriched by phosphates and nitrates from a number of man-made and natural sources. These nutrients have contributed to the decline of the lake’s water quality. Ohio EPA and various state and local partners have been working within the lake’s watershed for many years to achieve improvements along streams that feed the lake which in turn, will improve water quality in the lake.

Ohio EPA participated in a national study of water quality conditions in lakes across the United States in 2007 by collecting one day of sampling data in Grand Lake St. Marys and 19 other Ohio lakes. Laboratory analysis included testing for the presence of algal toxins. Ohio EPA received lab results for microcystins levels on April 27, 2009. The level of toxins recorded in Grand Lake St. Marys was very high compared to the other lakes sampled. Sampling continued on a regular basis in 2009 and 2010. Results show an ongoing problem with blue-green algae and the toxins it produces.

Citizens or other interested parties who would like more information should call Ohio EPA’s Public Interest Center at (614) 644-2160.

The camping, shelter house and Getaway rental fee discounts apply from February 1 to September 1, 2011; existing reservations will have the discount applied at check-in. The camping and Getaway rental discounts do not apply on Memorial Day (May 27-29) or July 4th (July 1-4) holiday weekends.

Reservations may be made by calling toll-free (866) OHIOPARKS (644-6727) or on-line at www.ohiostateparks.org. When making a reservation, please select the “Grand Lake Special” from the drop-down menu for discounts. No other discounts will apply to this special discount, which is being offered exclusively at Grand Lake St. Marys State Park.

Grand Lake St. Marys State Park offers a variety of overnight and day-use activities including: 176 electric campsites and 28 non-electric sites; full service camp store; bike rentals; miniature golf; basketball and volleyball courts; playground equipment; dog park; and free WiFi.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR Web site at ohiodnr.com.