Visitors Commend Ohio State Parks for Service Excellence

Fun recreational activities abound for families at Ohio State Parks throughout the summer, with opportunities to go hiking, swimming, fishing, boating, camping, golfing, bike riding and more. Five Ohio State Parks and an Ohio State Park Lodge have received Service Excellence Awards, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). These annual awards are based on customer feedback, including customer satisfaction surveys, and are given to individual facilities in recognition of excellent customer service and outstanding amenities.

“Our goal at Ohio State Parks is to provide each of our guests with an enjoyable and positive experience every time they choose to visit,” said ODNR Deputy Director Glen Cobb. “Customer feedback is an invaluable tool for our staff, and it provides us with the information necessary to immediately improve our customers’ experience.”

Visitors returned a total 11,159 surveys during 2012. Ohio State Parks achieved an overall satisfaction rating of 4.5 out of 5 in both employee helpfulness and overall visit. To be eligible for an award, a park must receive at least 100 survey responses. The awards were presented by ODNR Director James Zehringer during the annual Ohio State Parks Manager Conference at Hueston Woods State Park.

Malabar Farm was ranked by visitors as the best day-use park in the state system. The former home of the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Louis Bromfield, the house and farm reflects the agricultural tradition of Ohio while focusing on Bromfield’s life and philosophies. In addition to the historical buildings and working farm, the park features guided tours and regular special events, 12 miles of hiking and horse trails, fishing pond, horseman’s camp and visitor’s center.

Located in southeastern Ohio, Paint Creek State Park was the top choice for smaller campgrounds. Paint Creek offers 197 electric campsites along with 6 miles of hiking trails, 12 miles of mountain bike trails, large beach, archery range, nature center and summer nature programs. Three boat launch ramps provide access to Paint Creek where unlimited horsepower boating is permitted.

The top pick for outstanding large campground was West Branch State Park located in Portage County. The park’s family campground has 198 campsites; the park also offers four group camp areas with an additional 90 sites. The 5,370-acre lake offers many forks and coves for fishing, boating and swimming. The park also boasts a 700-foot sand beach, marina, picnic areas and two boat ramps.

For visitors who chose to experience staying in a getaway rental last year, Pymatuning State Park was named best cottage park. Located on the western shore of Pymatuning Reservoir, this 3,500-acre facility features 56 cottages in addition to 370 campsites, two beaches, 2 miles of hiking trail and a number of picnic shelters and picnic areas. A popular spot for boaters, Pymatuning has five boat launch ramps and boating concessions for both day-use and overnight visitors using the 14,000-acre reservoir.

Reviews from golfing enthusiasts put Deer Creek State Park at the top of the list for state park golf courses. The highly rated, 350-acre course features 18 holes and is located near Deer Creek State Park Lodge. The course’s 10 ponds and 52 sand traps provide exciting challenges for golfers. Located within an hour of central Ohio, Deer Creek State Park offers cottages, campground, swimming beach and boating opportunities.

Ohio State Parks is home to eight resort lodges, more than 500 cottages, six golf courses and 56 family campgrounds with more than 9,000 campsites. For more information on overnight stays, visit

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