Merger of state parks, boating operations clears Ohio Senate

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A proposal to combine Ohio’s parks and watercraft operations into a single office has cleared the Ohio Senate.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources included the merger in its budget this spring as a cost-cutting measure. The bill goes next to the House.

Gov. John Kasich’s (KAY’-siks) administration says merging state parks with the watercraft division will ultimately drive more dollars to boaters, park visitors and other outdoor enthusiasts. Combining them would save the boating operation about $1 million.

Almost every one of Ohio’s 74 state parks contains a lake or river used for recreational boating. Meanwhile, parks staff are the ones who maintain docks, marinas and boating access points.

A single office would be created under the plan, with a unified corps of officers available to provide service.

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