COLUMBUS – The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association (OPRA) are reminding Ohioans that spending time outdoors is a great way to stay active and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s important that all guidelines from state and local health officials, such as social distancing and practicing good hygiene, are still followed.

“Much has changed in the past few weeks,” said ODNR Director Mary Mertz. “What hasn’t changed is the natural beauty of Ohio and the many ways that our residents can enjoy that beauty in state, regional and local parks.”

Although many indoor facilities are closed and programs have been cancelled, Ohio State Parks remain open, as are most Ohio Metroparks and community parks. Ohioans can still get outside and explore, preferably solo or in small groups per the CDC’s recommendation.

“We really believe that getting outside can be beneficial for people of all ages—maybe now more than ever,” said OPRA Director Woody Woodward “Keeping parks open provides healthy recreation options for people during this difficult time.”

Research supports the positive impact that getting outdoors can have on mental health, particularly during strenuous life events. Reconnecting with nature can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. For ideas on where to go, visit your local parks website or go to

Although certain ODNR facilities such as visitor centers, lodges, and nature centers are temporarily closed, other properties including state parks, nature preserves, wildlife areas, and state forests are still open. For updated information on the status of ODNR areas, please visit

For more information on COVID-19 and ODH’s recommendations on prevention and preparation, please visit

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

Established in 1934, Ohio Parks and Recreation Association is a statewide non-profit organization representing more than 2,000 parks and recreation professionals and citizen board members from municipal, county and state parks throughout Ohio.

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