Obermiller named chief of state parks

Columbus — Gary Obermiller, chief of the Ohio DNR Division of Watercraft, will become deputy director over Ohio State Parks and Watercraft. He will also serve as chief of Ohio State Parks, the DNR has announced.

Glen Cobb, DNR deputy director and chief of Ohio State Parks, is retiring at the end of June.

“Glen Cobb has been a tremendous advocate for Ohio State Parks and our state’s natural areas and preserves during his 30 years with the department,” said DNR Director James Zehringer. “He has spent his career providing more and better outdoor opportunities for Ohioans, and while we’ll miss his contributions, we were truly blessed to benefit from his work for such a long time.”

Obermiller has worked for the department for nearly 28 years, serving in Natural Areas and Preserves and Ohio State Parks for 25 years. In addition to serving as chief of the ODNR Division of Watercraft, he also served as chief of the ODNR Office of Law Enforcement.

“Gary Obermiller has a passion for the outdoors and is eager to continue work on the capital improvement projects currently being unveiled across Ohio,” said Zehringer. “I believe his experience and leadership qualities have prepared him for this position as ODNR strives to continue to provide our visitors with the best state parks in the nation.”

Mike Miller, assistant chief of the ODNR Division of Watercraft, will serve as acting chief of the ODNR Division of Watercraft.

Ohio has 74 state parks and is one of only seven states in the nation where admission is free. Many Ohio families and out-of-state residents turn to Ohio State Parks for hiking, fishing, swimming, boating, camping, biking, disc golf, horseback riding, and much more. Last year, 2.3 million people spent at least one night in an Ohio State Park campground, cottage, cabin, or lodge.

A native of Huron County, Obermiller started working as a seasonal employee with DNR in 1984. Commissioned in 1987, he became a district preserve manager for the ODNR Division of Natural Areas and Preserves in 1995. In 2000, Obermiller was promoted to north region preserve manager and in 2004 assumed the role of law enforcement administrator, in addition to his field management duties. In December 2009, he was named program administrator for the division and assumed management of all field and central support operations.

In 2010, Obermiller was named chief of the ODNR Office of Law Enforcement. In 2012, Obermiller moved to Ohio State Parks, where he served as the north region administrator. He became chief of the ODNR Division of Watercraft in November 2013.

Obermiller will become an ODNR deputy director over Ohio State Parks and Watercraft, effective July 1. He will also serve as chief of Ohio State Parks.

Obermiller is a certified Ohio Law Enforcement instructor in a variety of areas including firearms, defensive tactics, and basic academy instruction. He has served on a number of statewide law enforcement committees. In 1985, Obermiller received an associate degree in recreation and wildlife/law enforcement from Hocking College. He was a patrolman and sergeant for the Wakeman Police Department from 1988 to 1992.

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