Some popular Ohio campgrounds to close January 1st
On Oct. 15, the Ohio Wildlife Council unanimously approved closing four southeast Ohio wildlife areas to primitive camping, despite a protest from an interested citizen-hunter.
The four are Woodbury, Wolf Creek, and Monroe wildlife areas, as well as Tycoon Lake.
They are scheduled to close on Jan. 1.
Jacob Kreinbrink spoke at the October meeting, asking council to specifically reconsider a recommendation by the Ohio DNR to end camping at Woodbury in Coshocton County.
Kreinbrink said he and about 30 friends and family members camp and hunt at Woodbury for a week in early November.
"It's a family tradition," Kreinbrink said.
Kreinbrink said it appeared the wildlife division was forcing potential users into staying in the nearby Dillon State Park campground.
Tim Parrett, manager of the division's southeast district, explained vandalism and a shortage of wildlife officers sparked the closure.
"We couldn't keep up with it," Parrett said.
Tycoon Lake is most often a target of vandals, he noted.
He said the "campers" at Tycoon Lake are generally not interested in hunting and fishing – only in upending trash barrels and portable toilets.
He said inadequate law enforcement staff prevented ODNR from policing Tycoon Lake, Woodbury and two others.
"If we close one, we should close all of them," Parrett said.
He stressed the decision had nothing to do with state park campgrounds.
At 19,000 acres, Woodbury is the largest wildlife area in Ohio. It is also home to the state's largest shooting range.
"We have only five people to supervise (Woodbury) and other wildlife areas in the district," Parrett said.
Council members listened, but were unmoved.
Council president Karen Stewart-Linkhart said she "hated giving up anything," but noted the decision is not etched in stone.
"Things may change in the future," she said.
Member Tom Vorisek was troubled by the restricted access and initially opposed the camping ban. Parrett's argument changed his mind.
"But, realities are still realities," Vorisek said.
He noted Woodbury is primarily a wildlife area, not a campground.
"There's lots of other private and public camping in the area," Vorisek added.