New funds will help build more Storybook Trails for Ohioans to enjoy
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is giving organizations more time to apply for $50,000 in Recreational Trails Program grants to build new Storybook Trails throughout Ohio. The new deadline to apply for the funding is August 13th.
"Ohio's Storybook Trails are a great way for families to spend time outside while enjoying a book," said First Lady Fran DeWine. "We're excited to share this opportunity to build more trails with various other partners throughout the state."
The $5,000-$10,000 grants are available to cities and villages, counties, townships, special districts, state and federal agencies, and nonprofit organizations. Funding must be used for:
- Storybook Trail construction or maintenance
- Storybook trailhead construction or maintenance
- Interpretive signage for a Storybook Trail
The Recreational Trails Program is a reimbursement grant program that provides up to 80% project funding. This grant program is federally funded and is administered by the ODNR in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration. Applications for Storybook Trails through the Recreational Trails Program must be postmarked by August 13, 2021. You can find the application and approval process here.
ODNR launched its Storybook Trail program in 2019 to promote the importance of literacy, a healthy lifestyle, and connecting with nature. There are currently 10 Storybook Trails at Ohio State Parks located at Alum Creek, Burr Oak, Dillon, Findley, Great Seal, John Bryan, Mary Jane Thurston, Maumee Bay, Sycamore, and Wingfoot Lake State Parks. Each trail is approximately half-mile long with 15-20 child-height panels featuring pages of a children’s book and an activity to accompany the text on the page. A Little Free Library can be found at each site and visitors can borrow books for free or donate books to the collection.
ODNR partnered with the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to provide story content for several of their trails and raise awareness of these valuable resources for Ohio families. The Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library provides one free book every month to children enrolled in the program from birth to age five. To learn more about the program and how to participate, visit OhioImaginationLibrary.org.
Ohio is lucky to be filled with Storybook Trails created by all types of park and library districts across the state. Use our interactive map of Storybook Trails in Ohio to learn more about the trails and where you can find them here.