One of the best things about being a part of Great Parks’ operations department is knowing that we help provide a space for people to connect with nature. A place to relax, reflect and refresh. A place to get away from the daily grind.
So where do WE go when we want to get away from it all? Operations employees often use our own parks, but it’s also nice to visit parks outside of our organization. With that in mind, we wanted to share some of our go-to destinations that are just a day or weekend trip away.
John Bryan State Park
John Bryan State Park in Yellow Springs, Ohio, is by far everyone’s favorite place to visit. This 752-acre state park has a remarkable limestone gorge cut by the scenic Little Miami River. The river has a soft spot with our employees, because Great Parks protects several miles of the river corridor as part of Lake Isabella, Kroger Hills Nature Preserve, Avoca Trailhead, Bass Island, Little Miami Golf Course and Otto Armleder parks.
Shawnee National Forest
Located about six hours away in Illinois, Shawnee National Forest is nestled between the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. The 280,000-acre forest’s landscape features rolling hills, forests, open lands, lakes, creeks and rugged bluffs. With horse trails and campgrounds, this park is especially favored by our coworkers with horses.
Red River Gorge
Red River Gorge, home of the 65-foot high, 75-foot long Natural Bridge, is a Kentucky State Park. Our department’s rock climbing enthusiast likes to go for the wonderful trails and world class-rock climbing.
Indian Fort Mountain
A favorite of another co-worker is Indian Fort Mountain (also known as Berea Pinnacles). The park sits on the edge of Daniel Boone National Forest. An 8-mile loop trail with six overlooks is definitely worth the hike.
Turkey Run State Park
A recent discovery of my own is Turkey Run State Park in Indiana. This park offers camping, lodging, canoeing, swimming, fishing and picnicking, but for me the hiking tops all activities. A walk into one of the ravines takes you on a trip through time; the sandstone gorges represent 600 to 300 million years of nature’s handiwork. And it is a workout!
I hope you enjoyed our list of places we like to visit when we need to reconnect with nature away from work. The Operation’s Department is proud to take care of your parks. We get excited when we see our guests enjoying the parks, and we thank you for supporting us and loving the outdoors as much as we do.
Jim Westendorf, District Superintendent