Ohio is not known for its national parks, but it is home to several notable national sites and areas managed by the National Park Service (NPS). While these sites may not have the official designation of “national park,” they are still significant and offer opportunities for outdoor recreation, historical exploration, and natural beauty. Here are some of the key NPS-managed sites and areas in Ohio:
- Cuyahoga Valley National Park: Located near Akron and Cleveland, Cuyahoga Valley National Park is one of Ohio’s most well-known natural destinations. It features a variety of hiking and biking trails, waterfalls, and a scenic railroad. The Cuyahoga River winds through the park, offering picturesque landscapes and opportunities for water-based activities.
- Hopewell Culture National Historical Park: This park preserves and interprets the remnants of ancient American Indian cultures, particularly the Hopewell tradition that existed from approximately 100 BC to AD 500. Visitors can explore mounds, earthworks, and artifacts that shed light on the prehistoric people who once inhabited the region.
- First Ladies National Historic Site: Located in Canton, this historic site honors the contributions and legacies of America’s First Ladies. It includes the Ida Saxton McKinley Historic House and the Education & Research Center, which offer insights into the lives of these influential women.
- James A. Garfield National Historic Site: This site in Mentor, Ohio, is dedicated to the life and career of the 20th President of the United States, James A. Garfield. Visitors can tour his former home, which has been preserved as a museum, and learn about his presidency and his family.
- Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park: This park consists of multiple sites in and around Dayton, Ohio, including the Wright Brothers’ cycle shop and their original airplane factory, as well as the Paul Laurence Dunbar House. It celebrates the achievements of the Wright brothers and the contributions of Paul Laurence Dunbar, an African American poet and writer.
- Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial: Located on South Bass Island in Lake Erie, this memorial commemorates the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812 and the lasting peace between the United States, Great Britain, and Canada. The towering monument offers panoramic views of the surrounding area.
These sites, while not traditional national parks, offer a diverse range of experiences, from natural beauty to historical and cultural significance. They provide opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts, history buffs, and anyone interested in exploring the heritage of Ohio and the United States.