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Getting the Ship to Safety: How LWCF Benefits Southwest Ohio

Winton Woods, Great Parks of Hamilton County

Oftentimes we find ourselves trying to make the best of family time when days are long and the weather is nice. Harper, our 3-year-old, has made it clear that our small cottage is not enough room for his energy and ability to explore. Luckily, within minutes we are able to get to Winton Woods County Park. Even as a child, I had not discovered all of the amenities this park had to offer but thanks to Harper, Winton Woods has become our go-to for family fun.

Harper always makes sure the spray park Noah’s Ark is the first stop whenever we visit. Not because the cold water is a relief from the baking summer sun, but because he can run to the top and be in control of the ship! He also knows if he gets the ship to safety there is ice cream to follow at the park pavilion.

Satisfaction really comes when my wife, Melanie, is able to get us on the paddle boats down on the lake just steps away from the pavilion. I always find that I’m the only one paddling the boat but I don’t mind because I know we will be walking the beautiful trails next.

As a child, my mother and I walked these same trails together so it’s a great experience to bring Harper and Melanie on these same trails. The memories I created here as a child have been passed on to my own and will undoubtedly be passed on to his some day. Slowly but surely, these memories have become a generational tradition that creates a sense of community, not just for my family, but for countless others in the Hamilton County area.

Our parks are cornerstones of our communities, which is why we must protect them. When walking the trails and playing on Noah’s Ark, one might not think about the special funding that makes these places possible. One such fund is the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

LWCF has been around since 1964 and was established to safeguard our natural spaces all across the country. This precious fund has helped every county in the state of Ohio, including Hamilton and especially including Winton Woods.

But, the LWCF is set to expire in September 2018 if our lawmakers do not reauthorize it. Should LWCF expire, our public lands across the nation will miss out on millions of dollars that have supported them for more than 50 years. Our lawmakers owe it to Americans to preserve LWCF and make an investment in what has become a part of raising our families nationwide.

Harper always assures me that he will get that ship to safety and because of LWCF I can assure him that that ship will always be there.