Nathan Johnson, Director of Public Lands, May 30, 2017
Salt Fork State Park is Ohio’s largest state park, and one of its nicest. Located in Guernsey County, it also happens to be in a region with a lot of natural gas activity. Salt Fork’s size and location make it the number one target for fracking operations should the Ohio General Assembly open state lands to drilling this summer.
There is a lot at risk for this fine park if oil and gas moves in. Well pads and pipelines could mar Salt Fork’s surface. Air and noise pollution from flares, compressor stations, and other fracking infrastructure could greatly diminish the experience Salt Fork offers visitors today.
Salt Fork contains approximately 17,000 acres of land and a 3,000 acre lake with 74 miles of shoreline. Within the park one can find numerous small waterfalls and sandstone outcroppings, much like those found in the Hocking Hills. One of Salt Fork’s best known features is Hosak’s Cave, a 60-foot-high sandstone cliff overhang and rock shelter. Hosak’s Cave is accessible from both a lower and an upper trail.
Salt Fork State Park contains a 148-room lodge, numerous cottages and campsites, a beach, a golf course, two marinas, fourteen scenic hiking trails (including a portion of the Buckeye Trail), and 36 miles of horse trail. The park is a popular destination for hikers, boaters, anglers, and hunters. Salt Fork got its name from a salt well used by local Native Americans in what is now the park’s southeast corner.
Ohio has a limited number of state parks. We shouldn’t sell off these special natural gems for short term gain. Drilling on public lands is a bad idea that will drastically change the type of outdoor experiences available to Ohioans.
If you agree, there are three quick things you can do today to protect Salt Fork State Park and the other beautiful places that make Ohio special.
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