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Ohio's Newest State Park Could Be Its Largest


Gov. John Kasich’s final State of the State speech last week has been praised and criticized for what it included and what was left out. But there was one bit of news – the announcement of a new state park that could become Ohio’s largest. 

The Jesse Owens State Park and Wildlife Area will be in Morgan, Muskingum, Noble and Guernsey Counties in eastern Ohio, on some of the 60,000 acres of mining lands reclaimed by American Electric Power. Matt Eiselstein of the Department of Natural Resources says the news might have caught some by surprise, but it’s been known at ODNR for a while.

“When you’ve been talking about the purchase for three years, I don’t know that it was unexpected. We knew where we were in the process.”

The state will spend about $2,000 for each of 13,000 acres – totaling about $26 million. The park is named to honor the life and accomplishments of Olympic athlete Jesse Owens, though he was from Cleveland, not eastern Ohio.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.