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Ohio's Storybook Trails Offer a Literary Trail Experience

These unique trails, partially funded by Recreational Trails Program (RTP) grants, promote the importance of literacy, a healthy lifestyle, and connecting with nature.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) launched the Storybook Trail program in 2019. Ohio’s Storybook Trails bring books to life for children and families. Storybook Trails are lined with pages from a children’s book to blend the fun of outdoor exploration with reading.

For the 2021 funding cycle ODNR offered $50,000 in RTP grants to build new Storybook Trails throughout Ohio. The ODNR press release said the $5,000-$10,000 grants were available to cities and villages, counties, townships, special districts, state and federal agencies, and nonprofit organizations. Funding must be used for:

  • Storybook Trail construction or maintenance
  • Storybook trailhead construction or maintenance
  • Interpretive signage for a Storybook Trail

There are currently 10 Storybook Trails at Ohio State Parks located at Alum Creek, Burr Oak, Dillon, Findley, Great Seal, John Bryan, Mary Jane Thurston, Maumee Bay, Sycamore, and Wingfoot Lake State Parks. Each trail is approximately half-mile long with 15-20 child-height panels featuring pages of a children’s book and an activity to accompany the text on the page. A Little Free Library can be found at each site and visitors can borrow books for free or donate books to the collection.

ODNR partnered with the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to provide story content for several of their trails and raise awareness of these valuable resources for Ohio families. The Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library provides one free book every month to children enrolled in the program from birth to age five. To learn more about the program and how to participate, visit OhioImaginationLibrary.org.

You can use an interactive map of Storybook Trails in Ohio to learn more about the trails and where you can find them here.

Published October 2021

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