In May of 2023, outdoor recreation enthusiasts living in Ohio were astounded when the robust budget for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) proposed by governor Mike DeWine was gutted during the legislative process.
Since January, mountain bikers in Ohio watched the legislative session closely because advocacy groups and trail organizations had contributed to collaborative fundraising of millions of dollars for new capital projects including new trails and trailhead facilities. If the ODNR operating budget were to move forward as amended, it would have been nearly impossible to access the funds and begin the new projects they had planned and fundraised for on ODNR lands. The budget reduction also would have led to reduced staffing and law enforcement in parks and forests across Ohio, and closure of some areas completely. Mountain biker or not, these budget reductions had the potential to change the face of outdoor recreation in Ohio for myriad user groups.