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ODNR to Unveil New ADA-Accessible Kayak Launch

MOGADORE, Ohio — The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company unveiled a new, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-accessible kayak launch at Wingfoot Lake State Park. The launch was created through a $62,000 donation from Goodyear.

“Accessibility and inclusivity are such important parts of what we do at ODNR and this new feature accomplishes just that,” ODNR Director Mary Mertz said. “The new launch will let more people experience the joys of kayaking while taking in the sights of this beautiful state park.”

The new ADA-accessible kayak launch is a safe, state-of-the-art structure. In addition to the launch, it features which a transfer bench for safe and easy transition from mobility device to kayak. The spacious structure also allows people to keep their mobility devices near the launch throughout their visit.

“The foundation is very grateful for the support of Goodyear for the donation of an accessible kayak launch for Wingfoot State Park,” said OSPF Chair Bob Taft, who was Governor of Ohio from 1999-2007. “This donation has enabled us to fulfill our mission of making our state parks more welcoming to more people. We hope this donation will be one of many from future partnerships, as we have plans for new projects that will further enhance Ohio’s great state parks!”

In addition to the generous donation, Goodyear employees worked tirelessly in the park this week as part of their annual week of volunteerism. Nearly 50 volunteers took to the park, painting, mulching, spreading stones, and planting flowers.

“We are pleased to play a part in making Wingfoot Lake State Park more inclusive,” Goodyear Community Affairs and Engagement Director Joni Fitch said. “Supporting enhancements to this park that holds so much history for Goodyear is fitting as we celebrate our company’s 125th anniversary this August.”

This project was made possible by a generous grant from the Goodyear to the Ohio State Parks Foundation. Ohio State Parks Foundation founding member Fran Buchholzer, who’s part of the family that founded Goodyear, was instrumental in forging this partnership. Ms. Buchholzer is also a former Director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and is a leader on local, state, and federal issues dealing with conservation and public policy.

Wingfoot Lake State Park provides visitors with a delightful day spent outdoors. Groves of tall trees, expanses of grass, and a picturesque lake create a relaxing backdrop to paddling, fishing, picnicking, or disc golf. Originally owned by Goodyear, the park joined the state system in 2009. On a clear day, visitors can spot the iconic Goodyear Blimp parked in its hangar on the lake’s south shore.

Goodyear is one of the world’s largest tire companies. It employs about 74,000 people and manufactures its products in 57 facilities in 23 countries around the world. Its two Innovation Centers in Akron, Ohio, and Colmar-Berg, Luxembourg, strive to develop state-of-the-art products and services that set the technology and performance standard for the industry. For more information about Goodyear and its products, go to www.goodyear.com/corporate.

The OSPF, founded in 2021, raises funds through donations and grants that preserve, protect, and enhance Ohio State Parks. Funding has equipped multiple state parks with ADA amenities such as playgrounds, ADA hiking chairs, picnic tables, kayaks, beach mats, boat launches, and trails. OSPF has raised almost one million dollars that will be used to make Ohio State Parks more inclusive.

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