$1M Marina Building Opens at Mosquito Lake State Park

CORTLAND, Ohio – Waterfowl flying in formation honked their approval as a new $1 million marina building and dock improvements were christened Monday at Mosquito Lake State Park.

The new building includes a store that offers bait and tackle, snacks and convenience items and boat rental services, as well as shelter during bad weather.

More importantly, it fulfills the state’s goal of making its parks into welcoming places that attract visitors.

“We want all of our parks across the state to be real destinations,” said Mary Mertz, director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, at the ceremonial opening.

“We hope this is one more reason people will come to this beautiful park and enjoy time outside and connect with nature,” she said.

The DNR estimates Mosquito Lake State Park attracts 3 million visitors per year, Mertz said. Exact numbers can’t be known because the park is free to enter and has multiple entrances.

“Ohio is one of only seven states that do not charge an entrance fee,” Mertz said with pride. “We have beautiful outdoor spaces all over Ohio, and we need first-rate facilities to match them.”

Comprising 7,850 acres, Mosquito Lake is one of the state’s largest lakes. The surrounding parkland encompasses 2,483 acres of woods and marshes.

Funding for the marina project came from the state’s waterway safety fund, which is derived from boater registration fees and motor fuel tax.

The 250-slip marina’s docks were also upgraded, and ADA-accessible fuel docks were installed.

The marina is near the state Route 305 entrance to the park on the west side of the lake.

The new building is just one improvement at the park in recent years. A new Storybook Trail was recently opened, the movie screen at the amphitheater was expanded, a dog park was installed and new playgrounds were built at the campground.

New fuel docks were also added to the marina.

“But one thing that was missing was this building to welcome boaters and anglers and bring more people to this spot,” Mertz said of the marina.

The new building replaces a more primitive “shack-like” structure that “didn’t meet visitor expectations,” Mertz said.

“Visitors want to feel welcome and safe,” she said. “When we have nice facilities, that makes it clear that we want to serve them.”

Those visitors give the entire area surrounding the park an economic boost.

“When people come here to spend the day, they’re not just at the state park,” Mertz said. “They will stop for lunch and to buy supplies, and if they’re not staying in our campground, they might be in a local hotel.”

Most of the park’s visitors come from a radius of up to a 90-minute drive, said Glen Cobb, chief of the natural resources department’s parks and watercraft division.

The ribbon was cut Monday on the new marina at Mosquito Lake State Park.

The Mosquito Lake marina is one of many improvement projects taking place in the state’s 76 state parks.

“People want new, and they want inviting,” he said.

Ohioans love to be on the water, he noted. “We received record numbers of boat registrations this year, over 600,000,” he said.

For those who do not have a boat, the marina operator has an ample inventory of new boats available for rent by the day or hour, he said.

Mosquito Lake hosts many fishing tournaments each year, attracting anglers from across the region.

“There is a good walleye population here, and people come for that,” Cobb said. “There’s also bluegill, crappie and other fish.”

Cobb was among several state and local officials at Monday’s marina unveiling. State Sen. Sandra O’Brien, who was also present, read a state Senate proclamation congratulating the park and its staff.

Pictured at top: The new marina building at Mosquito Lake State Park.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.