The Wood County Park District is a natural resources conservation agency with twenty parks and nature preserves.
Located in Northwest Ohio just south of Toledo, the Wood County Park District was originally established to administer land along the River that had been donated by the Nyswander-Thurston family of Grand Rapids in 1934. In accordance with Ohio law, a Board of Park Commissioners was formed, and a small millage was set aside from the county taxes to cover expenses. A few years later, Otsego Park was purchased from the State following the bankruptcy of the former amusement park. In 1951, William Henry Harrison Park was created when the Pemberville Civic Club sold their land along the Portage River to the Park District.
Over the years, each park has been developed to enhance the natural, cultural and historical aspects in their respective areas. At the time, however, the costs associated with the maintenance of those facilities outweighed the small millage set aside for Park District operations. As a result, the Park District donated the Nyswander-Thurston Park property to the State of Ohio in 1969, creating Mary Jane Thurston State Park.
With the addition of maintenance responsibilities at the former Wood County Infirmary site, potential responsibilities for operation of the proposed Cedar Creeks Preserve, and the demand for new park areas, it became apparent that the Park District needed a levy to continue park operations.
The first park levy was passed in 1988. With the passage by the voters, improvements were made to existing parks and opportunities for new facilities and expanded programs for the area residents were realized.
Since that time, the Park District has grown from three parks with twenty-two acres to twenty-one parks spread throughout the county that encompass more than 1,251 acres of park lands. This growth would not have been possible without the strong support of our community.