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12-14-02: Manager hired for state park
The Daily Standard
    Craig Morton, a 22-year employee of the Ohio state parks system, has been hired as the new manager at Grand Lake St. Marys State Park in Auglaize and Mercer counties.
    Morton also becomes the new regional manager at Grand Lake St. Marys and Lake Loramie state parks. The regional manager's position was created in light of recent state budget cuts to better utilize and share resources among different state parks.
    Morton replaces former Grand Lake St. Marys State Park Manager Frank Giannola, who accepted the park manager's position at Indian Lake State Park in Logan County this past summer. Giannola has been the manager at Grand Lake since April 2000.
    Morton, 48, will leave his position as manager of Kelleys Island State Park on Lake Erie to begin his new job around Jan. 1, said Dan West, chief of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Parks and Recreation.
    "We will have him meeting with people (at Grand Lake St. Marys State Park) next week and try to do our best to relocate him as quickly as possible," West said Friday. "We have such a great management staff at Grand Lake that we think they will complement one another quite well."
    Division of Parks and Recreation Assistant Chief Jon Dobney said Morton's broad experience and commitment to community and partnership building put him over the top of the other candidates. Dobney said Morton's salary has not been set yet, but it will range between $60,000 and $65,000 annually.
    "Every place he has been he has been really involved in community and partnership building, something that is really important in any park, but especially important at Grand Lake," Dobney said.
    Morton's previous positions with the state parks system include manager at Headlands Beach State Park in Lake County and maintenance supervisor at Punderson State Park in Geauga County. He has been at Kelleys Island since 1993.
    He holds an associate's degree in forest technology from Hocking College in Yellow Springs and is a graduate of the 16th Ohio State Parks Ranger Academy.
    Morton currently resides on Kelleys Island with his wife and young daughter.
    West said Kelleys Island operates a campground, historic glacial grooves tour area, picnic grounds, beach resort and resort yurts (cabin-like structures). The staff lives on the island in a dormitory and there is a separate home for the park manager.
    West said six people were interviewed for the Grand Lake position. All were either current or former park managers or assistant managers.
    Morton was on vacation and unavailable for comment Friday afternoon.
    Grand Lake St. Marys Park is a 14,000-acre area that includes Ohio's largest inland lake, a 216-site campground, four swimming beaches, five boat launch areas and a full service marina. More than 1.3 million visited the park last year.


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