Buckeye Lake Regional Park Manager Tim Waln was honored at a Sept. 8 retirement dinner at the North Shore Park in Columbus. Above Deputy Parks Chief Scott Fletcher, left, presents a plaque to Waln for his nearly 27 years of service. Tory Wolfe organized the dinner. Waln started as a volunteer at Caesar Creek State Park after graduating from college. He was driving 90 miles a day to the park and put in 500 hours before being hired as a seasonal worker. He then went to Ranger School and graduated with Dan West who retired last year as Chief of ODNR’s Division of Parks. Waln worked in 10 different parks during his ODNR career, coming to Buckeye Lake as park manager in 2003. About three years ago, he was promoted to regional manager with responsibility for Buckeye Lake, Deer Creek and A. W. Marion. Management ranks in the Division of Parks have been dwindling as the Division’s financial condition deteriorates. Regional park managers are being given management responsibility for more and more parks, increasing their time on the highway and cutting their time in the parks. Waln became frustrated being spread so thin and knew it would be getting worse. After his retirement, West became director of the Broward County, Florida Parks and Recreation Division. Waln applied for a regional park manager position with the division. He will manage Tradewinds Park at Coconut Creek. At 626.7 acres, it is one of Broward County’s largest and most diverse parks. It includes a disc golf course, a fishing lake, athletic fields, the world-famous Butterfly World, horse stables, an educational farm, model steam train rides, playgrounds and picnic areas with shelter houses. Waln said his family is a little nervous about the move and all six of his children will be entering the Florida educational system. Buckeye Lake will now be overseen by Regional Park Manager Hal Harper who is based at Salt Fork State Park outside of Cambridge. He reportedly recently added Dillon State Park to his responsibilities as well. Beacon photo by Charles Prince.