Guernsey-Muskingum Electric Cooperative (GMEC) serves 17,091 consumer-members in east-central Ohio. The unglaciated terrain doesn’t lend itself to wide swaths of farmland, but the hills make for fine pasturelands for cattle raising, and poultry barns fit nicely in the valleys. Because it’s situated in the midst of the Utica Shale, the oil and gas industry is a strong economic driver for the region.
GMEC’s largest consumer-member, in terms of electricity use, is the Avon distribution center in Zanesville. Around 2.8 million Avon products are handled in this nearly 600,000-square-foot facility every day.
Astronaut and Senator John Glenn and his wife, Annie, grew up in the area and attended nearby Muskingum University. The John and Annie Glenn Museum in New Concord offers tours that enlighten visitors about the statesman’s life and career.
The great outdoors
The area has much to offer for outdoorsmen and women. Hunting is a popular pastime in this area of the state, and an abundance of state-owned and privately run spaces in the area served by GMEC means there’s no lack of opportunities for getting back to nature.
One of GMEC’s best-known consumer-members, The Wilds is a 10,000-acre conservation and education center operated by the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Visitors ride in open-air vehicles through the habitats of wild creatures, including rhinos, zebras, giraffes, and ostriches. Wild animals aren’t always friends to electrical distribution, though. GMEC once had to help the facility safely relocate ospreys that thought the tops of electrical poles were a good place to build their massive nests.
GMEC also powers Ohio’s largest state park. Hiking, fishing, golfing, a public beach, educational programs led by a naturalist, and more are available within the 17,229 acres of Salt Fork State Park. Fully equipped cabins are available to rent, as are accommodations with plenty of amenities at the lodge.
Most recently, the state opened the Jesse Owens State Park and Wildlife Area, adding 5,735 acres of recreational land to the region, with a promise to expand to over 13,000 acres.
Deerassic Park Education Center holds programs and events designed for the whole family to learn about and enjoy the outdoors. A herd of 30 deer call the property their home. Guernsey-Muskingum Electric Cooperative hosts a family fun day there every year, providing food and activities for members and their families.