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Buckeye Lake State Park '' © Gabriele Swanson
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USA Parks
Ohio
Central Ohio Region
Buckeye Lake State Park
BUCKEYE LAKE STATE PARK
BUCKEYE LAKE STATE PARK
Box 488, 2905 Liebs Island Rd
Millersport, Ohio   43046-0488

Phone: 740-467-2690
Buckeye Lake State Park
© Gabriele Swanson 2008

website

Buckeye Lake State Park
© Gabriele Swanson 2008

website

Buckeye Lake, constructed as a canal feeder lake in 1826, is Ohio's oldest state park. The park has long been a popular vacation spot and today offers endless water-related recreational opportunities including swimming, skiing, boating and fishing.
Lake Map (pdf)
Nature of the Area
At one time, the ground now known as Buckeye Lake was swampland resulting from glaciation. Thousands of years ago the glaciers moved south across Ohio altering drainage systems and landscape. Natural lakes, known as kettles, were created when huge chunks of ice broke off the glacier and melted in depressions. Other lakes were formed when the glacier blocked existing water outlets. As time progressed, clay and silt settled out of the still water into the bottom of the lakes.

Today as we study the landscape, we can learn of the old lake locations by the nature of the underlying clay and silt. The large area of fine clay sediment in the Buckeye Lake region indicates that the glacial lake was broader than the present man-made lake.

When the white man began settling in Ohio, only a few of the ancient lakes remained. They were shallow and swampy, and more correctly classified as bogs or marshes. Explorer Christopher Gist, while traveling the Scioto-Beaver Trail just south of Buckeye Lake, camped by the watery bog's edge. In 1751, he named the area Buffalo Lick or Great Swamp in his journal. The Great Swamp included two long narrow ponds that were joined during high water. A considerable part of the wetland was a cranberry-sphagnum bog. Cranberry Bog, a state nature preserve and a National Natural Landmark, is situated in Buckeye Lake. When the lake was impounded in 1826, Cranberry Bog broke loose from the bottom and became a floating island which may conceivably be the only one of its kind in the world. Most of the islan

d is an open sphagnum moss meadow with an abundance of cranberries and pitcher plants making the area a naturalist's delight. Access to the island is by permit only from the ODNR Division of Natural Areas and Preserves.

Buckeye Lake's shoreline offers excellent habitat for waterfowl. Good bird-watching opportunities exist especially during the spring and fall migrations. One of the state's largest great blue heron rookeries is situated on adjacent private land, but the birds can often be seen in the park.
History of the Area
In order to provide interconnecting waterways for a growing state, a canal system was developed in the early 1800's. The system required feeder lakes to supply the water necessary to maintain the four-foot canal water level. Because of their location, areas such as St. Marys, Indian Lake, Lake Loramie, Guilford and Buckeye lakes were to be developed as part of the project.

The canal project was formally started by Governor Jeremiah Morrow on July 4, 1825 in a special ceremony near Newark. In attendance was New York's DeWitt Clinton, the father of the Erie Canal. Ohio's canal system was becoming a reality.

Construction of the dike blocking drainage into the South Fork of the Licking River began in 1826 and was completed in 1830, forming the Licking Summit Reservoir which would eventually become Buckeye Lake. Before impoundment, the forests were not cleared leaving large tracts of timber and brush emergent in the newly formed lake.

As the water level rose, several large mats of sphagnum moss broke loose from the bottom and became "floating islands". Other islands were created because the land was above the water level.

During the canal era, canal boats traveled along the original western end of the lake. This lake however, was not large enough to supply the necessary water for the canal so it was enlarged. Later, in order to provide an even larger amount of water, another lake was developed north and west of the original one. A dike, known as "Middle Wall", separated the Old Reservoir and New Reservoir. This dike was used as a towpath for the canal.

With the advent of railroads, the canal system became outdated. Many miles of canal fell into disuse and were abandoned or sold. In 1894, the General Assembly of Ohio set a policy whereby the feeder reservoirs were established as public parks. At that time, the name of Licking Summit Reservoir was changed to Buckeye Lake.

By 1900, there were numerous cottages and several amusement parks around Buckeye Lake. In the early 1900's, as recreational use increased and power boats became popular, the "North Bank" was reinforced and the "Middle Wall" removed. Development continued around the lake. During the 1940's and 50's, many folks traveled to the Buckeye Lake Amusement Park to see big-band stars, dance and picnic.

In 1949, when the Ohio Department of Natural Resources was created, the area officially became Buckeye Lake State Park.
FACILITIES AND ACTIVITIES OVERVIEW
GeneralLand, acres176
 Water, acres3173
Day-UseFishingyes
 Huntingyes
 Picnickingyes
 Picnic Shelters, #4
 Swimming Beachyes
BoatingBoating LimitsUnlimited HP
 Seasonal Dock Rental136
 Launch Ramps, #9
 Fuel For Saleyes
WinterCross-Country Skiingyes
 Ice Boatingyes
 Ice Skatingyes
 Ice Fishingyes
Swimming
Public swimming areas with parking facilities, change booths and latrines are located at Fairfield Beach and at Brooks Park on the south side of the lake. Beaches are open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Two boat/swim areas are offered as well.
Boating
The 3,300-acre Buckeye Lake is designated as an unlimited horsepower lake, but pontoons, sailboats, canoes and rowboats are also common. Access to the lake is available at several public launch ramps.


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Nearby Parks


Picnicking
Several picnic areas with tables and grills are situated in quiet spots overlooking the lake. Shelters are available on a first come, first served basis.
Area Attractions
Hebron Fish Hatchery is located just north of Buckeye Lake on Canal Road. Administered by the ODNR Division of Wildlife, the area is open to the public. The ponds, trails and woodlots at the area provide excellent bird-watching opportunities. Over 250 species of birds have been recorded at the hatchery.

Dawes Arboretum is a non-profit private foundation engaged in scientific education in horticulture, natural history and arboretum history. The arboretum is open from dawn to dusk everyday except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. Dawes is located on S.R. 13 just north of I-70 near the east-end of Buckeye Lake. For information call (614) 323-1255.

Other local attractions include Flint Ridge Memorial and Moundbuilders Park in Newark, both operated by the Ohio Historical Society.
Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
July 13 Great fishing and swimming


Area Campgrounds

Buckeye Lake KOA/Cols. East
4460 Walnut Rd
Buckeye Lake, OH
740-928-0706


Rippling Stream Campground
3640 Reynoldsburg-Baltimore Ro
Baltimore, OH
740-862-6065


Lazy River At Granville
2340 Dry Creek Road, N.E.
Granville, OH
740-366-4385


Area Fishing Related Businesses
Bob's Outdoor Supply
233 Union St
Newark, OH
(740) 349-0992


Millersport Bait & Tackle
12325 Lancaster St
Millersport, OH
(740) 467-2707


Farquhar & Steinbaugh Hunting & Fishing Supplies
116 Union St
Newark, OH
(740) 344-6200


Fishing: Walmart #1594
911 Hebron Rd
Heath, OH
(740) 522-5841


Area Accommodations (over 15 miles away)
The Grand Bentley Lodge - Rockbridge, OHCottages and Cabins
A spectacular, one-of-a-kind log home in the scenic Hocking Hills. Stunning solid walnut flooring. A grand great room with huge windows and a two-story stone fireplace. A spectacular recreation area with pool table, home theater, and a large hot tub right outside.
Web Site: grandbentleylodge.com
23.7 miles from park*
The Ohio Outback Lodge - McConnelsville, OHCottages and Cabins
In the heart of Ohio the Outback Lodge is located in Southeast Ohio, just minutes from the beautiful Muskingum River. The 2,200 square foot Lodge is constructed of Pine Logs, full basement, beautiful rural setting. It has wooded area as well as a creek and pond. This is a beautiful outdoor vacation spot.
Web Site: theohiooutbacklodge.com
38.4 miles from park*
Rose's Vacation Cabin - Glouster, OHCottages and Cabins
Burr Oak State Park - Located in the rolling hills of southeastern Ohio. Rose's Vacation Cabin Rental is a special place to make your Honeymoon, Anniversary, or Family Getaway a relaxing experience.
Web Site: rosesvacationcabinrental.com
36.3 miles from park*
Haven Inn the Hills - Logan, OHCottages and Cabins
Great for a private relaxing get away. Whether you are looking for rest and relaxation with that special someone, or the best cook-out for family and friends Haven Inn The Hills is the answer for you.
Web Site: haveninnthehills.com
34.2 miles from park*
Area Resources
Hocking Hills Internet Guide - hockinghills.com - Rockbridge, OHTourism
Offical Guide to Southeastern Ohio's Scenic Wonderland, the Hocking Hills. The 9 State Parks and State Forests. How to get there, things to do, interesting local merchants, what to see, places to stay. Reserve your cabin or campsite online
Web Site: hockinghills.com
36.3 miles from park*
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2905 Liebs Island Road, Millersport, OH 43046

USA Parks
Ohio
Central Ohio Region
Buckeye Lake State Park
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