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USA Parks
Ohio
Northwest Ohio Region
Mary Jane Thurston State Park
MARY JANE THURSTON STATE PARK
MARY JANE THURSTON STATE PARK
1466 State Route 65
McClure, Ohio   43534

Phone: 419-832-7662
Reservations: 866-644-6727
Mary Jane Thurston State Park
© Gene Shirk 2009

website

Mary Jane Thurston State Park
© Gene Shirk 2009

website

Mary Jane Thurston State Park
© Gene Shirk 2009

website

Mary Jane Thurston State Park
© Gene Shirk 2009

website

Mary Jane Thurston State Park
© Gene Shirk 2009

website

Situated along the historic Maumee River, Mary Jane Thurston State Park offers a variety of day-use and overnight activities. The Maumee is not only scenic, but also provides some of the best stream fishing in Ohio. Boaters have access to the river while history buffs may explore the remnants of the old canal.
Nature of the Area
Northwestern Ohio was covered by a massive ice sheet during the Ice Age. As the ice melted, the area from Fort Wayne, Indiana to western New York was covered by a large lake named Lake Maumee by geologists. With the retreating of the ice, new eastern outlets opened and eventually present-day Lake Erie was formed.

As the water drained from the state, swamps formed in the lowlands. The Great Black Swamp, 120 miles long and 30 to 40 miles wide, included the Maumee Valley. The heavily wooded swamp was a barrier to westward settlement. By 1900, through the use of a major system of dikes and ditches, the area was drained. The dark soils of the old swamp became fertile agricultural lands.

Ridges of sand or old beaches can be found from Liberty Center, Ohio northeast to Detroit. Known in Ohio as the Oak Openings, these sand beaches were formed when present-day Lake Erie was larger. Originally, the Oak Openings were surrounded by dense swamp forests. Today, the Oak Openings area includes impressive dunes, bogs, prairies, swamp forests and a variety of unique vegetation.
History of the Area
This area was the rich hunting grounds of many Indian tribes. As settlers moved west, hostilities arose. President Washington appointed General Anthony Wayne to lead forces into the area. After building Fort Defiance in 1794, at the junction of the Maumee and Auglaize rivers, Wayne advanced down the Maumee Valley. At the Battle of Fallen Timbers, Wayne's troops defeated the Indian warriors commanded by Blue Jacket. This battle put an end to twenty years of conflict between Indian and settler.

In later years, the canal building era had a great influence on the region. The Miami and Erie Canal, which traveled north from Cincinnati, merged with the Wabash and Erie Canal south of Defiance in 1845, linking Cincinnati to Lake Erie. The canal stimulated development and trade along its route.

In order to better use the slackwater at the head of the Maumee River near the community of Gilead, a second dam was built by the state in 1845. Previously, a smaller dam had been built across part of the river to power a mill. The citizens were outraged about the new dam which limited water power to the mill and one night destroyed the dam. As a compromise, the Gilead Side Cut Canal was built, connecting Gilead with the Miami and Erie Canal, and a replacement dam was constructed. In 1855, the canal port of Gilead was incorporated as Grand Rapids.

In 1928, Mary Jane Thurston, a Grand Rapids schoolteacher bequeathed fourteen acres of land to be used as a park. After several transfers and leases, Mary Jane Thurston State Park was dedicated in 1968. Adjacent property and additional land upriver, known as North Turkeyfoot Area, were purchased in 1968 and 1969.
FACILITIES AND ACTIVITIES OVERVIEW
GeneralLand, acres591
 Water, acres-11
 Nearby State Forest, acres3068
Day-UseFishingyes
 Huntingyes
 Hiking Trail, miles9
 Picnickingyes
BoatingBoating LimitsUnlimited HP
 Seasonal Dock Rental10
 Launch Ramps, #4
CampingPrimative, #35
 Pets Permittedyes
 Flush Toiletsyes
 Camper Cabins, #2
WinterSleddingyes
 Cross-Country Skiingyes
 Ice Skatingyes
 Ice Fishingyes
Camping
A small campground offers 31 non-electric sites. Fifteen of these sites are designated for walk-in tent camping. Picnic tables and fire rings are provided. Latrines and restrooms are located nearby. Pet camping is permitted all sites. Additional walk-in sites are available in the North Turkeyfoot Area. Permits can be obtained at the park office.
Nearby Accommodations
The Housley House Bed and Breakfast - Grand Rapids, OHBBs / Inns
a majestic Victorian manor that sits on the lofty banks of the mighty Maumee River overlooking the historical town of Grand Rapids, Ohio. Sit back and share time inside the gathering rooms, on the front porch swing, or in the enchanted English garden, filled with beautiful perennials, roses of every color and unique plants and flowers.
0.9 miles from park*
Boating
There are twenty miles of open water for boating on the Maumee River. Two launch ramps and a marina are situated in the park. Information on dock rental can be obtained at the park office.


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Nearby Parks


Picnicking
Picnic tables, grills, restrooms and water are located along the river shore. An enclosed day-use lodge was constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in 1936. This heated building can be reserved year-round for reunions and meetings for a nominal fee. Contact the park office for details.
Trails
A one-mile portion of the Buckeye Trail passes through the park following the side cut canal. The trail continues on to the Village of Grand Rapids. A one-mile loop trail winds through the floodplain forest while an easy half-mile trail circles the day use area. Six miles of trails in the North Turkeyfoot Area may be used for backpacking, horseback riding or mountain biking.
Area Attractions
Nearby parks include Providence Metropark (Grand Rapids) and Independence Dam State Park (Defiance). The Isaac Ludwig Mill, within Providence Park, is operated seasonally. Built in 1846, this water-powered grist mill has been restored. Independence Dam includes hiking, camping and picnicking facilities as well as a restored canal lock. Maumee State Forest, located 8 miles from the park, provides recreation opportunities.

A monument to the Battle of Fallen Timbers is located between Maumee and Waterville on U.S. 24. Also of historical interest is the restored Fort Meigs near Perrysburg. The original fort was built by General William Henry Harrison during the War of 1812.
Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
October 10 its a good place to have some fun by Seth Austin
BEAUTIFUL I go fishing every week end thats how good it is
June 25 close to home by Sally M.
Nice park, rangers are friendly and helpful. and we will return because its close to home when sometimes you want to camp but may have to work 1/2 day on sats and you dont have far to drive. great memories there. last may we took our cocker camping who passed away last year it was her favorite thing to do.
May 20 Great Camping by Mike & Kim
Nice camp sites on the river.The Park is beautiful.The Ranger was freindly and helpful with information.We will return several more times this Summer.


Area Campgrounds

Bluegrass Campground
5751 Waterville-Swanton Rd.
Swanton, OH
419-875-5110


Twin Acres Campground
12029 Waterville-Swanton Road
Whitehouse, OH
419-877-2684


Fire Lake Camper Park
13630 W. Kramer Rd.
Bowling Green, OH
419-352-1185


Area Fishing Related Businesses
Texas Bait Shop
4336 US Highway 24
Liberty Center, OH
(419) 533-4043


Chris's Bait & Tackle
24316 Front St
Grand Rapids, OH
(419) 832-0989


Area Cabins and Lodges
Kerr House the Health Resorts
17777 Beaver St
Grand Rapids, OH
(419) 832-1733


Area Accommodations (over 15 miles away)
Quality Inn Suites - Columbia City, INHotels/Motels
We provide easy access to area attractions and businesses. Only minutes from the Fort Wayne International Airport, Chain O' Lakes State Park and the Wagon Wheel Theatre. Children of all ages will enjoy having fun at nearby Paige's Crossing family entertainment park. Free wireless high-speed Internet.
Web Site: choicehotels.com/hotel/in294
85.9 miles from park*
Indian Creek Camp Conference Center - Tecumseh, MICampgrounds
Enjoy Southeast Michigan's Best Family Camping experience at our clean, quiet, friendly campground. Jumping Pillow, WiFi, Paddle Boats, Minigolf, Swimming, Bicycling and more
Web Site: indiancreekcamping.com
41.8 miles from park*
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Directions
1-466 State Route 65, McClure, Ohio 43534

USA Parks
Ohio
Northwest Ohio Region
Mary Jane Thurston State Park
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