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Ohio State Parks

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USA Parks
Southeast Ohio Region
Dean State Forest
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Located in the unglaciated hill country of extreme south central Ohio, Dean, one of Ohio's first state forests, was established in June of 1916 The early history of the region centered around Dutch and Irish farmers who emigrated from Pennsylvania. From the early 1800s to about 1900, most of the timber in the area was cut for charcoal to supply blast furnaces for the smelting of locally mined iron ore. The area had also been burned over many times by fires started along the Cincinnati, Hamilton and Dayton Railroad which ran through the forest. Thus, when the land was purchased in 1916 for Dean State Forest, it was largely denuded of trees and was used as an early reforestation experimental area to determine the best species and planting methods. Several of the planting, such as the white pine, red pine and tuliptree along State Route 373 in Texas Hollow, are visible resuolts of those experiments and efforts. In the early 1930s, a Civilian Conservation Camp was located on the forest. Supervised by the Division of Forestry, camp personnel constructed and improved access roads and did much timber stand improvement work. Today, Dean contains an unbroken block of 2,745 acres of forest land. A side variety of recreational opportunities exist at Dean State Forest. One popular activity is hunting. Deer, wild turkey, grouse, squirrel and rabbits are hunted in season at Dean. Several small ponds are located on the forest, and used by anglers. Mushroom and ginseng hunting are becoming increasingly popular activities. Approximately 20 miles of bridle trails run throughout the forest and offer users a scenic ride through the woods. Hiking is also permitted on the bridle trails.

Forest Rules
History of the Area
Dean State Forest is a 607-acre state forest located in Belmont County, Ohio. The forest was established in 1922 as a result of the Ohio legislature's passage of House Bill 942, aimed at acquiring lands for reforestation and conservation purposes.

The history of Dean State Forest dates back to the early 1900s when the area was heavily logged for its valuable timber. The deforestation led to erosion, loss of wildlife habitat, and diminished water quality in the nearby streams and rivers. Recognizing the ecological and economic significance of forests, the state of Ohio embarked on reforestation efforts to restore the forested areas.

Dean State Forest was named after George W. Dean, a prominent state senator from Belmont County who championed the cause of conservation. The forest was established to demonstrate the potential of reforestation and educate the public about the benefits of sustainable forestry practices.

In the early days, the forest was primarily used for research and experimentation in timber management and wildlife conservation. Foresters conducted various studies and experiments to determine suitable tree species for timber production and the impact of forest management practices on wildlife populations.

Dean State Forest has been managed using sustainable forestry practices, including selective logging, tree planting, and habitat improvement initiatives. These practices aim to ensure the long-term health and productivity of the forest while providing recreational opportunities for visitors.

Dean State Forest offers various recreational activities, including hiking, bird watching, hunting, and nature photography. It provides a tranquil natural setting for visitors to enjoy the beauty of Ohio's woodlands and wildlife.

Dean State Forest has a rich history as a reforestation and conservation project in Ohio. It showcases the importance of sustainable forestry practices and serves as a valuable recreational resource for the local community and visitors.
GeneralLand, acres2,745
 Hiking Trail, miles20
 Bridle Trails, miles20
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Dean State Forest is located near Ashland, Greenup and Ironton

1. The Dean State Forest Loop: A 3-mile moderate trail, featuring a lake and abundant wildlife; suitable for all skill levels.

2. Buckeye Trail Section: This challenging section of the statewide Buckeye Trail is approximately 10 miles long through dense forested areas.

3. Lake Katharine Nature Preserve Trails: Located near Dean State Forest, offers six trails ranging from .5 to 2 miles in length with varying difficulty levels.

4. Copperhead Fire Tower Pathway: Short but steep half mile hike leading up to an old fire tower offering panoramic views of surrounding forests.

5. Hocking Hills Connector Trail - Partly within the boundaries of Dean state forest, this part connects several parks over its approximate total distance of about fifty-two miles.

6.The Wildcat Hollow Backpacking Route - An extensive twenty-six-mile path that traverses various terrains including meadows and woodlands; ideal for experienced hikers or backpackers.

7.Rockhouse Valley Multi-use Trails- These are multiple interconnected paths totaling around ten kilometers designed primarily for mountain biking but also open to hiking enthusiasts

8.Scioto River Waterfront Walk-A serene two-kilometer pathway along Scioto river's edge providing beautiful water vistas throughout its course

9.Hemlock Bridge Singletrack-A moderately difficult three kilometer single track route winding through lush hemlock groves

10.Bailey's Mountain Bike System-Spread across thirty-seven kilometres these multi-purpose tracks offer diverse experiences like rock gardens & stream crossings besides regular hikes

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Area Fishing Related Businesses
Bloom Lake
775 Bloom Furnace Rd # C
South Webster, OH
(740) 778-9213
Vic's Bait & Tackle Shop
115 Cemetary Rd
Ironton, OH
(740) 532-6847
Area Accommodations (over 20 miles away)
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Hidden Cave Cabin - Rockbridge, OH
Cottages and Cabins
Hidden Cave Cabin is an authentic log cabin with 2 bedrooms in a private wooded setting. It is located on one of the most scenic drives in Hocking Hills and just 3.6 miles to Rock House and less than 10 miles to Conkle's Hollow and Old Man's Cave.
57.5 miles from park*
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Cottages and Cabins
Trickle Creek offers luxury cabins in Hocking Hills. The cabins are situated on nearly 236 acres of secluded cabin rentals in the deep wooded ravines in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in Hocking County, Ohio.
61.7 miles from park*

1. Start by heading west on Route 32.
2. Continue on Route 32 for approximately 30 miles.
3. Take the exit onto Route 50 West.
4. Stay on Route 50 West for about 10 miles.
5. Take a left onto State Route 138.
6. Continue on State Route 138 for approximately 5 miles.
7. The Dean State Forest will be on your right.

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Ohio State Parks