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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.

Over the years, 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.

Today, 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.

In conclusion, 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

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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*

The Dean State Forest is located in Ohio. Here are directions to reach the forest:

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.

We hope you enjoy your visit to the Dean State Forest!

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Ohio State Parks