DELAWARE STATE PARK
Dense woodlands, expansive meadows and a shimmering reservoir blend to create Delaware State Park. Once home to the Delaware Indians, this recreational area offers camping, swimming, boating, fishing and wildlife viewing for outdoor enthusiasts.
Delaware State Park rests in the midst of the fertile agricultural till plains of Delaware County. In contrast to the surrounding farmlands, the park offers a variety of natural features. The area lies upon Columbus limestone. Formed over 350 million years ago, this bedrock outcrops in a north-south band through Ohio. The rock has been quarried for years and utilized in many ways including the construction of the state capitol building in Columbus.
Before settlement of the area, a rich beech-maple forest covered the landscape. That original forest has long since been cut, but a healthy second growth forest is preserved in the park. The woodlands and meadows harbor a diverse array of plant and animal life. Interested observers can find large-flowered trillium, wild blue phlox, Queen Anne's lace and New England asters. The fields and woodlots are home to the fox squirrel, woodchuck, rabbit and white-tailed deer. The adjacent wildlife area is populated with ring-necked pheasant, while the lake and wetlands are a mecca for waterfowl. Birdwatching is popular here as many species of songbirds nest in the area. A bluebird management trail attracts this beautiful cavity-nesting bird.
The town, county and park of this area are all named for the Delaware tribe. These people were referred to by other Indians as Na-Be-Naugh-a or "people from the east." They moved westward from their ancestral home in the Delaware Valley to escape pressure exerted upon them by the fierce Iroquois nation. The tribe assumed the name of Delaware, derived from the designation of their eastern valley. The word originates from the name of Lord Delaware, once the governor of Virginia.
In Ohio, the Delaware joined with other tribes including the Wyandot and Shawnee to block the western expansion of the settlers. A reminder of this long struggle is reflected in the ruins of Fort Morrow located on private property north of SR 229.
In the early 1800s, a route near present U.S. 23 was well worn by folks destined for Lake Erie. A brick tavern, constructed in 1810, served as a resting place for the travelers. The structure was built on a small hill overlooking the valley now holding the reservoir. In response to the coming war with the British and Indians, a Captain Taylor directed the building of a palisade around the tavern. The new Fort Morrow served to protect the establishment as well as to function as a sanctuary for local settlers in case of Indian attack. Although several scares brought families to its protective cover, no actual attacks were recorded.
Delaware Lake was created by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with the construction of a flood control dam in 1951. The flood control reservoir was dedicated as a state park later that year.
Ohio does not have an annual pass and does not charge entrance fees to state parks.
Nearby Wildlife Area, acres4,670
Hiking Trail, miles7
Swimming Beach, feet800
Boating LimitsUnlimited HP
Seasonal Dock Rental273
Launch Ramps, #2
Fuel For Saleyes
CampingElectric Sites, #211
Youth Group Camp, capacity100
The campground offers 214 sites suitable for tents or trailers. The campground features flush toilets, showers, laundry facilities and a dump station. Electricity is supplied at 164 of the sites. A group camp is available for organized youth groups on a reservation basis. Pets are permitted at designated sites. Three Rent-A-Camp units, consisting of a tent, sheltered picnic table and other equipment, may be reserved during the season.
The public beach at Delaware is popular with park visitors. Facilities include bathhouse, showers and a snack bar. Two boat/swim areas are designated on the lake.
Boating with unlimited horsepower is permitted. Boat-launching ramps are conveniently located around the lake. Boat and dock rentals are offered seasonally. A fully equipped marina offers fuel, fishing and boating supplies.