HIDDEN SPRINGS STATE FOREST
Hidden Springs State Forest (formerly known as Shelby State Forest) consists of approximately 1,200 acres of land near Clarksburg, 10 miles southeast of Shelbyville.
The forest ownership consists of three separate tracts covering portions of eight sections of land. The terrain varies from flat bottomland areas along Richland Creek (which flows diagonally from northeast to southwest the entire length of the forest) to relatively steep hillsides. Generally the topography is gently rolling and broken by small draws and streams.
Trees Native trees in the forest include white, red, black, bur, post, pin, shingle and chinquapin oaks; ash; hickory; sugar maple; sycamore; silver maple; black walnut; and cottonwood. Plantations of native and introduced species include white, red and scotch pine; red cedar; sweet gum, butterjaps; tulip poplar; black locust; and cottonwoods. In addition, many other shrubs and minor individual species of trees are located throughout the forest.
A white pine and a scotch pine seed orchard are managed for the production of superior seed for use at the state tree nurseries. White pine coves are collected in August before the cones open and the seeds are allowed to fall out. Volunteer groups help collect scotch pine cones during the fall. Many different types of seeds and nuts are collected throughout the forest and sent to the state nurseries for processing and planting.
Thinning of some of the many pine plantations has begun, with the thinned areas being used for wildlife food and cover plantings. Eliminated trees are "chipped" and the shredded wood is spread on the forest trails. A demonstration pine management area shows the desired thinning and pruning process to be carried out in the pine plantations.
Management aims also include the growing of hardwoods, such as oak and blackwalnut. A forest improvement demonstration area shows the types of trees which would be removed in properly managed woodlands. Several areas are being managed for black walnut production using corrective pruning and vegetation control. Six experimental burn plots are maintained to show the effects of woods fire.
Some of the forest property, when first acquired, showed the detrimental effects of erosion. Immediate steps were initiated to reduce the ravages to the topsoil. Reforestation, terracing, grass seeding, sodding and toe wall construction are practices in use at Hidden Springs to stabilize the soil. Close cooperation with the Soil Conservation Service?s technical personnel has been beneficial.
The name Hidden Springs was selected to designate this particular state forest because of the seven known springs on the property which were used for drinking water by the early settlers. Over the years these springs have been covered over by natural siltation and vegetation (hence the name "Hidden Springs"). Rocky Spring and Quicksand Spring have access trails.
The entire forest area was originally planned as a state lake. These plans were altered when the construction of Shelbyville Reservoir began. The property was then assigned to the Division of Forestry in 1960 to be managed as a state forest. Following reorganization of the department in 1975 the property was reassigned to the Division of Land and Historic Sites. The area continues to be managed under the concept of multiple-use --- sound timber and resource management complimented by compatible recreational opportunities.
Reservations are accepted. Possum Creek, a Class "C" campground, includes drinking water, privie, sanitary disposal station, pedestal stoves, fire blocks and a fire ring. Campers may set up camp on the site of their choice. Forest staff issue permits on routine rounds. Shady Grove Campground accommodates groups by reservation only. Ground fires in both areas are allowed only in the fire rings provided.