STEPHEN A FORBES STATE PARK
Picture yourself on the banks of a beautiful lake, surrounded by shady oaks and rolling hills. The presence of a graceful heron on the water, or deer or even a wild turkey in the nearby brush may be visible. A tug on the fishing line brings you back to the task at hand -- reeling in the first or your limit of largemouth bass, bluegill or crappie. As the sun comes up, take a swim at sandy Rocky Point Beach. The rest of the day offers many options, from hiking on the nature trails, to softball or volleyball at the Circle Drive Picnic Area to water skiing. Or, you may want to spend the night at the Oak Ridge Campground. All of this, and more, awaits visitors to Stephen A. Forbes State Recreation Area.
The Stephen A. Forbes State Recreation Area, located 15 miles northeast of Salem in Marion County, was originally only 20 acres with a two-acre pond being the only water available. Since that time in 1959, additions have been made which bring the total current park area to 3,103 acres. Of this total, 1,150 acres are forests of oak and hickory which surround a large lake. The lake was completed in 1963 and has 18 miles of shoreline. The area is named for natural scientist, Stephen Alfred Forbes, whose contributions in the field of biology, make him world renowned. His prolific scientific publications, over 400 titles, are still used extensively in the study of aquatic biology, ornithology, ichthyology, and ecology.
A recently modernized camping area, Oak Ridge Campground, is a great place to spend an overnight stay. There are 115 shaded campsites with electricity, water and a shower building available. Two sets of stairways and boat dock provide access to the lake for campers here. A 120-foot floating walkway connects the campground with the marina area as well.
If you have a group, two Rent-A-Camp sites are available. One site provides a large wall tent, cots, electric lights, table and grill. All you need to bring are people -- it can accommodate up to eight. The other site has a two room cabin with bunkbeds. These sites can be reserved by contacting the Park Office. For those preferring a more secluded spot with a scenic view of the lake, 10 walk-in sites are available. A separate Youth Group Camp is available at the Persimmon and Whippoorwill areas.
A beautiful 200-foot sand beach is located at Rocky Point where visitors can enjoy swimming or picnicking at the tables provided here. Alcoholic beverages are prohibited in the Rocky Point Area. Swimming is prohibited at all other areas of the lake, and swimming from boats is also prohibited.
Boat ramps provide easy access to the main lake. There is no limit on horsepower, but various sections of the lake are marked by buoys for water skiing and "no wake" speeds. The concession offers fishing boats for rental. Bait, tackle, gas, snacks, and meals are also available. Slips are available to rent for pontoon boats and smaller craft on a daily and seasonal basis.