BEAVER CREEK STATE FOREST
BEAVER CREEK STATE FOREST
Lisbon, Ohio 44432
For more than twenty years, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) has been acquiring land from willing sellers and securing conservation easements in the area surrounding the Little Beaver Creek. In 1998, ODNR acquired an additional 1,122 acres east of Grimm?s Bridge near Calcutta, Ohio.
Those of you who live in or are familiar with the area know of its attributes and the demand for trail riding, hiking, hunting, and other outdoor activities. The need for accommodating diverse outdoor recreation coupled with the protection of the unique resource was a primary factor in establishing Ohio?s 20th State Forest under the multiple use management philosophy of the ODNR Division of Forestry.
Given the history and features of the region, and the diverse interests in its use and protection, we knew that there would be much interest in using this resource. To overlook this would have been irresponsible on our part.
At this point, we have located part of the boundary for the larger, southern tract of land. The website map linked above identifies this area generally. Within that area we have marked a large portion with ?Public Hunting Area? signs. We have been advising people that the area east of Grimm?s Bridge from the railroad right-of-way east to the Pennsylvania line will be marked for public hunting. The Pennsylvania/Ohio state line remains to be marked. As always, it is the responsibility of those hunting to know whose land they are on. (Consult our map of Beaver Creek State Forest showing hunting area boundary.)
In addition to those who want to hunt on the property, there are those who want to fish, ride mountain bikes and quad runners, hike, and ride horses. We will not be able to do all of this in a short period of time. And there will undoubtedly be activities that will not be permitted at all. Our forest rule 1501:3-4-04 states that ?No person shall operate any motor vehicle or ride any APV, snowmobile, bicycle, dog sled, or horse within any state forest except over and upon roads, trails or other facilities designated and provided and posted for such purpose unless authorized by the chief or his authorized agent.? Currently we are citing those individuals that we catch riding quad runners on our property. To this end we will assess the current facilities as well as the overall needs for the area. In order to obtain the input of many individuals and potential user groups, we feel that this is the most responsible approach.
Beaver Creek State Forest is located in Columbiana County, Ohio, and has a rich history dating back to the early 19th century. The area that is now Beaver Creek State Forest was once heavily forested and home to Native American tribes, including the Mingo and Delaware tribes.
In the early 1800s, European settlers began to establish communities and industries in the region. The forest was part of the larger "Big Beaver Creek Valley," which became a major industrial center. The fast-flowing creek provided power for numerous mills and factories, including gristmills, sawmills, paper mills, and ironworks.
The forest's transformation into a state forest began in the 1930s during the Great Depression. President Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration initiated various programs to provide employment and stimulate the economy. One of these programs was the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), which aimed to employ young men in conserving natural resources and developing recreational areas.
The CCC established Camp Beaver Creek in what is now Beaver Creek State Forest in 1933. The young men working in the camp undertook numerous projects, including constructing roads, trails, fire towers, picnic shelters, and cabins. They also engaged in reforestation efforts to replenish the previously logged areas.
During World War II, Camp Beaver Creek became a German Prisoner of War camp, housing captured German soldiers. After the war, the forest returned to the Ohio Division of Forestry.
In 1982, Beaver Creek State Forest was designated a state forest by the Division of Forestry. Today, it covers approximately 2,700 acres and is managed for multiple purposes, including timber production, wildlife habitat preservation, and outdoor recreation.
Many of the CCC structures and historical sites remain within the forest, including the Gaston's Mill, which is a fully operational gristmill that attracts visitors. The Pioneer Village, established in 1960, showcases log cabins and buildings from the 19th century, giving visitors a glimpse into the region's history.
Beaver Creek State Forest has a fascinating history that reflects the development of industry in the area, the intervention of government programs during the Great Depression, and the commitment to conservation and heritage preservation.