FERNWOOD STATE FOREST
The 3,023 acre Fernwood State Forest was purchased in 1961. A substantial portion of the land has been strip mined for coal. However, the production of acid mine water is minimal because of the neutralizing effect of limestone deposits. The majority of unstripped lands are located on ridges or in valleys, and are in forest cover. Subsequent reforestration and installation of recreation facilities, funded through the Appalachian Regional Development Act of 1965 and the Ohio Capital Improvements program, have restored the area to a beautiful, healthy forest, providing visitors with many outdoor recreational opportunities. Hidden Hollow Campground, with 22 family campsites, is equipped with picnic tables, fire rings and vault latrines. Campers must provide their own water. Campers must select a site; a forest officer will issue permits, and familiarize visitors with camping regulations. Located just outside the perimeter of the Hidden Hollow Campground is the Fernwood State Forest Land Lab. The land lab is used to promote natural resource and environmental education. A three-mile hiking trail loops around most of Fernwood's largest tract. Picnic tables located in several areas, and the Little Round Top Picnic area provide forest users with ample opportunities to relax, eat, and enjoy the forest's natural beauty. Two scenic vistas provide breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. Parking areas are located throughout in the forest area. The forest is open to public fishing and hunting under Division of Wildlife regulations. Many ponds are scattered throughout the area and have been stocked with largemouth bass, bluegill and channel catfish. Hunters pursue white-tailed deer and many small game species including squirrel, rabbit, and grouse. Hunting is not permitted within 400 feet of any camping area, residence or structure, and firearms may not be discharged on, from or across any road or driveway. Three shooting ranges are located southwest of the Hidden Hollow Campground. There are separate areas for pistol, rifle and trap shooting. Users need to furnish their own targets (paper or clay only), and must clean up their casings and debris before leaving. Ranges are open daily from one half hour before sunrise to one half hour after sunset. The operation of motor vehicles is not permitted off designated roadways.
Fernwood State Forest is located in Monroe County, Ohio. It was established in 1977 and encompasses an area of approximately 1,450 acres. The area has a rich history, dating back to the early settlement of the region.
The land that now constitutes Fernwood State Forest was primarily used for agriculture and farming in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. However, due to the Great Depression and subsequent economic challenges, many farmers abandoned their land. This led to soil erosion and degradation, as well as the loss of valuable topsoil.
In an effort to combat these environmental issues and revitalize the land, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources acquired the property and established Fernwood State Forest in 1977. The primary goal was to restore the degraded land and promote sustainable land use practices.
Since its establishment, Fernwood State Forest has been managed with the purpose of promoting forest health, protecting wildlife habitats, and providing educational and recreational opportunities for visitors. The forest features a variety of tree species, including oaks, maples, hickories, and pines.
The state forest offers several recreational activities, such as hiking, bird watching, hunting, and fishing. It also provides opportunities for nature education and research, with various trails, picnic areas, and an amphitheater available for visitors.
Overall, the history of Fernwood State Forest reflects a commitment to conservation and environmental stewardship. Through its establishment and ongoing management, the state forest continues to provide a valuable natural resource for the local community and serves as a reminder of the importance of preserving and restoring our natural lands.
Hiking Trail, miles3
CampingGroup Camp, capacity22