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Ohio State Parks

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USA Parks
Southeast Ohio Region
Gifford State Forest
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Afternoon Hike ©
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Bern Township, Ohio   43728
(lat:39.4473 lon:-81.909) map location
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry welcomes you to the heart of Ohio's hill country. Gifford State Forest is the smallest of Ohio's state forests, at 320 acres, but offers some very pleasant hunting and hiking opportunities in the scenic northern edge of Athens County. This state forest was donated to the state in 1959 by William Gifford Selby under conditions that it be used for experimentation and research. It was named for his mother Virginia Gifford and her family. Today, Gifford State Forest is managed by the Division of Forestry as a seed orchard facility. Treees planted here are genetically superior plants that produce superior seeds which are made readily available to the division's tree nurseries. In turn, the seedlings grown from these seeds are made available to the citizens of Ohio for reforestation on public and private lands. Game animals such as deer, grouse and rabbit, as well as many non-game animals thrive in the area. Hunting these and other game animals is permitted on the forest in season. The forest is open to the public from 6 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
History of the Area
Gifford State Forest is located in Lorain County, Ohio. The history of Gifford State Forest dates back to the early 1930s when it was established as part of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) program during the Great Depression.

The CCC was a public relief program implemented by President Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration. It aimed to provide employment opportunities for unemployed young men while also restoring and developing the country's natural resources. As a result, several state forests, including Gifford State Forest, were established across the nation.

The land for Gifford State Forest was acquired in 1933, and work began in collaboration with the CCC. The Civilian Conservation Corps workers, under the supervision of professional foresters, undertook various projects aimed at conserving and improving the forestland. The initial tasks included reforesting the area with tree species like white pine, red pine, and Norway spruce. Additionally, they constructed access roads, bridges, fire lanes, and recreational facilities within the forest.

During this time, the workers also engaged in soil conservation measures by constructing water bars, check dams, and other erosion control structures. These efforts were crucial in protecting the forest and its resources, preventing soil erosion and maintaining water quality.

Gifford State Forest has played an essential role in not only conservation but also education and recreation. The forest has been used for educational programs, research, and environmental studies. Additionally, it provides opportunities for various outdoor activities such as hiking, bird-watching, and hunting.

The forest continues to be managed by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry, ensuring the preservation and sustainable use of its resources.
GeneralLand, acres320
 Hiking Trail, miles4
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Area Accommodations (over 20 miles away)
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Hidden Cave Cabin - Rockbridge, OH
Cottages and Cabins
Hidden Cave Cabin is an authentic log cabin with 2 bedrooms in a private wooded setting. It is located on one of the most scenic drives in Hocking Hills and just 3.6 miles to Rock House and less than 10 miles to Conkle's Hollow and Old Man's Cave.
36.8 miles from park*
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Cottages and Cabins
Trickle Creek offers luxury cabins in Hocking Hills. The cabins are situated on nearly 236 acres of secluded cabin rentals in the deep wooded ravines in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in Hocking County, Ohio.
33.9 miles from park*

1. From Ohio State Route 7, take the exit onto OH-146 E.
2. Continue on OH-146 E until you reach the town of Tuppers Plains.
3. In Tuppers Plains, turn onto W 4th St/County Rd 56, and keep driving for about 1.4 miles.
4. Turn right onto Long Ridge Rd/County Rd 48.
5. Drive on Long Ridge Rd for approximately 5.7 miles.
6. Finally, you will reach the entrance to Gifford State Forest on your right.

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Ohio State Parks