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Forked Run State Park

Forked Run State Park


State Park Information

Forked Run State Park
Box 127, 63300 SR 124

State Park Overview

Nature of the Area

Forked Run State Park lies in the forested hill country of southeastern Ohio. This is Ohios oldest landscape never reached by the glacial ice that once covered much of Ohio. Although this area was untouched by the massive ice sheets, torrents of glacial meltwaters hastened the carving of the valleys and hillsides into their present-day form.

Much of the area, now heavily forested, was once void of timber. Trees were cut to fuel the many iron furnaces of the area in the mid 1800s. Today, much of the forest has regrown, and vast stands of oak, hickory, maple and tuliptree clothe the deep ravines and hillsides. Wildflowers can be found in bloom except in winter months. Wild blue phlox, bloodroot, dames rocket, cardinal flower, daisy fleabane, goldenrod and asters provide colorful displays. In spring, the hillsides burst forth with brilliant blooms of dogwood and redbud.

The forest and fields provide habitat for a variety of wildlife species including gray fox, raccoon, opossum, gray squirrel, white-tailed deer and wild turkey. Many songbirds enjoy the refuge of the forest including wood thrush,white-breasted nuthatch, scarlet tanager, pileated woodpecker and whip-poor-wills.






Fishing and Hunting

History of the Area

The colorful history and folklore of the Ohio River create the character of Forked Run State Park. The Ohio River felt the pull of the Indians paddle, served as a territorial boundary, brought settlers into the Northwest Territory and carried flatboats and "steamers" that shipped passengers and cargo from Pittsburgh to New Orleans.

The mouth of the Shade River which empties into the Ohio nearby was known as a gloomy, rocky place called the Devils Hole. The Indians returning from their raids into western Virginia routinely crossed the Ohio at that point with their prisoners and plunder. They would travel through the valley of the Shade River on the way to their towns on the Scioto. Settlement of the area was slow to develop until the Indian threat had subsided and the discovery of coal in the region provided means of support.

As mining increased, towns sprang up along the Ohio. Pomeroy, Middleport, Minersville and Syracuse were important mining centers. The coal was used to manufacture coke which in turn was used in the many furnaces that smelted iron ore from the surrounding sandstone bedrock. The ore resulted in iron used to produce agricultural implements, ammunition and cannons for the Union Army during the Civil War. During the 1860s, Ohio was one of the nations leading producers of iron.

Equally important to the prosperity of the area was the salt industry. The first salt well was drilled in 1850 near Pomeroy. Eighteen salt furnaces were in operation during their peak of importance. Nearly 3,600 barrels of salt were produced daily.

The villages of Reedsville and Belleville were important boat-building centers, and it was on this section of the Ohio River that Captain Horatio Crooks introduced the compound-cylinder steam engine.

John Hunt Morgan, the Confederate General, while on his raid through Ohio was hampered in his efforts here to escape into western Virginia. The local militia thwarted Morgans effort to ford the Ohio near Pomeroy, and as a result, he was eventually captured in Columbiana County.

Today, the area is known as a truck-farming center which produces crops of cabbage, melons, sweet corn and the famous Ohio River tomatoes.

Construction of Forked Run State Park began in May of 1951. In October 1952, the 102-acre lake was completed. The lake was stocked and opened to the public in the following year.

More Info
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Forked Run State Park Taken October 22, 1999 Click for larger image. Back to Fall Color Page.
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Area Attractions

Forked Run State Park is located adjacent to Shade River State Forest. Much of the forests 2,601 acres is second growth pitch pine and Virginia pine. The area is also rich in hardwoods such as oaks and hickories. Hemlock and mountain laurel are found in some of the deep gorges.

Marietta, situated 34 miles northeast, offers the historian many opportunities including a visit to the Campus Martius State Memorial Museum, the Ohio River Museum or one of the areas restored sternwheelers.

Marie J. Desonier State Nature Preserve is located north of Forked Run near Coolville. This preserve is heavily forested and contains a large variety of ferns, wildflowers and songbirds.

Area Campgrounds
Circle S Campground
RR 68 S
Belleville, WV
(304) 863-6306

39617 State Route 684
Pomeroy, OH
(740) 742-4302

Forked Run State Park
63300 State Route 124
Reedsville, OH
(740) 378-6206

Carthage Gap Camp
22575 Brimstone Rd
Coolville, OH
(740) 667-3072

Rivers Bend Campground
1051 State Route 144
Coolville, OH
(740) 667-3530

Royal Oak Resort Club Inc
33429 Flatwoods Rd
Racine, OH
(740) 992-6488

Mountwood Park
Route 50 E
Parkersburg, WV
(304) 679-3611

Corral Campgrounds
120 Point Dr
Parkersburg, WV
(304) 485-8900

Edgelawn Campgrounds
706 Summers St
Parkersburg, WV

Old Lock 24 Campgrounds
46909 State Route 124
Racine, OH
(740) 949-7039

Area Fishing Related Businesses
Jeff's Carry Out & Bait Shop
100 Lasley St
Pomeroy, OH
(740) 992-3756

Bubba's Bait Shop
614 Lakeview Dr
Parkersburg, WV
(304) 485-1150

Skeen's Live & Artificial Bait
2206 Staunton Ave
Parkersburg, WV
(304) 485-6953

Johnny's Outdoor World
7000 Grand Central Ave
Parkersburg, WV
(304) 295-4937

Village Bait & Tackle
26201 Main St
Coolville, OH
(740) 667-6817

Hornbeck's Bait & Tackle
174 State Route 339
Belpre, OH
(740) 423-1949

Angler's Xstream LLC
202 Lakeview Ctr
Parkersburg, WV
(304) 485-6911

Area Resorts and Lodging
Thunder Lodges
215 W Mcdonald Ave
Man, WV
(304) 583-2830

Use Mapquest and the address provided below to create a custom set of directions from your location to the Park

63300 State Route 124, Reedsville, OH 45772-0127
Forked Run State Park

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