Description - The 1,344-acre Harrison 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 reforestation 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 condition suitable for public use. Two areas were reforested in 1992 and 1993. Over 100,000 trees were planted on 186 acres.
Copyright: Ohio Department of Natural Resources
Harrison State Forest
- Harrison State Forest encompasses 1,345 acres in northeast Ohio offering the recreation enthusiast a reforested area where family and horse camping is enjoyed along with 24 miles of multi-use trails. Parking areas are strategically located at trail intersections. Horses may be ridden only along forest roads or on designated bridle trails.
Two campgrounds are equipped with picnic tables, fire rings, drinking water and vault latrines. Seven family campsites are located at Ronsheim Campground while 20 sites accommodating family and horse campers are available at the Trailriders Campground. Campers must select a site; officers will collect fees, issue permits and familiarize visitors with camping regulations.
A 100-yard shooting range is provided for the sportsman or shooting enthusiast to practice marksmanship or sight-in firearms for accuracy. The area is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Persons under 16 years of age must be accompanied by a person of legal age while discharging firearms. Exercise extreme caution and observe all rules of gun safety when using this area.
There are a number of ponds at Harrison State Forest, which are actually sediment ponds left behind by strip mining. Scattered throughout the forest, the Division of Wildlife stocked the ponds during the 1970s with bluegill, largemouth bass, and channel catfish. The ponds are not readily accessible. They require some amount of hiking to get to. Ice fishing and ice-skating are discouraged due to the ponds being spring-fed.
Berries, nuts and mushrooms may be gathered and removed except from tree seed orchards or posted areas.
Recreation - Open daily from 6 AM to 11 PM, the state forest invites visitors to enjoy family camping, horse camping, combination equestrian and hiking trails, fishing ponds, and a shooting range. APVs and mountain bikes are permitted on forest roads. Berry and nut harvesting is permitted except in tree seed orchard areas and other posted areas.
Climate - This state has four distinct seasons and a brilliant fall foliage display in it southern woods during mid October. Winter lasts from December through February with average temperatures near 25 degrees F. Low temperatures dip to single digits, but do not often drop below zero. Northern regions of the state receive average snowfall amounts of 55 inches, while the central and southern regions of the state receive lesser amounts with averages near 30 inches. This difference is caused by lake-affect moisture patterns.
Spring temperatures begin to warm the landscapes of Ohio by mid March and are in full swing by April. Temperatures range from 40 through 70 degrees F through the spring months. This season often brings the most rainfall, before the drying heat of summer. Summer can be extremely hot and humid in the interior of Ohio. Temperatures reach above 90 degrees F frequently through July and August. Cooler fall temperatures don't reach the region until mid to late September. This is a pleasant time to visit as the air is crisp with low humidity levels. Ohio's annual precipitation usually reaches slightly above 50 inches.
The 1,344 acre Harrison State Forest is located two miles north of Cadiz off State Route 9. Township Highway 185 leads to one of the forest's main campgrounds.