Description - The oak-hickory forest vegetation that currently exists on Richland Furnace State Forest is a direct result of the past land use. During the iron era all the vegetation was clear-cut for the production of charcoal. After areas were logged for charcoal, the remaining slash was allowed to burn repeatedly. Because of this, the thinly barked trees were eliminated from the regenerating forests which allowed the present day thicker barked oak-hickory stands to develop.
Copyright: Patty Elton - Interactive Outdoors, Inc.
Patches of wildflowers greet Ohio travelers
The railroad on the north and east sides of the forest also played a significant role in the present day composition and condition of the forest. Before the 1950s railroad engines did not have spark arrestors. As a result, during the spring and fall, railroad-ignited forest fires were very common and damaged many of the trees that are currently growing there. Today, many of the taller trees at Richland Furnace are of poor health or low vigor. The Division of Forestry is nurturing these stands back to health.
Richland Furnace State Forest is under a multiple-use concept, meaning the forest is being managed for wildlife habitat improvement, recreation, watershed protection, forest products, and aesthetics.
- The state forest is open to public hunting and contains one of the states four APV areas operated by the Division of Forestry. The APV area is closed annually from December 1 through Marsh 31.
Depending on the work that is being conducted throughout the forest, different colors of paint may be found. Yellow spots indicate the boundary between state and private land. Orange spots designate the APV trail system. In past years, the APV trails were marked with white paint, some of the old white spots may still exist in certain areas and should be disregarded.
Hunting is permitted within the 2,448-acre forest that reaches into both Jackson and Vinton counties.
Recreation - Richland Furnace State Forest invites its visitors to enjoy wildlife viewing, berry picking, nut and mushroom gathering, hunting, hiking, mountain biking, and all-terrain vehicular use.
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.
Richland Furnace State Forest is located off State Route 327, near the village of Byer.