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Buckeye Lake State Park




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General Information

Ohio's many reservoirs afford three-season boating
Copyright: Patty Elton - Interactive Outdoors, Inc.
Ohio's many reservoirs afford three-season boating
Description - At one time, the ground now known as Buckeye Lake was swampland resulting from glaciation. Thousands of years ago the glaciers moved south across Ohio altering drainage systems and landscape. Natural lakes, known as kettles, were created when huge chunks of ice broke off the glacier and melted in depressions. Other lakes were formed when the glacier blocked existing water outlets. As time progressed, clay and silt settled out of the still water into the bottom of the lakes. When the white man began settling in Ohio, only a few of the ancient lakes remained. They were shallow and swampy, and more correctly classified as bogs or marshes. Explorer Christopher Gist, while traveling the Scioto-Beaver Trail just south of Buckeye Lake, camped by the watery bog's edge. In 1751, he named the area Buffalo Lick or Great Swamp in his journal. The Great Swamp included two long narrow ponds that were joined during high water. A considerable part of the wetland was a cranberry-sphagnum bog. Cranberry Bog, a state nature preserve and a National Natural Landmark, is situated in Buckeye Lake. When the lake was impounded in 1826, Cranberry Bog broke loose from the bottom and became a floating island that may conceivably be the only one of its kind in the world.

In order to provide interconnecting waterways for a growing state, a canal system was developed in the early 1800's. The system required feeder lakes to supply the water necessary to maintain the four-foot canal water level. Because of their location, areas such as St. Marys, Indian Lake, Lake Loramie, Guilford and Buckeye lakes were to be developed as part of the project. During the canal era, canal boats traveled along the original western end of the lake. This lake however, was not large enough to supply the necessary water for the canal so it was enlarged. Later, in order to provide an even larger amount of water, another lake was developed north and west of the original one. A dike, known as "Middle Wall", separated the Old Reservoir and New Reservoir. This dike was used as a towpath for the canal. With the advent of railroads, the canal system became outdated. Many miles of canal fell into disuse and were abandoned or sold. In 1894, the General Assembly of Ohio set a policy whereby the feeder reservoirs were established as public parks. At that time, the name of Licking Summit Reservoir was changed to Buckeye Lake.

By 1900, there were numerous cottages and several amusement parks around Buckeye Lake. In the early 1900's, as recreational use increased and powerboats became popular, the "North Bank" was reinforced and the "Middle Wall" removed. Development continued around the lake. During the 1940's and 50's, many folks traveled to the Buckeye Lake Amusement Park to see big-band stars, dance and picnic. In 1949, when the Ohio Department of Natural Resources was created, the area officially became Buckeye Lake State Park.

Attractions - The 3,300-acre Buckeye Lake is designated as an unlimited horsepower lake, but pontoons, sailboats, canoes and rowboats are also common. Access to the lake is available at several public launch ramps. Public swimming areas with parking facilities, change booths and latrines are located at Fairfield Beach and at Brooks Park on the south side of the lake. Beaches are open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Two boat/swim areas are offered as well. Anglers enjoy fine catches of perch, bluegill, crappie, muskellunge, largemouth bass, channel catfish and bullhead catfish. As early as 1891, the "Buckeye Fish Car," a state operated railroad car, transported crappie and bass from Lake Erie to stock Buckeye Lake. In the 1930's, as many as 1,000 boats a day were crappie fishing on the lake. Several picnic areas with tables and grills are situated in quiet spots overlooking the lake. Shelters are available on a first come, first served basis.

Recreation - Visitors to Buckeye Lake State Park can experience boating, sailboating, canoeing, swimming, picnicking, fishing, hunting, ice skating, ice fishing, and cross-country skiing.

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.

Location - Buckeye Lake State Park is located in Fairfield County east of Columbus, Ohio.


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More Information

Contact Information:
Buckeye Lake State Park, c/o Box 488 , Millersport, OH, 43046, Phone: 740-467-2690

Additional Information:
Central Ohio - Home to Ohio's beautiful capitol city, Columbus, Central Travel Region has several of the state's largest recreation lakes affording both daytime and nighttime fun.
Ohio Lakes and Reservoirs - Ohio has more than 2,500 lakes and 44,000 miles of rivers and streams. Lake Erie, the southernmost Great Lake, is a major recreation attraction.

Links:
Buckeye Lake State Park - Official agency website.
Ohio State Parks - Official Agency Website

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