Description - Wayne National Forest is tucked away in the Appalachian foothills. The Forest is divided into three blocks administered by two Ranger Districts: Ironton and Athens. A field office is also located east of Marietta. The Forest boundaries surround a checkerboard pattern of public and private ownership.
Copyright: Patty Elton-Interactive Outdoors, Inc.
Native Americans as early as A.D. 1000 raised turkeys for food.
Frequently referred to as the "Wayne" many unique and interesting areas await. Southeastern Ohio is rich in history. Mounds and prehistoric earthworks from the Adena and Hopewell cultures are still found on the Forest.
Hardwoods, primarily oak and hickory are predominate in southeastern Ohio. Most species of pine and hemlock found on the forest are native, but many areas, particularly previously mined areas have been planted.
Natural beauty reigns in southeastern Ohio. Wildflowers, rock formations, large trees, fishing lakes, meandering rivers and an extensive network of multi-use trails attract nature enthusiasts year round. In spring the forest bursts with white dogwood blossoms, droplets of redbud, pockets of lady slippers and fields of spring beauty. In summer, the dense deciduous canopy is a refreshing change from Ohio's hot metropolitan areas. Autumn's colorful pallet creates lasting memories, and in winter, the crisp cold air accentuated by a fresh snowfall is perfect for cross-country skiers and snowmobilers.
Wayne National Forest is a mixture of open land and dense forest providing a wide variety of wildlife habitats. Common mammals include white-tailed deer, gray fox, woodchuck, opossum, and gray squirrel. Black bear and bobcat are known to inhabit the Forest as well. Common birds are wild turkey, ruffed grouse, pileated woodpecker, wood duck and a host of beautiful songbirds. Amphibians and reptiles are plentiful as well.
- Recreation abounds in the Ironton Ranger District. Nearly 50 miles of ORV trails and 16 miles of backpack trail cover rugged and scenic terrain. The Ironton District offers diverse opportunities for people to camp, picnic, fish and sightsee. The Hanging Rock Area is a favorite destination for hikers and anglers. Former coal mining and limestone quarrying have resulted in the formation of over 50 quarry ponds and lakes. Species inhabiting these waters include largemouth bass, bluegill, channel catfish, and crappie. Another favorite destination is the Vesuvius Recreation Area that circles Lake Vesuvius. It is popular with anglers, boaters, canoeists and campers. The area offers large secluded campgrounds on both sides of lake. Each campground has flush toilets, electric hookup and hot showers. While visiting the Vesuvius area, be sure to include a trip to the historic Vesuvius furnace, an iron blast furnace from the early 1800's. Swimming, wildlife viewing, and nature study are just several more recreations enjoyed on the national land. Handicapped? Don't let that stop you. Many facilities accommodate your need including Rockhouse Trail, which is both scenic and accessible.
Trail users should note that Wayne National Forest is a participant in the pilot project to charge fees for certain recreation uses of federal land. Fees have been implemented for off-road vehicles, horseback riders and mountain bikers. Seasonal, 3-day and day use tags are available from a number of local outdoor merchants, several area national drug store chains, and offices of the Wayne National Forest. Individuals 16 years and older are required to have a permit. Permits are valid April 15 through December 15. Trails are closed December 16 through April 14.
Recreation - Recreations pursued on the Ironton Ranger District include off-road biking, hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, perry picking, scenic driving, mountain biking, canoeing, nature photography, hunting, fishing, camping, and viewing historic sites and wildlife
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 Ironton Ranger District includes large tracts of forest and open field in the following counties: Gallia, Lawrence, Scioto, and Jackson. Major highway arteries include U.S. Route 52 and State Route 7.