|Zaleski State Forest is also located close to the Wayne National
Forest. In addition, the older and much smaller Waterloo State Forest in
Athens County is administered as part of the Zaleski. The forest is named
after the town of Zaleski, Ohio in Vinton County, where the forest
headquarters are located, and is centered around Ohio State Route 78.
The forest has active logging programs, and is one of the few in Ohio to
have a working sawmill. The Zaleski State Forest Backpack Trail was
established on the forest to provide backpacking opportunities as well as to
introduce some scenic and historic aspects of the forest. The main trail is
a loop of 23.5 miles. There is also a 10-mile day loop trail, a network of bridle trails, a horse camp, a large lake (Lake Hope),
and the Hope School, an old but renovated one-room schoolhouse.
Recently, the state of Ohio acquired a conservation easement to 10,000 acres
(40 kmē) of the Raccoon Creek Ecological Management Area (REMA). This area
will be administered in conjunction with the state forest.
The forest is located in rugged hills of the unglaciated Allegheny Plateau
in Southern Ohio, with elevations ranging up to about 1100 feet above sea
level. The area has an extensive history of coal mining, coke production,
and steel production. The historic Hope Furnace can be seen at Lake Hope
State Park, just across the road from the forest.
Recreational Areas near Zaleski State Forest
Recreational Areas by County Map to locate State Parks, Nature
Preserves, Boating Areas, and public hunting and fishing areas near Zaleski
- Zaleski State Forest is open to visitors between the hours of 6 a.m.
and 11 p.m. daily. Legal campers, hunters and anglers may be present
during other hours.
- Operation of motor vehicles is restricted to roads provided for such
travel. The speed limit on state forest roads is 30 mph unless otherwise
posted. Vehicles may not be parked where traffic or access to division
service roads or trails will be obstructed.
- Horses may be ridden only along forest roads or on designated bridle
- Fires are not permitted except in grills or fire rings provided or
in portable stoves. Fires must be attended at all times.
- Litter must be disposed of in receptacles provided.
- Camping is permitted only in areas provided and designated for such
- Public display or consumption of any alcoholic beverage is
- Disturbance, defacement or destruction of any property, material,
natural feature or vegetation is prohibited. Berries, nuts and mushrooms
may be gathered and removed except from tree seed orchards or posted
For more information on State Forests and Park around the Hocking Hills
and lodging availability visit:
Brief History of Ohio State Forests
The vision articulated more than a century ago provides
still pertinent (click photo for larger view) direction for the future of Ohio's forests. As pressure on
state, national and world forests intensifies there will be an ever-greater
need to practice sustainable forestry, and to demonstrate how it is done.
The history of Ohio's State Forests officially began in
1916, but its roots go back much further. Before Ohio was settled, it was
virtually all forested. But by the late 1800s, many of those forests had
been cut down, leaving the state with only 20 percent forest cover.
Today's state forests are a reflection of decades of
stewardship. With careful nurturing by generations of dedicated, trained and
committed foresters, Ohio's forests have become shining jewels of resource
management and protection.
A truck carrying lumber for the World War II effort is pictured leaving
Scioto Trail, one of the first state forests. Click on photo for a larger
Lands virtually devoid of merchantable timber now boast an
inventory in excess of 1.2 billion board feet. At the same time, more than
400 million board feet of forest products have been removed and processed
over the last 50 years through carefully planned and executed forestry
operations. The current value of the revenue to the state for these products
removed would arguably be in excess of $100 million. But these state forests
are more than timber. State forests are outdoors havens for millions of
recreational visitors, habitat for almost 100 endangered species, and home
to some of the oldest tended trees in the United States.
The forests of Ohio have witnessed dramatic changes since
European settlement started over 200 years ago. When settlers first came to
the Ohio country, the state was predominantly forested. Some have estimated
the forest cover was as much as 95 percent.
With the dawn of the 19th century, settlement and westward
expansion spawned almost 100 years of forest removal. Lands that nurtured
excellent tree growth also supported bountiful crop production. Thus started
massive forest clearing that continued through the twilight of the century.
By the first decade of the 1900s, forest cover had dropped to 10 percent of
Remarkable changes soon took place, due to sound
government policy and social changes.
A forestry agency was
created, as were laws that encouraged forest development. Efforts
made by the Division of Forestry resulted in the growing and planting of
more trees, as well as the protection of forests from fire.