Wayne National Forest

Sign marking Wayne National Forest office

Wayne National Forest contains almost one-quarter million acres (inside an 832,147-acre proclamation boundary) in three non-contiguous tracts in the hill country of southeastern Ohio. The actual forest land tends to be land less suitable for agricultural or commercial development, although it has other redeeming qualities. The lands owned by the US Forest Service lay across the landscape like a patchwork quilt, intermixed with private and state holdings. That said, there are still quite a few points of interest on the Forest like the Vesuvius Furnace (a partially restored iron ore furnace built in 1833), the Irish Run Natural Bridge (51 feet long, 39 feet high and 16 feet thick, one of seven natural bridges in Ohio), Snake Run and Shawnee Lookout towers (built by the CCC in 1939), and several century-old covered bridges. There are also the remains of mound and prehistoric earthwork constructions by the Adena and Hopewell Cultures found on the Forest.

Most of the land now contained in Wayne National Forest was logged off and plowed in the late 1800's and early 1900's. However, the years of poor logging and agricultural practices finally caught up with the folks and severe erosion destroyed what little good topsoil there was. Wayne National Forest was actually begun as a reforestation program on the surface lands previously owned by various mineral and coal companies (who retained the mineral rights beneath the Forest when they sold the surface to the Feds).

The North Country National Scenic Trail touches on Wayne National Forest in several places, as do the Buckeye Trail and the American Discovery Trail.

Enjoying a good day in a kayak on a forest lake
Kayaking on Wayne National Forest
Upper left photo is in the public domain
Other photos are courtesy of the US Forest Service