What to do in Zaleski State Forest

The Zaleski State Forest is the second largest forest in the system enveloping both Lake Hope and Lake Hope State Park. Several interesting areas exist within the forest including Waterloo Wildlife Management Area, Turkey Management Area and Ruffed Grouse Management Area.

At Zaleski State Forest visitors will discover Ohio's only publicly owned and operated sawmill. It began operation in 1967. Most new commercial mills are using the latest technologies such as computer operation and laser calibration. For this reason, the "low-tech" approach taken at Zaleski gives the mill an almost historical significance. By no means however is the Zaleski Sawmill a museum-piece. It is an efficient functioning mill that turns out specialty orders for many public works projects. Additionally, demonstrations and training activities (for example, grading workshops) are held every year at Zaleski.

Winter is an excellent time to hike the 23.5-mile Zaleski State Forest Backpack Trail. Along the trail, the Carbondale Forest provides an opportunity to view many conifer species. The Carbondale Forest is a plantation composed primarily of planted conifers and offers excellent opportunities for hikers to see the oldest unmanaged plantation in southeastern Ohio. The Carbondale Forest is a plantation of about 60 acres. Hikers will notice the cooler and damper air during the winter when hiking through the conifer stands, which makes for an interesting hike. Three primitive camp areas are offered along the trail. There is also a 10-mile day loop trail.

Should hikers wish to visit a managed plantation, for a comparison, they should contact the Zaleski Forest Manager.

Students, teachers and parents are invited to Zaleski State Forest. Groups tour the forest learning about such subjects as: Forest Management, including tree planting, timber harvesting methods, relationship of soil to trees, soil protection, BMP's (Best Management Practices), TSI (cutting grapevines, crop tree release), wildlife and habitat creation. Fire suppression and the use of fire as a management tool is also discussed.

Horses may be ridden along forest roads or on designated bridle trails. Fifty miles of bridle path are offered. A horse camp is also offered.

Berries, nuts and mushrooms may be gathered and removed except from tree seed orchards or posted areas. Hunters will find a variety of game including deer, grouse, turkey, squirrel, and rabbit.

The forest is open daily from 6 AM to 11 PM.

Within the forest is Lake Hope State Park. Visitors can fish, hunt, hike, ride horses, mountain bike, picnic, swim, enjoy nature programs, view exhibits at the nature center, boat with their own craft or rent one, sled, ice skate, cross-country ski, ice fish, or enjoy a leisurely stay in a cottage.

Recreation
Recreations pursued at Zaleski State Forest include horse camping, horseback riding, hunting, fishing, berry picking, mushroom gathering, touring working sawmill, and backpacking.

Location
Zaleski State Forest is due south of Logan. The Headquarters is near the village of Zaleski, on State Route 278.

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.

Address
P.O. Box 330
Zaleski, OH 45698

Phone: 740-596-5781

Email: Dick.Lusk@dnr.state.oh.us
  • Zaleski State Forest Travel Q&A

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