The History of Ohio's State Forests
The vision articulated more than a century ago provides still pertinent 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 view.
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.