COLUMBUS, OH - About 70 miles of backpack and hiking trails at Shawnee State Forest have reopened after months of removing damaged tree limbs and debris from a February 2003 ice storm, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Forestry. Forestry crews and volunteers began clearing the trees from forest roads and bridle trails soon after the storm, with the last clearing taking place earlier this month. The most difficult and time-consuming trails to clear were those within the wilderness area, which is accessible only on foot.
Volunteers from the Buckeye Trail Association, The Nature Conservancy, and the Boy Scouts worked almost 2,000 hours on the trails, joining the efforts of state forest employees. A small bulldozer, hand tools and mules were just a few of the techniques used to clear the damage. The Division of Forestry is working to responsibly salvage the ice storm-damaged timber. That work is expected to be complete by the end of this year. Any trail detours due to continuing clean-up are marked with signs. More information about trail status can be found on the Division of Forestry web site at ohiodnr.com or on the message board at the forest trailhead.