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Wayne National Forest - Ironton Unit
About Wayne National Forest:
If there’s one word to describe Wayne National Forest, it would be the word “massive”. At over 250,000 acres, the forest is larger than the Mount Rainier National Park in Washington State. 300 miles of multi-use trails go through the park, including the world famous Buckeye and North Country Trails. The park is split up into 3 distinct parcels of land: The Athens Unit, The Marietta Unit, and the Ironton Unit. Overlooks, rock outcroppings, and other natural landmarks can be found within any of the park’s units. One of the most unique features of the forest is the Irish Run Natural Bridge, a 51-foot long bridge that is one of 12 documented natural bridges in Ohio.
The Ironton Unit is the southernmost unit of the Wayne National Forest. The 143-acre Lake Vesuvius is the centerpiece of the Ironton Unit and is the most developed area in all of the Wayne National Forest. Lake Vesuvius is man made and was created in 1939 by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The lake merited the dramatic name “Vesuvius” from the Vesuvius Iron furnace which is located at the base of the lake. At its peak this massive furnace consumed 350 acres of forest a year, and is a reminder of the damaging industrial past Ohio experienced. The lake is lined by rugged cliffs and hills and offers opportunities for boating, camping, fishing, and has a 16-mile long backpacking trail that circles the lake and the surrounding foothills.
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