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Jackson Lake State Park (Ohio) facts for kids

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Jackson Lake State Park
Lake waters
Jackson Lake
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Location Jackson County, Ohio, United States
Area 106 acres (43 ha)
Elevation 860 ft (260 m)
Established 1979
Administered by Ohio Department of Natural Resources
Designation Ohio state park
Website Jackson Lake State Park

Jackson Lake State Park is a public recreation area covering 106 acres (43 ha) on the east side of Jackson Lake in Jackson County, Ohio, in the United States. The park was established as a state park in 1979. It had previously been a "state reserve", similar to a park but with less development. The forests in and around Jackson Lake State Park were previously harvested to fire the furnaces of numerous iron works that were located in southern Ohio in the western foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Recreational activities available at the park include camping, boating, fishing, swimming and picnicking.


Jackson Lake State Park is north of the Ohio River in eastern Ohio. This area was long occupied by various tribes of Native Americans. Evidence this era in the Ohio Valley is found in and around the park. Large burial and ceremonial mounds and petroglyphs are lasting remnants. The Leo Petroglyph is located nearby the park.

Tribes that inhabited the area in the Colonial period included with Mingo, Lenape, and Shawnee. Westward expansion by American pioneers displaced the Indians who were killed in wars or relocated to the Great Plains and placed on reservations following the passage of the Indian Removal Act. The pioneer settlers cleared the land for farming and developed industries around which towns and cities grew.

Iron ore was discovered in southern Ohio in the mid-19th century. The combination of deposits of ore and vast stands of old-growth forests made the Hanging Rock Iron Region ideally suited for the iron industry. The Jefferson Iron Furnace was constructed in 1854. It met the growing demand for iron in the developing United States of America. The importance of the furnaces in the Hanging Rock region grew tremendously during the American Civil War. Iron produced in the Jackson Lake State Park area was sold to manufacturers under the trademark, "Anchor". This iron was used to build the USS Monitor, an ironclad warship made famous by its contest against the CSS Virginia, a Confederate ironclad sometimes known as the Merrimack, at the Battle of Hampton Roads.

The era of iron production in the Jackson Lake State Park area began to wane in the years following the Civil War. Demand for iron outstripped the resources in the Hanging Rock Iron Region. Ore deposits had been cleared and what remained was minimal and difficult to extract. Also much of the forested land had been cleared to provide charcoal to fire the furnaces. A combination of a lack of ore and charcoal helped bring about the end of the iron era. Remnants of the Jefferson Iron Furnaces are found in various parts of Jackson Lake State Park.

Other industries that were in the area included coal mining and salt mining. Over a million tons of coal were mined in 1888. Jackson County was the second leading coal producing county in the state during the coal mining era. Salt mines along Salt Creek were set aside "by Congress for the use of the state to secure the salt." Indian tribes also used the area and came from great distances to gather salt.

The departure of the iron, coal, and salt industries allowed the stripped forests to regenerate. Jackson Lake State Park is now home to a second growth forest. This rebirth has led to the establishment of the state park. This occurred in several stages. First, a dam was built on Black Fork creating Jackson Lake in 1938. The area was known as Jackson Lake State Reserve. It was home to a small camping area with a beach on the lake. Jackson Lake State Park was established in 1979 after the facilities were expanded and improved.


Jackson Lake State Park is in the Appalachian Highlands region of Ohio. The hilly sandstone region is home to diverse plant and animal populations. The region contains nearly 70% of the woodlands in Ohio. At one time this same region was a barren wasteland that had been stripped of its old growth forests to provide fuel for the iron furnaces. The forests have since regrown with a diversity of hardwoods including hickory, oak, and maple.

A variety of animals are found in Jackson Lake State Park. These animals are protected from hunting in the park. They include most common eastern woodland creatures such as the white-tailed deer, skunks, wild turkeys, opossums, raccoons, eastern gray squirrels, great horned owls and numerous songbirds, reptiles and amphibians. Plant life at the park includes dame's violet, goldenrod, spring beauties and asters.


The park offers camping, picnicking, swimming, boating, and fishing. Common game fish in Jackson Lake include carp, bass, bluegill and muskellunge.

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