Location & Description
Egypt Valley Wildlife Area is situated in the southeastern part of Ohio, in Belmont and Guernsey counties. The primary access to the area is Interstate 70 and State Route 800. Morristown is located 3 miles east of the wildlife area. Located in the unglaciated region of southeastern Ohio in the low hills belt of the steep Allegheny Plateau, the terrain is steep to rolling and is dissected by numerous small streams. Elevations vary from 925 feet to 1,363 feet above sea level. Over the last 70 years, approximately 80 percent of the acreage that comprises Egypt Valley Wildlife Area has been subject to surface mining. The last active mine was completed in 1998. Today all of the forests consist of second and third growth timber. Much of the land that was cleared is now in grassland or brushland and dotted with many small ponds and wetlands. Because of the mining, large expanses of grassland and brushland habitats have been created.
History & Purpose
Land acquisition for the Egypt Valley Wildlife Area began in 1995 with 14,300 acres being purchased from The Conservation Fund. Various groups, including Ducks Unlimited, The National Wild Turkey Federation, and the Ruffed Grouse Society, all partnered with the Division of Wildlife in the purchase and approximately 18,011 acres have been acquired to date. Piedmont Lake, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lake, managed by the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District is located in the middle of the two land parcels that make up Egypt Valley Wildlife Area.
Deer, turkey, waterfowl, squirrel, grouse, rabbit, and dove are common within the area. Many of the small ponds have been stocked with bass, catfish, and bluegills by the Division of Wildlife. Species not traditionally found in eastern Ohio such as the short-eared owl, Northern harrier, Henslow’s sparrow, and bobolink can be found on the large expanses of grassland. Bald eagles and ospreys occasionally stop on the wildlife area on their annual migration. River otters were reintroduced to this area in 1993 and now a thriving population can be found there.
Egypt Valley Wildlife Area is popular for hunting, fishing, and other forms of wildlife recreation. Deer, turkey, waterfowl, squirrel, grouse, rabbit, and dove are the most sought after species for hunting. Many of the small ponds have been stocked with bass, catfish, and bluegills by the division and offer good fishing opportunities. Hiking, bird watching, photography, and sightseeing are also popular on the wildlife area. Boating is allowed on nearby Piedmont Lake. Outboard motors may not exceed 10 horsepower.