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Gifford State Forest


The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry welcomes you to the heart of Ohio's hill country. Gifford State Forest is the smallest of Ohio's state forests at 320 acres but offers some very pleasant hunting and hiking opportunities in the scenic northern edge of Athens County.

This forest was donated to the state in 1959 by William Gifford Selby for experimentation and research. It was named for his mother Virginia Gifford and her family. Today, Gifford State Forest is managed by the Ohio Division of Forestry.

Game animals such as deer, grouse and rabbit, as well as many non-game animals thrive in the area. Hunting is permitted on the forest in season.

Favorite Things to Do or See

  • Public access hunting.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is the forest open for public access hunting? Yes.

Unique Features

  • Experimental seed orchards, fishing pond, picnic area


Rules for Gifford State Forest

  • Gifford State Forest is open to visitors between 6am and 11pm daily. Legal campers, if applicable, hunters, and anglers may be present during other times.
  • Operation of motor vehicles is restricted to roads provided for such travel. Speed limit on state forest roads is 30 MPH unless otherwise posted. Vehicles may not be parked where traffic or access to division service roads or trails are obstructed. OAC 1501: 3-4 Motor Vehicles
  • Fires are not permitted except in grills or fire rings provided, or in portable stoves. Fires must be attended to at all times.
  • Trash must be disposed of in receptacles provided.
  • Camping is not permitted
  • Hunting and fishing are permitted in most state forests as regulated by the Division of Wildlife. Shooting is prohibited within 400 feet of any building, facility, or recreation area and from or across any road or driveway. Discharge of any firearm is not permitted except during lawful hunting season.
  • Public display or consumption of any alcoholic beverage is prohibited.
  • Disturbance, defacement, or destruction of any property, material, natural feature, or vegetation is prohibited. Berries, nuts, and mushrooms may be gathered and removed except from posted areas.
  • State forest boundaries are indicated with yellow blazes on the trees and/or posted signs.
  • Other general rules for visitation are found at OAC 1501:3-2 Rules for Visitation

Forest Management

Using Prescribed Fire to Deter the White Pine Cone Beetle

Prescribed fire has been used to manage white pine cone beetle populations in two white pine plantations, totaling about 8 acres, at Gifford State Forest. Beetle larvae, which spend the winter inside old cones on the ground, are killed by the fire before they mature into destructive adult beetles in the spring.

Prescribed fire is a proven method to control cone insects such as the white pine cone beetle. Low-intensity fire, which costs much less than traditional chemical control methods, is the most practical treatment currently available to manage this pest. Left unchecked, this pest can destroy the cone crop in white pine areas.

Proper fuel and weather conditions are important to the effectiveness of this treatment. Timing is also important to the success of this management practice. To ensure that beetle larvae are successfully killed, the burn should occur in the early spring, before three consecutive 70-degree days.


Forest Manager: Courtney Cawood, (740) 596-5781

Administrative Office:
Zaleski State Forest
P.O. Box 330 / State Route 278
Zaleski, OH 45698

Columbus Headquarters: (877) 247-8733, forestry.comments@dnr.ohio.gov





Call: 911

Phone Number

(740) 596-5781