Richland Furnace State Forest
The Division of Forestry manages the Richland Furnace State Forest under a multiple-use concept. This means the forest is being managed for wildlife habitat improvement, recreation, watershed protection, forest products, and aesthetics. Richland Furnace State Forest is open to public hunting and contains one of the four All-Purpose Vehicle (APV) areas operated by the Division of Forestry.
Richland Furnace State Forest is a reflection of days-gone-by. Located in the wooded hills of northern Jackson and southern Vinton counties, it is evidence of two past eras in the history of Ohio. The oldest is the existence of flint outcrops that were used by the Native Americans prior to the Europeans arrival to the area. The more recent reflection of the past is the evidence of the industrial revolution of the mid-1800s. During the 19th century, the Hanging Rock Iron Region was the second largest producer of iron for our young nation.
The stone remnant of the old Richland iron furnace still stands on private property just north of Richland Furnace State Forest and is adjacent to Vinton Township Road 6. The town of Richland, which is still listed on most maps, is gone but a keen eye can detect where many of the homes once stood. Furnaces of this era usually employed up to 100 people and most lived in the small crossroads "company" towns such as Richland. These furnaces were operated on the resources from the surrounding area. The required iron ore was mined by oxen from the underlying sandstone and limestone. The trees were cut and burned to produce charcoal to fire the furnace. The old ore pits are still quite noticeable near the ridges throughout the state forest.
With the development of the ore fields in Missouri and the Lake Superior region at the end of the 19th century, the Hanging Rock iron industry quickly faded away. Even though the furnaces are gone, their impact on the resources of the area will remain for many years to come.
Favorite Things to Do or See
- APV area
Frequently Asked Questions
- Is the forest open for public access hunting? Yes.
- APV Trails – 7.3 miles
- Historic iron ore area
Rules for Richland Furnace State Forest
- Richland Furnace State Forest is open to visitors between 6 a.m. and 11p.m. 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.
APV Rules for Richland Furnace State Forest
- Trail bikes, motorcycles, all purpose vehicles, mountain bikes and snowmobiles are the only vehicles permitted on the designated trails. Each vehicle shall display a valid APV or highway license. You should bring a copy of your registration with you. (Put it in a waterproof bag and store it under your seat with your tool kit.) For more information on titling and registering your APV: bmv.ohio.gov
- APVs shall be operated only within the designated area.
- No person shall operate an APV having a width greater than 62 inches.
- The APV area is open for riding from one-half hour before sunrise until one-half hour after sunset.
- The APV areas at Richland Furnace are closed from the day after the end of deer gun season until March 31.
- All transport vehicles and trailers should be parked in the designated parking area for safety concerns.
- Maximum speed limits are 5 mph in the parking area. At no time shall an APV be operated at a speed greater than that necessary to stop the vehicle in the assured clear distance.
- All operators shall wear protective headgear and eye protection.
- All operators shall have a valid, current motor vehicle operator's license, except that minors less than 16 years of age may operate an APV if they are accompanied by a licensed parent or guardian 18 years of age or older.
- All vehicles shall be equipped with adequate brakes, mufflers, and spark arrestors and must follow decibel limitations outlined in OAC 1501:3-4-12.
- No person who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs of abuse shall operate an APV.
- No person shall operate an APV in such a manner as to willfully damage or destroy vegetation and trails, or for the purpose of chasing, capturing or killing wildlife.
- Operators of APVs shall not carry or transport any firearms or other weapons that are not unloaded and securely encased.
- No APV shall be used to carry more passengers than the vehicle was designed to carry. Contact your manufacturer for ride capacity.
- No races or contests are permitted in the APV area.
- Operators must report any accidents to the forest headquarters within 24 hours. For accidents at Pike or Richland Furnace, please call the Southern District office at (740) 774-1596. This is in addition to the reports necessary to be made to the local law enforcement authorities. Call 911 in an emergency.
- OAC 1501:3-4 Motor Vehicles
Attention Out-of-State Riders: The State of Ohio requires riders from Michigan and other states that do not have reciprocity to obtain an annual “Temporary Operating Permit” at an Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) location. In order to obtain this permit, you must present a valid title, driver’s license and Social Security card. The cost is $14.75 per year. When contacting the BMV, please refer to Ohio Revised Code 4519.09 to ensure prompt service. The permit must be kept with the APV and must be displayed to law enforcement/management if requested.
For more information on states with reciprocity, call the Forest Manager at (740) 493-2441
In case of emergency, dial 911.
Ben Kelley, Forest Manager
Pike State Forest
334 Lapperell Road
Latham, OH 45646