Location & Description
This rugged, heavily forested wildlife area is located 10 miles west of Athens at the junction of State Routes 56 and 356. Although this is essentially a forested area, scattered small openings occur on the ridgetops. Larger reverting fields occur along Hewett Fork, which parallels the eastern edge of the wildlife area. Major forest types include oak-hickory on the ridgetops and slopes, with lesser amounts of beech-maple in ravine bottoms. Important forest subtypes include scarlet oak, chestnut oak, white oak-red oak-hickory, white oak, yellow poplar-white oak-red oak, maple, and sassafras-persimmon.
History & Purpose
Purchase of land for this wildlife area began in 1944. Before 1940, portions of the area were cultivated and grazed. The woods were selectively cut prior to the state’s first purchase of land. The wildlife area has been used for squirrel research. Findings from these studies have served as a partial basis for recommending the time and length of the squirrel hunting season in Ohio. A 5,146-acre walk-in wild turkey management unit, mostly on the adjacent Zaleski State Forest, but including 664 acres of the Waterloo Wildlife Area, is managed to provide high quality turkey range and hunting opportunity. Management of this unit is designed to meet these requirements by providing a minimum of 60 percent trees of mast producing size and limited access.
Abundant native game species include the gray squirrel, wild turkey, and white-tailed deer. Lesser numbers of fox squirrel and ruffed grouse are found on the area. Cottontail rabbits occur in small numbers in the reverting fields. All of the furbearers common to southeastern Ohio are found on the area. Approximately 80 species of birds can be seen or heard on the area in a year’s time. Included are cedar waxwing, white-eyed vireo, red-eyed vireo, blue-winged warbler, prairie warbler, yellow warbler, hooded warbler, indigo bunting, Northern mockingbird, wood thrush, Acadian flycatcher, mourning dove, and red-tailed hawk.
Squirrels are the most popular game species on the area. Hunting of ruffed grouse, white-tailed deer, wild turkey, cottontail rabbit, and raccoon is also popular. Muskrat, mink, and fox trapping may also be pursued. Hook-and-line fishing for bluegills, largemouth bass, redear sunfish, crappies, and bullheads may be enjoyed in the three ponds. Rock outcrops are in the Pennsylvania system of the Conemaugh and Allegheny series. Massive outcrops of Lower Freeport sandstone can be seen at the east end of the area. Public facilities include three miles of gravel roads, 35 walking trails, and widely distributed parking areas. Waterloo Wildlife Area also features designated access roads for Electric Powered All Purpose Vehicle (EPAPV)/Motor Vehicle Use Permit holders. The permit allows use of an EPAPV with a 30 horsepower and/or use of a motor vehicle on designated access roads on specific state wildlife areas for mobility impaired persons.