Mohican-Memorial State Forest

Overview

Mohican-Memorial State Forest is located in southern Ashland County, midway between Columbus and Cleveland. It is easily reached from I-71 and State Routes 97 and 3.

Mohican-Memorial State Forest comprises 4,541 acres in Ashland County. Mohican-Memorial State Forest features 32 miles of hiking trails, 22 miles of bridle trails, 8 miles of snowmobile trails, a 24-mile mountain biking trail, 10 "Park and Pack" primitive campsites, the Memorial Forest Shrine, a fire tower, and the 1.5-mile Discovery Forest interpretive trail. The natural attributes of the Mohican area combined with state and nearby commercial facilities have made this region one of the more popular year-round attractions of the state.

  • The Memorial Forest Shrine is dedicated to the memory of more than 20,000 Ohio citizens killed in conflict since World War II. It is open 7 days a week from 8am-5pm and it is handicap accessible.
  • Hiking trails wind through the primitive and scenic areas of the forest and park. These trails lead to such attractions as Pine Run Creek, the Fire Tower and Clearfork Gorge.
  • An 8-mile snowmobile/mountain bike/bridle trail can be used during appropriate weather conditions.
  • Cross-country skiing, sledding and picnicking can also be enjoyed in and around the forest and park.
  • Ten back-country park and pack campsites are available on a first-come/first-served, self-registration basis.
  • A 24-plus-mile mountain biking trail loop offers riders a choice of two trailhead locations. One trailhead is located on State Route 3 across from Mohican State Park’s Class A Campground. The other is located on ODNR Mohican Road 51, near the former Mohican Youth Camp.

Frequently Asked Questions

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

Unique Features

Rules

Forest Rules

  • Mohican-Memorial 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
  • Horses may be ridden along forest roads or on designated bridle trails.
  • 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 only permitted on designated areas for such use. OAC 1501:3-3 Camping
  • 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

"Park-and-Pack" Campsite Rules

  • There are 10 primitive Park-and-Pack campsites. These campsites are primitive, hike-in campsites. There are no restrooms, water, or utilities at the campsites. Campsite parking is provided at designated parking areas noted on the forest map.
  • Camping is on a first-come, first-served basis. NO reservations are accepted. Visitors may NOT sign-up for a campsite in advance with the intent on camping at a future date.
    • Self-registration for Park-and-Pack campsites is available at the kiosk located at the state forest headquarters and service buildings. The address of the kiosk is 950 ODNR Mohican Road 60 (County Road 939), Perrysville, Ohio 44864.
    • To complete the self-registration for camping, write your name and campsite number on the provided clipboard and fill out a camping registration form. Both are located on the kiosk.
    • The form has two parts. Detach and place one part of form in the drop box located at the kiosk and keep the other part of the registration form on the dashboard of your vehicle.
  • For campsites 1 through 8, the maximum number of campers allowed per site is 6. Campsites 9 and 10 are group campsites and can accommodate a maximum of 15 campers at each to accommodate scouting groups, etc.
  • Designated campsites are marked by a red triangle on a white carsonite post. Camping may only occur on the designated site. No camping is allowed on any adjacent areas.
  • Campfires are only allowed in the metal fire ring provided at each site. Campfires are prohibited from 6am to 6pm during the months of March, April, May, October, and November. Campfires should never be left unattended and must be extinguished and cool prior to leaving the campsite for any reason.
  • Construction of structures is prohibited except for tents and other camping structures.
  • Persons may bring domestic cats and dogs provided they are leashed and under control at all times. Persons must have proof of current rabies inoculation for the animal. A collar or tag bearing the owner’s name and address must be attached to the animal, and the owner must clean-up after their pet and pack out any pet waste.
  • Trash must be packed out. No burying or burning of trash.
  • Human waste may be disposed of at the trench marked with the half-moon symbol.
  • Harassing wildlife and/or feeding of wildlife is prohibited.
  • Alcoholic beverages are prohibited.
  • Fireworks are prohibited.
  • Collecting any items such as rocks or wood from the forest, other than mushrooms and berries, is prohibited.
  • Digging is prohibited.
  • Cutting of vegetation is prohibited.
  • Metal detectors are prohibited.
  • Geocaching is prohibited without a permit.

Forest Management

  • Mohican-Memorial State Forest is managed under the multiple-use concept for timber and wildlife habitat, forestry research and demonstrations of good forest land management, primitive recreation and natural beauty, tree seed for forest nurseries and protection of soils and watershed.
  • Timber products obtained from harvest, stand improvement and thinning operations include saw logs, veneer logs with some pulpwood and firewood. Pine plantation thinnings yield fence and guard posts and poles.
  • During the spring and fall fire seasons, a major objective of the forest organization is to prevent, detect and suppress wildfires that occur on state and private land within the protection district.
  • The many gas wells and transmission lines that you see are a result of the development of a natural gas storage field underlying the forest.
  • The land-use history of the forest is typical of eastern Ohio. Original forests were cleared for agriculture, but eventually erosion ensued and fertility decreased. Farms were abandoned and subsequently reverted to brush and woodland. At the time of acquisition, planting of trees on abandoned land was a high priority activity. Much of the tree planting was done by personnel of the Civilian Conservation Corps whose camp was located on the forest during the 1930s. Native hardwood of the oak-hickory and beech-maple types and associated species of gum, aspen, ash, cherry and walnut occur on unplanted areas. Native white pine and hemlock are also found.

Restoring Native Hardwoods Initiative (RNHI) at Mohican-Memorial State Forest

What is the Restoring Native Hardwoods Initiative (RNHI)?

  • The RNHI is an initiative by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry to promote the restoration of native hardwood forests at Mohican-Memorial State Forest (MMSF) located in Ashland County.
  • Nearly 40% of MMSF is composed of artificially planted stands of white pine and red pine trees that have limited ecological benefit. The initiative’s goal is to restore native diversity in the forest by slowly managing these pine plantations in order to promote the growth of native, naturally regenerating, hardwood forests that are so important to a host of wildlife species.
  • RNHI is in compliance with the Division’s certification to the Forest Stewardship Council® and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.
  • The current management zones for the forest were developed in the 1990s as a result of recommendations from an ad hoc advisory committee to the Division of Forestry. In the summer of 2017, the Division of Forestry proposed this initiative in the form of an addendum to our current 5-year management plan for state forests.
  • The RNHI carries forward the recommendations from the 1990s by adjusting them to fit the actual condition of the forest. It also employs proactive measures to manage pine plantations for restoration while simultaneously protecting the sensitive features of MMSF.
  • Not all pine plantations at MMSF would be managed in this initiative; some would be untouched to serve as a legacy of reforestation efforts at Mohican. This initiative proposes to thin between 1-2% of the pine plantations annually, or roughly 20-40 acres per year.
  • Once a pine plantation is thinned, sunlight can reach the forest floor, promoting a flush of hardwood tree growth. This initiative is a long-term strategy that will take decades to accomplish. Through gradual, periodic thinning, naturally growing hardwood trees will eventually replace the harvested pine trees and the restoration will be a complete success.

Benefits of Restoring Native Hardwood Forests

  • Native hardwood forests support native understory vegetation.
  • Native hardwood forests support more diverse wildlife – birds, insects, and mammals.
  • Native hardwood forests naturally regenerate.
  • This forest historically was a native hardwoods forest.

Frequently Asked Questions

During the initial comment period, the Division of Forestry received many questions from stakeholders. Below are those most frequently asked:
 
What was the “ad hoc” advisory council?
The “ad hoc” advisory council was a group of citizens appointed by the Chief of the Division of Forestry in the 1990s to make recommendations regarding the future management of Mohican-Memorial State Forest.

What did the “ad hoc” advisory council recommend?
All of the recommendations of the “ad hoc” council fall within the following four overarching objectives which Mohican-Memorial State Forest was tasked with providing by this “ad hoc” advisory council. They are: 1) a large core of mature forest, 2) native plant and animal diversity, 3) low-impact recreation, and 4) education about forest ecosystems and their management. Further, three different management zones were developed and set across the forest to meet these objectives.

Is the Division throwing out the work of the “ad hoc” council?
No. A five-year management plan was written in 1998 to implement these objectives. A number of subsequent plans for state forests were written in the decades following as the need arose. The recommendations from the “ad hoc” council have carried forward to the current plan as they are very consistent with our current management objectives. All plans need to be updated occasionally to reflect the current state of the forest, which is what this proposal does. In fact, RNHI proactively attempts to meet the objective of promoting native plant and animal diversity which has not been met since the plan was developed.

What are the similarities to the “ad hoc” plan?
The objectives have carried forward and are consistent with our current plan. The zone names have changed to match our current system, but their definitions are nearly identical to the previous zones. The initiative carries forward large acreages to be set aside as mature forest in “High Conservation Value Forests” zones. The initiative also carries forward a zone that only allows single tree harvesting to promote un-even aged forest structures that characterize old growth forests. This is the same as the “ad hoc” plan. The initiative further carries forward the four demonstration areas that were in the “ad hoc” plan. The initiative has the same level of low-impact recreation and a commitment to maintain trails, public hunting, and other uses. The level of harvesting proposed is exactly the same as the “ad hoc” plan, which allowed for pine thinning in the forest, single-tree harvesting in the mature forest zone, and a variety of harvest practices in the demonstration areas.

What are the differences to the “ad hoc” plan?
The main difference is that the RNHI considers and accounts for the many acres of artificial pine plantations. The initiative delineates one area as a “restoration” zone where pine management will eventually lead to the conversion of some of those pine plantations to natural hardwood forests. Another difference is that this initiative allows the Division to react to catastrophic forest health events by salvaging dead trees as the need may arise. Finally, there are some differences in the boundaries of the zones that add accuracy and precision to areas that were inaccurately mapped previously.

Are you cutting “old growth” trees?
No. The Division has determined with accuracy the locations of mature hardwood forests and has set them aside as “High Conservation Value Forests." No harvesting will occur in these areas. Should the need arise to remove hazardous, or dead trees, the Division may need to remove them in order to open roads, trails, or to reduce hazardous conditions. This would be only on a case-by-case basis.

Are you cutting all of the pine plantations?
No. There are 1,800 acres of pine plantations on the forest. Approximately 300 acres of pine plantations will exist in the set-aside zones to serve as a long-term legacy and will not be thinned. The initiative seeks to slowly thin 20-40 acres per year of the remaining 1,500 acres. The hardwood regeneration response after the thinning will also take many years to completely regenerate. Even at the most aggressive rate of thinning, it will take 40-75 years to thin one time all of the remaining plantations. This will ensure that pine plantations will still be a part of this forest for the next 100 years.

Does the Division recognize that pine plantations have some aesthetic and historic value to visitors?
Yes. There are many intangible qualities to having some pine plantations within the forest. They bring a scenic beauty to the landscape during the winter months. And they remind us of our legacy of reforestation. This initiative does not eliminate pine from the landscape; rather it seeks to accelerate the restoration of hardwood forests within them. This is one reason why the initiative seeks to conduct thinnings on such a small scale.

Are you cutting trees to benefit the Division of Forestry financially?
No. The small-scale of these types of pine thinning do not generate significant revenue. The minor revenue that would be generated would be distributed back to the local community by law (65% of net revenue is returned to the local county, township, and school district).

Would this proposal impact recreation (trails, hunting, camping, etc.)?
There should not be any negative impacts to trails, hunting, or any other recreation. It is anticipated that work in the forest would only occur during winter months. There should not be any trail impacts, but temporary closures may occur. It is envisioned that several new short hiking trails may be developed in order to show visitors some of the practices of this initiative.

Doesn’t logging promote the spread of invasive plants?
The spread of invasive plants on state forests is a concern. That is why the Division has completed several large scale invasive plant control projects in recent years on state forests when funding allows. Citizens may see that occasionally, when logging is done improperly on private land, invasive plants do sometimes colonize the disturbed soil. The Division has mitigation practices in place in order to minimize this from happening on state land. There are measures that can be used to control invasives before they become a problem and prompt rehab of the site ensures that invasive plants will not get established.

What has been the consultation process for this proposal?
The Division of Forestry conducted internal reviews of this initiative during the summer of 2017. The Division sought expert opinion from statewide conservation, environmental, industry, recreational, and other statewide groups. In August, a public meeting with a presentation was held for local citizens, neighbors, and other interested stakeholders to attend and hear the details of this initiative. The intent of the consultation process is to ensure that organized groups, experts, stakeholders, and any individual citizen had an opportunity to participate. A comment period was established from August 21 to October 1, or roughly 40 days. As follow-up to the public meeting, many direct meetings were held during August and September with various people who needed additional clarification. The comment period was extended until November 6. Upon conclusion of the comment period, the ODNR and the Division of Forestry in conjunction with the Forest Advisory Council reviewed the input received from the consultation process.

Contact

Forest Manager: Chad Sanders, (419) 938-6222

Administrative Office:
Mohican-Memorial State Forest
950 ODNR Mohican Road 60
Perrysville, OH 44864

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


 

 

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