Findley State Park - Ohio

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Nature of the Area

The bedrock materials underlying Findley State Park, principally Bedford Shale and Berea Sandstone, were formed over 300 million years ago • In most places in Ohio, the Berea Sandstone is only 10 to 40 feet thick • In South Amherst, north of the park, this sandstone reaches its maximum thickness of more than 200 feet • The sandstone quarries at South Amherst are the largest and deepest in the world.

This part of the state is known as Ohio's dairyland • Crops and cows are a common sight. In the midst of this rich agricultural area is the forest oasis found within Findley State Park • This forest is a regrowth secondary forest on abandoned farmland. It contains red maple, white ash, wild black cherry, oaks, white and red pine and beech.

The forest floor supports a variety of woodland wildflowers including spring beauties, Dutchman's breeches, hepatica, bloodroot, marsh marigold, trillium and woodland asters • White-tailed deer, red fox, beaver and raccoon are just a few of the animals that make this park their home • A variety of reptiles and amphibians can be found along the lakeshore • One area of the park is set aside as a sanctuary for the Duke's skipper butterfly, an extremely rare insect.

History of the Area

Long before the first settlers arrived in this area, the Erie Indians inhabited the area now known as Lorain County • Although the Eries were fierce warriors, they were eventually subdued by a confederation formed between other Iroquois tribes in the early 1600s using firearms obtained from the Dutch.

In 1795, the Treaty of Greenville set aside the lands north of the treaty line as a reserve for Indians • Much of the land restricted by the treaty had previously been granted to Connecticut • This claim, known as the Connecticut Western Reserve, ran along Lake Erie from the Pennsylvania border to present-day Erie County and included more than 3.5 million acres • The Connecticut Land Company, after purchasing some of the land, disputed the Indian claims and petitioned the government for the right to establish settlements on Indian lands • In 1800, Connecticut and the Congress agreed to attach the lands in dispute to the Ohio Territory as a county.

The threat of Indians still existed in the area, so settlement was slow • In 1807, a major settlement was established at the mouth of the Black River which later became the city of Lorain • That same year, the Connecticut Land Company sold 4,000 acres of land of what was to become Wellington Township to four men from Berkshire County, Massachusetts • In the winter of 1818 the four men were joined by William T. Welling of Montgomery County, New York. Following an Indian trail, they cut their way through to the area that became known as Wellington.

Wellington today has a rich heritage • Almost seventy-five percent of the downtown district is included on the National Register of Historic Places, reflecting the New England influence in the architecture • Many industries flourished during the mid-1800s, most notably brickyards, wagon and carriage shops • Later, it shared the reputation of being one of the greatest cheese producing locations in the Union • Lorain County generated annually the equivalent of one pound of cheese for each man, woman and child in the state • Wellington was also the home of Archibald M. Willard, painter of the classic "Spirit of 76" • A copy of the work and many Willard originals hang in the town library.

Located two miles south of Wellington is a tract of agricultural land purchased in 1936 and 1937 by Guy B. Findley, Lorain County Common Pleas Judge • Judge Findley donated the land to the state of Ohio to be maintained as a perpetual state forest, utilized for timber production and forest product experiments.

Findley Forest was planted by the Division of Forestry with extensive assistance from the Civilian Conservation Corps with nearly half a million trees including many varieties of pine and hardwoods • In 1950, the forest was transferred to the Division of Parks and Recreation to be maintained as a state park • An earthen dam, started in 1954 and completed in 1956, created the lake.

Camping

90 electric sites -- 181 non-electric sites -- Showers, flush toilets, laundry facilities, dump station, and a fully stocked camp store -- Pets are permitted on all sites -- Playground equipment, and a recreation area with sand volleyball, a basketball court and two horseshoe pits are available for camper use -- Nature center located in the campground -- 2 walk-in, organized group camp area both accommodate up to 40 people • Contact the park office for details

Getaway Rentals

3 "Conestoga" camper cabins are available from April through October -- Pets are not permitted in the camper cabins or on the site

Boating

Boating with electric motors only is permitted on the 93-acre lake -- 2 launch ramps provide access to the lake -- Canoes, rowboats, and 2-person kyaks can be rented at the marina

Fishing

The lake is well stocked with largemouth bass, bluegill and crappie -- Valid Ohio fishing license is required

Trails

Approximately 16 miles of hiking/biking trails: Mountain biking is permitted on all trails, weather permitting. Bicycle helmets are highly recommended. -- Black Locust Trail • 0.4 Miles • Easy -- Creekbank Trail • 1/2 Mile • Easy -- Hickory Grove Trail • 1.1 -- Miles • Easy -- Lake Trail • 1/2 Mile • Easy -- Larch Trail • 1.1 Miles • Easy -- Spillway Trail • 0.8 Miles • Easy -- Wyandot Trail • 1 Mile • Easy

Thorn Trail mountain bike trail: Single 9 mile loop bicycle track which has challenges for both novices and experts. Bicycle helmets are required -- The trail offers level terrain through heavily wooded areas as well as steep short climbs, fast winding sections, bank turns and north shore obstacles -- Novice riders can pass by these areas -- The trail can be accessed from many locations throughout the park -- The official start is at the north end of the park at the dam parking lot

Buckeye Trail • 1.6 Miles • Easy-Difficult

Swimming

435-foot beach with a concession -- Swimming is permitted during daylight hours only -- Swim at your own risk & be sure to keep an eye on the kids -- Pets are NOT permitted on swimming beaches -- Check for water quality advisories

Picnicking

8 Picnic areas are located in scenic areas around the park. -- 1 picnic shelter complete with electricity is available

Disc Golf

18 hole course -- Rental equipment is available -- No fee is charged to play

Winter Recreation (conditions permitting)

Ice skating -- Ice fishing -- Cross country skiing

More To Do

Nature programs during the summer months

Area Attractions

Wellington State Wildlife Area contains 200 acres adjacent to the park, which is managed by the ODNR Division of Wildlife for public hunting.

Spencer State Wildlife Area in nearby Spencer offers 548 acres of land and a 70-acre lake open for public hunting and fishing.

2 state nature preserves are located within a 40-minute drive: Fowler Woods, southwest of the park near Ashland, offers visitors mature beech-maple woodlands and buttonbush swamps -- Old Woman Creek, along Lake Erie east of Huron, consists of open water estuary, marshland, a 15-acre wooded island, barrier beach and other upland habitat • The hiking trails and observation deck are open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., April through October • The visitor center and research complex is open year-round, 1-5 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday

Contact

25381 State Route 58, Wellington, OH 44090-9208

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