COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Forestry celebrated Vinton Furnace State Forest, one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in the United States and home to more than 50 years of ongoing forest research. The outdoor event highlighted the State of Ohio’s ownership of Vinton Furnace State Forest and celebrated the ongoing research taking place at the forest.
“Important research related to oak ecosystems has been ongoing in the forest at Vinton Furnace for decades,” said Dan Balser, Chief of the ODNR Division of Forestry. “By protecting this land for the last 10 years, we are helping ensure that oak trees are part of Ohio’s future forests, as well as safeguarding this biologically diverse ecosystem.”
The 12,089-acre Vinton Furnace State Forest is located 75 miles southeast of Columbus, near McArthur, Ohio. The forest is home to bobcats, timber rattlesnakes, cerulean warblers, and several rare plant species.
The site is also home to research dedicated to restoring oak trees to Ohio’s forests. Oak forests are home to some of Ohio’s most important wildlife species and are a valuable part of the state’s multi-billion-dollar wood industry.
Since 1952, land at the Vinton Furnace has been dedicated towards forest use and sustainability research – an agreement formalized between previous owner Mead Corporation and the USDA Forest Service in 1965. The USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station currently employs foresters at Vinton Furnace State Forest to implement, maintain, and collect data from research sites and provide overall care and maintenance of the site. Vinton Furnace State Forest is managed to protect ongoing and new research efforts, provide public access, promote native wildlife, and provide sustained timber production essential for the economy of southeastern Ohio.
The State of Ohio obtained private and federal funding assistance to purchase the Vinton Furnace Forest. American Electric Power, The Nature Conservancy, USDA Forest Service, and The Conservation Fund assisted in the purchase, which was finalized in 2010. These lands are being conserved, in part, by funding and technical assistance made available as mitigation for impacts caused by the construction and maintenance of the Rockies Express Pipeline, LLC in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.