Pymatuning State Park (Ohio)
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (December 2012)|
|Pymatuning State Park, Ohio, USA|
|U.S. state of Ohio showing the location of Pymatuning State Park|
|Location||Ashtabula County, Ohio, USA|
|Nearest city||Andover, Ohio|
|Area||3512 acres (14.21 km²)|
|Governing body||Ohio Department of Natural Resources|
Pymatuning State Park is a 3512 acres (14.21 km²) Ohio state park near Andover, Ashtabula County, Ohio in the United States. Pymatuning State Park contains 1,407 acres (5.69 km²) of Pymatuning Lake, one-quarter of which is in Ohio and three-quarters of which is in Pennsylvania. The lake provides fishing and boating year round.
Formed in the 1930s by a dam on the Shenango River, the lake features multiple beaches and camping areas in both states. The northeastern part of Pymatuning Lake, east of the spillway and three miles (5 km) south of Linesville, is a protected gameland where colonies of 20,000 Canada Geese and many more ducks winter each year. While across the lake on the Ohio side, the Canada Goose population faces out of season harassment, shell and nest destruction and death from the ODNR and the State Park's management policies despite the legal limit for taking geese in season in Ohio being lowered in recent years. The lake is the result of an earth dam three miles (5 km) north of Jamestown, Pennsylvania, whose outflow forms the Shenango River. A three-mile (5 km) causeway extends between Pennsylvania and Ohio near the center of the lake.
Pymatuning State Park is on land that was once a very large swamp. The first known inhabitants were thought to be early hunter/gatherer groups several thousands of years ago. The area was later home to the Mound Builders whose culture and trade was extremely vast, covering much of the continent. Two of their mounds were flooded over by the creation of Pymatuning Lake. The land was known to be later occupied by the powerful and mysterious Erie people or "Cat Nation", who were eventually fragmented, conquered or absorbed by the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy during the Beaver Wars. With the reception of guns and life changing trade goods from European powers near the coast who wanted the interior of the continent pacified and her furs exploited, the Haudenosaunee were encouraged by the European powers and trade partners to conquer large amounts of land to obtain enough furs to trade with these new neighbors for these life-changing technologies, which they did. By the end of the Beaver Wars the Haudenosaunee controlled a huge amount of land around and below the Great Lakes including present-day Ashtabula County, which was both home and hunting ground. The Lenape (decimated and driven from their ancestral homelands along the Atlantic Coast by the English and Dutch) were among the tribes living as formal guests or "little brothers" of the Iroquois around what is now Pymatuning Lake when European settlers first came to settle the area. The lake is named for the chief, who lived in the area at the time, Pihmtomink. The Lenape almost entirely left the area following the "Squaw Campaign" of 1778. During this event, an American Militia dispatched from Fort Pitt (and officially led by Col. William Crawford who is Crawford county Pennsylvanis'a namesake), frustrated from failing to reach their military objective near Cleveland, murdered atleast 4 women, an old man and a young boy from the Lenape and Munsee tribes (who were at the time friendly and loyal to the American Revolutionaries) at and near the Salt Licks along the nearby Mahoning River on their return trip. When Ashtabula county was beginning to be heavily settled in the early 1800's only a few villages of Mississagaus Lenape remained just West of present day Pymatuning Lake along Pymatuning Creek.
From swamplands to parklands
The first settlers to the area were farmers. Life was not easy for the farmers. The land was very swampy and very difficult to reclaim. Farm animals that wandered off were often lost in the quicksands of the swamp or fell prey to predators like foxes, bears and mountain lions. The swamps were infested with mosquitoes that brought yellow fever to the settlers.
Building a dam on the Shenango River was first explored in 1911. A massive flood in 1913 caused $3 million in damage and took several lives. The Pennsylvania General Assembly approved a budget of $1.2 million to build at dam across the Shenango, but Governor John K. Tener slashed the budget to just $100,000. The legislature took action again in 1917. This time approving a $400,000 budget under the condition that the needed land in Ohio be purchased by the private sector. The Pymatuning Land Company was formed and raised the needed funds to purchase the needed Ohio properties. The land was finally acquired in full by 1931 when Governor Gifford Pinchot approved $1.5 million to complete the dam. 7,000 men began work on the dam in 1931 and the project was completed in 1934. The final cost of building the dam was $3,717,739 and the lake now holds 64,275,000,000 US gallons (2.4331×1011 L) of water, covering 17,088 acres (69.15 km2) over a length of 17 miles (27 km) with a width of 1.6 miles (2.6 km) at the widest and 70 miles (110 km) of shoreline with a maximum depth of 35 feet (11 m).
- "Pymatuning State Park". Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved 2008-10-10.
- "Park Spotlight: Pymatuning State Park". Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Retrieved 2007-01-20.
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