West Branch State Park
|West Branch State Park|
IUCN category V (protected landscape/seascape)
|U.S. state of Ohio showing the location of West Branch State Park|
|Location||Portage County, Ohio, USA|
|Area||Land: 5,352 acres (22 km2)
Water: 2,650 acres (11 km2)
|Governing body||Ohio Department of Natural Resources|
West Branch State Park is a state park located east of Ravenna, Ohio on the west branch of the Mahoning River. The park encompasses 5,352 acres (22 km2) of land and 2,650 acres (11 km2) of water. Boating, fishing and swimming are permitted on the Michael J. Kirwan Reservoir. The park includes a campground with 198 campsites.
In early days Native Americans and some early settlers used the Mahoning River as a source for salt. Captain John Campbell who led militia in the War of 1812 opened the oldest brick land office building around 1810. Before the reservoir was made, the building was moved out of the area.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers constructed the Michael J. Kirwan Reservoir in 1965. The reservoir was developed for recreation, water supply, flood control, and fish and wildlife management. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers then leased the land to the state of Ohio to be used as a state park. West Branch State Park was officially opened in 1966.
There are 12 miles (19 km) of hiking trails in West Branch State Park, along with 20 miles (30 km) of bridle trails and around 8 miles (13 km) of snowmobile and biking trails. Hunting is permitted in certain areas when the season is open. Deer, small game and waterfowl are the most common for hunting. Boat rental is available at the marina.
Camping is available with 29 full service sites, 155 sites with 50-amp electric hook-up, and 14 non-electric sites. The campground also has heated showers, flush toilets, laundry facilities and a trailer dump station. Some lakeside sites offer boating access. The camp office loans games and sporting equipment to registered campers. A group camp is available for organizations of up to 50 people. Camping reservations may be made up to 6 months in advance at Ohio Reserve World