By Adria Bergeron
Ohio’s weather is unpredictable. This past winter is certainly proof of that fact. One thing is certain, however; winter will end, spring will arrive and Ohioans will welcome the season with open arms. When a little warm air and sun make an appearance, people are outside riding bikes, taking walks and working in the yard. Nice weather and improved mood are not just a coincidence. Vitamin D, “aka the sunshine vitamin,” fights depression, boosts weight loss and improves your overall health.
If you’re looking for a place to absorb some of this sunshine, the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) manages 54,000 acres for public use; 16,000 acres of water surface and 38,000 acres of land cover 20% of the State of Ohio. The lakes and their surrounding lands offer some of the best recreational areas in the state for hunters, anglers, boaters, swimmers and hikers – or for someone who just wants to kick back and relax while enjoying the beautiful scenery and wildlife.
Trails are a great place to feel fully surrounded by nature, and to see and learn about wildlife. Whether you are interested in a leisurely stroll or heading out for miles, trails are an important amenity the MWCD is continuously working to improve and are available for public access at all of their facilities. If you haven’t been to Atwood Lake in a while, it’s worth the trip. A newly developed paved trail and walking bridge at Atwood Lake Park is open for business! The new trail connects the Marina West and the outer camping sites to the Welcome Center and the main park. Additional features of this 10-foot-wide paved trail include a 242-foot scenic bridge over part of Atwood Lake and installation of a canoe and kayak launch adjacent to the Welcome Center parking lot. Over 4.5 miles of dedicated trails are available throughout the park.
The Buckeye Trail winds around the State of Ohio for nearly 1,444 miles and is headquartered near the shores of Tappan Lake in Harrison County. If heading out on horseback is more your speed, nearly 88 miles of horse trail connecting Pleasant Hill Lake Park to Malabar Farm State Park and Mohican State Forest is suitable for riders with all levels of experience. The park’s primitive equine camping area offers campsites large enough to accommodate both truck and trailer, and highline is available for the horses.
Lakes are a great place to soak in the beauty of nature, whether from the shore or floating on a boat. Atwood, Charles Mill, Clendening, Leesville, Piedmont, Pleasant Hill, Seneca and Tappan Lakes are all managed by the MWCD. They are available for public use and offer a variety of options to accommodate numerous interests. Clendening, Leesville and Piedmont Lakes are known for peace and quiet, undeveloped shorelines and excellent fishing. The horsepower limit is low, keeping the water calm and the fish biting. Pleasant Hill, Seneca and Tappan Lakes are great for those looking to take a leisurely boat ride or to crank up the speed with horsepower limits of 399 or greater. Atwood and Charles Mill Lakes are most popular with sail boating enthusiasts and for leisurely cruises.
Camping and cabins invite visitors to experience the true beauty of nature where campfire stories can be shared with friends and family under the stars, and the sound of chirping birds can be heard when you awake. Ranging from full hook-up to primitive campsites or fully-equipped vacation cabins to the basic camper cabins, the MWCD facilities are equipped to meet the needs of all guests.
Spring at MWCD