LOCATION AND DESCRIPTION
This 6,885-acre area lies in the western end of Meigs County and extends southward into Gallia County, to near the village of Cheshire. Many county and township roads pass through this area and provide direct access to almost all of the area. This area is situated in the hilly unglaciated Allegheny Plateau and consists primarily of rounded ridges, steep slopes, and narrow ravines. Numerous old fields reverting to forest are intermixed with woods which are generally second and third growth timber. Oak and hickory dominate the ridges and upper slopes. Tulip, poplar, beech, maple, and red oak are frequent lowland and ravine tree species. Index of Ohio's trees from the Division of Forestry.
HISTORY AND PURPOSE
This property is part of the American Electric Power (AEP) Gavin Plant ownership, as well as a portion of the former AEP Southern Ohio Coal Company Meigs Mine ownership. AEP operated the Southern Ohio Coal Company mines from 1972 until 2001. AEP continues to be one of the major owners of land and mineral properties in southeastern Ohio.
As part of AEP’s corporate commitment to environmental stewardship, this forested area is being managed under a long-term sustained yield basis. In addition to timber production, the forest stewardship plan for this area addresses protecting water quality, providing recreational use, and habitat improvement for both game and non-game wildlife species. This area is certified as part of the American Tree Farm System.
In addition to these long-term stewardship commitments, AEP has approximately 1,015 acres located in the Parker Run Watershed (Meigs County) included in a conservation easement agreement with the Meigs County Soil and Water Conservation District for the purpose of maintaining Parker Run and Leading Creek in a natural scenic condition.
Further south in Gallia County, along Van Zant Road (Co. Rd. 97), is the Gavin Wetlands Area. This is a designated non-hunting area that is used for other recreational and educational purposes.
Gray squirrel, ruffed grouse, wild turkey, deer, raccoon, and gray fox are the principle game and fur species on the area. Fox squirrels, rabbits, opossums, skunks, red foxes, and muskrats are present in smaller numbers. Grouse and deer will increase as a result of the ongoing forest management work. A rich variety of songbirds is found on the area in association with the diverse mixture of habitat types.
HUNTING AND TRAPPING
The most productive areas for grouse are along the woodland edges of the many naturally reverting fields. Among the better areas to hunt deer are the woods recently harvested for pulpwood, which provide an abundance of food and cover, 5 to 10 years after cutting. Squirrel hunting is good in the more mature woods, which are generally confined to the steeper slopes and narrow valleys. Rabbits can be found along brushy woodland borders and in old fields.
Raccoon hunting is generally good throughout the area. Beaver trapping may be permitted to remove problem beaver, but only with special permission from AEP. The Division of Wildlife enforces all state laws on these lands, including hunting and fishing regulations. Enforcement priorities include prohibiting littering, off-road vehicle use, and timber theft and destruction.
FREE PERMIT REQUIRED
A free permit is required to use this area. Permits can be obtained from the following sources:
AEP public use permit website or by calling 1.800.WILDLIFE
As indicated on the back of the permit, while using the AEP Recreational Areas, the permittee agrees to:
(1) respect the rights of the property owner, (2) be careful in handling firearms, (3) obey all laws of the Ohio Revised Code and Division of Wildlife rules and regulations reported in the Ohio Administrative Code, (4) observe rules of safety and speed on area roads, (5) leave the area immediately if requested by an AEP employee or employee of the Division of Wildlife, and (6) surrender any permit immediately upon revocation. The permittee further agrees NOT to: (1) damage fences, forest plantings, trees, etc., (2) litter the area or dump any rubbish or garbage, (3) remove anything, including trees and parts of trees, plantings, stone, gravel, rocks, etc., (4) use or possess any alcoholic beverage or any illegal or controlled substance, (5) hunt near buildings, (6) trap beaver without special permission of AEP, and only while in season and with the legally required license and permit, (7) swim on AEP lands, (8) use off-road vehicles of any kind on AEP lands for recreational purposes, (9) cut firewood except by permit issued by AEP, and (10) camp or start a campfire. This free permit is not valid unless signed and carried.
Additional information may be obtained from the Wildlife District Four Office, 360 E State Street, Athens, Ohio 45701; telephone (740) 589-9930.
AEP also maintains a website with a map of the Gavin Public Hunting Lands.
TURN IN A POACHER
Ohio’s TIP, “Turn In a Poacher,” program is helping to curtail poaching throughout the state. TIP is designed to involve the public in reporting wildlife violations. Citizens who observe wildlife violations should call the TIP toll-free hotline, 1-800-POACHER.
Return to list of southeast Ohio wildlife areas.