Ohio Power, also known as American Electric Power, offers campers and outdoor enthusiasts, 34,000-acre ReCreation Land, reclaimed and reforested coal strip-mined acreage in southeast Ohio. ReCreation Land is located in Morgan, Noble and Muskingum counties, 5 miles northeast of McConnelsville. AEP has planted more than 63 million trees, created 350 lakes and ponds and offers campers 10 campgrounds with more than 350 campsites. Recreational opportunities include fishing, hunting, mountain biking, hiking and water-related activities.
According to AEP, campsites have been developed to preserve the “primitive beauty of this rustic setting.” You'll find seven campgrounds scattered across ReCreation Land, most able to accommodate RVs, trailers and tent campers. Each campground is equipped with picnic tables, sanitary facilities, water and access to a number of outdoor recreational opportunities. There is no charge for visiting or camping within ReCreation Land, however, a permit is required. Permits are available from the AEP office in McConnelsville, its corporate offices, regional offices of the Ohio Division of Wildlife or from any sporting goods or bait stores in the area surrounding ReCreation Land.
While camping at Woodgrove, also known as Campground H, hikers can access the 1,444-mile Buckeye Trail, which winds throughout Ohio. Approximately 18 miles of this trail, designated as the Stockport section, runs through ReCreation Land and offers hikes along lakes where many beaver dams can be seen. Hiking is permitted on all access roads throughout ReCreation Land, and you’ll find a 4-mile trail that connects Sand Hollow, or Campground C, and Maple Grove, also known as Campground G.
Ten miles of mountain bike trails, designed for intermediate to advanced riders, can be accessed near Campground C in Sand Hollow, west of State Route 284. Trails are off limits during deer gun-hunting season. Biking also is permitted on the gravel and paved access roads, which head in and out of the camping areas, and allow for approximately 25 miles of family friendly biking. Cyclists also can access the 3.2-mile Zanesville Bikeway and 4-mile Muskingum Recreational Trail, which runs along the Muskingum River in Zanesville, approximately 15 miles north of ReCreation Land.
Horseback riding is allowed within the Equine Trail Area, which is located off State Route 78, 8 miles east of McConnelsville. Trail riding is permitted during daylight hours on the 30 miles of trails developed under a partnership agreement with Morgan County, in accordance with the Ohio Horseman’s Council. The Equine Trail Area offers you primitive campsites and convenient parking for trailers and campers.
Fishing and Hunting
Both hunters and anglers must obtain a valid Ohio fishing or hunting license, as well as a ReCreation Land visitor’s permit, in order to access AEP land. This area's ponds and lakes are periodically stocked by the Ohio Division of Wildlife with a variety of game fish species, including bass and bluegill. Anglers can go fishing within minutes of most ReCreation Land campgrounds except for the Maple Grove, Windy Hill and R.V. Crews campgrounds.
In addition to ReCreation Land, AEP offers hunters and anglers a number of other wildlife areas throughout Ohio, including 4,919-acre Avondale Wildlife Area, 5 miles southwest of Zanesville, 6,685-acre Gavin Wildlife Area near Rutland and 5,000-acre Smith Mountain Lake area, which features primitive camping near the lake.
- American Electric Power: Conservation & Outdoor Recreation: Recreation Areas: Camp Maps
- American Electric Power: Conservation & Outdoor Recreation: Recreation Areas: Activities
- Ohio Department of Transportation: Ohio Bikeways: Southeast Region
- Ohio Department of Natural Resources: Wildlife Area Maps: AEP Gavin Public Hunting Lands
- Digital Vision./DigitalVision/Getty Images