AEP RECREATION LAND
By: Virginia Ross
The AEP ReCreation Land is a great way to connect with family and nature. Thousands of people travel from not just Ohio but from other parts of the United States as well. Each person has his or her reason for traveling to this very beautiful and serene land. The area is mainly known for its hunting and fishing destinations, but this statement is simply not true.
The ReCreation Land has so much more to offer any that would venture here. The Wilds is one the newest attractions that one may likely enjoy. It has animals that are native to this land as well as other countries. The Equine Trail is a trail for those interested in horseback riding. I am not sure if you have the option to rent a horse; that has never been an interest of mine. Wolf Run Lake, where you can have fun kayaking, is located in Caldwell, Ohio. For the fearless and more adventurous, there is a dirt trail for mountain biking. Whether you are a beginner or someone that has been biking for years, it is bound to be lots of fun for all. Hiking is also an option for those people that are more “down to earth.” There are miles and miles of hiking trails that have the same scenic attraction the ReCreation Land is known for. There are also miles of trails and dirt roads along the campgrounds for those who just want to feel the dirt on their feet. There is no lack of exciting and interesting adventures in the miles and miles of land that is known as the AEP ReCreation Land.
Out of the many fun and exciting things to do in this vast land, my personal favorite is the Jesse Owens State Park and Wildlife Area. This park was once known as the the Miner’s Memorial Park. The name was recently changed to honor a famous Olympic athlete from Ohio. He was honored not just for being an Olympian but for the many obstacles he had to overcome. His story is a very fascinating story. This park is home to a part of the history of the ReCreation Land; its main attraction is the bucket of what once was the largest dragline ever built. The “Big Muskie” was known all over the state and some surrounding states. I am biased in that I was able to take a short ride on that giant of a machine. My father and other family members helped to make the ReCreation Land what it is today. My family takes a trip to one of the many campgrounds every year. This year we stayed at Hook Lake, with its scenic and serene atmosphere. This campground is directly off of the main road and is easy to find for the newcomer. Hook Lake is fun for all. The campground has two small lakes; the first is directly inside the campground, and the second is across the road from the first. At the very end of the dirt road, bearing right, is an archery range for those who prefer a bow and arrows to hunt game. Upon entering the campground, right next to the first lake is a playground. The playground consists of a swing set and a merry-go-round that would be hours of entertainment for your youngster. The lakes, which are most likely why this campground is named Hook Lake, are specifically for kids of a certain age to fish. This campground also has a pavilion next to the first and second lakes. My family spends the weekend at Hook Lake, and it is a great experience. We all get together on Friday to sit around the campfire and roast hot dogs, sausages, and marshmallows and reminisce about years past. On Saturday we do most of the same, with the exception of fishing and other outdoor activities. It has been a tradition in my family for as long as I can remember. Sometimes there are square dances and other fun activities in some of the surrounding villages. I have so many fond memories of the friends of the family who would join us from time to time. The “menfolk,” as they were called, would spend most of the day fishing or hunting. They would bring back buckets of fish, and the women would cook them over the fire. I really miss those days sometimes. I’m not sure if it is my youth that I miss or the many adventures that were had in my youth. It is better to look forward and to make memories that my children will sit and reminisce about one day.
The ReCreation Land is a place where memories can be made for generation after generation. I believe AEP specifically thought of this as a way to give back to the community that supported that corporation. There are so many things to do and to see. In the autumn months, leaves on the trees turn a bright orange, yellow, and red. It is said that if you are in the right spot with the bright sun of the afternoon, the many wonderful colors make the forest glow. In the winter, with the fresh snow on the ground and lying on the branches of the trees, this land becomes a winter wonderland. In late April the forest begins to come alive with the many vibrant colors of spring. The summer months are generally the busiest with the campers, bikers, and other vacationers. My personal favorite time to visit is in late September to mid-October, riding along the old dirt roads and admiring all the colors of nature.