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Salt Fork Lake is a 3,000-acre recreational gem nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in Guernsey County in Ohio's Southeast tourism region. Salt Pond Lake and Salt Pond State Park are conveniently located near the intersection of Interstates 70 and 77 and the City of Cambridge, birthplace of astronaut and Senator John Glenn. The lake was created in 1967 for recreation and water conservation by impounding Salt Fork Creek.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation, and Division of Wildlife administer Salt Fork Lake and Salt Fork State Park. DNR allows boats of unlimited horsepower on the lake. Anglers, kayakers, and canoeists enjoy designated no-wake zones away from high-speed boat traffic.
Salt Fork Lake provides ample sport fishing opportunity for catches of muskie (muskellunge), largemouth bass, walleye, channel catfish, crappie, and various species of sunfish. Anglers also reel in flathead catfish, smallmouth bass, and white bass in more limited numbers. Salt Fork State Park operates a productive 2,952-acre catfishery. Fishing is particularly good along the artificial reef at the north branch of the lake and in the many coves along the lake's 76-mile shoreline. Two marinas, Salt Fork Marina and Sugartree Marina, have bait shops.
The 17,229-acre Salt Fork State Park has bragging rights as Ohio's largest state park, welcoming more than 1.8 million visitors annually. Accommodations within the park include a resort lodge with swimming pool, family cottages, and a campground with about 200 sites. The park also boasts a swimming beach stretching along 2,500 feet of shoreline, making it the largest inland beach in Ohio.
Salt Fork State Park provides extensive hiking and biking trails with beautiful views of the lake. During summer months, visitors can take a guided tour through the historic Kennedy Stone House, an 1840-era restored farmhouse. Golfers test their skills at the park's 18-hole golf course, complete with pro shop, driving range, putting green, and snack bar.
Salt Fork Marina and Sugartree Marina rent pontoon boats, ski boats, and water scooters for visitors without their own boats. For water skiing enthusiasts, ski zones are designated by buoys. For visitors who prefer to let others do the driving, the Salt Fork Queen is a cruise pontoon boat offering tours of Salt Fork Lake.
The Salt Fork Wildlife Area is one of 80 Ohio Watchable Wildlife sites. Each season provides unique wildlife viewing. Visitors encounter wild turkey, white-tailed deer, foxes, groundhogs, songbirds, hawks, waterfowl, and an occasional bald eagle along their treks. An osprey reintroduction project began at Salt Fork Lake in 1996. Each June and July wildlife enthusiasts watch from State Route 22 as young osprey feed and exercise in specially built towers. Hunting for small game, waterfowl, and deer is available on 12,000 acres of wildlife-managed land.
For some off-water fun, visit the nearby Hopalong Cassidy Museum, the Cambridge glass factories and museums, and the John and Annie Glenn Historic Site. After a fun-packed day exploring Salt Fork Lake and the surrounding area, relax by the water's edge as you watch the sun set over the horizon.
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