by William Eric McFadden

Support-Your-Parks Summer 2021 RATpedition, Day 2; parks four and five of eleven

From the Scioto Trail State Park website:

Nestled within the beautiful 9,000-acre Scioto Trail State Forest in Ross County, Scioto Trail State Park’s 218 acres are a wooded refuge. Just south of Chillicothe, the ridgetops and winding forest roads offer breathtaking vistas of southern Ohio’s Scioto River Valley. The beauty and remoteness of Scioto Trail offers the best of escapes to park visitors. Camping, fishing and paddling are just a few of the adventures awaiting outdoor enthusiasts.

From the Scioto Trail State Forest website:

During World War I, the area that is now Scioto Trail State Forest was used as an artillery range for Camp Sherman. Seventy-five millimeter guns and six-inch howitzers were set up at the mouth of Stoney Creek on the Scioto River and fired at targets in the general area of Stewart and Caldwell lakes.

The purchase of land for the state forest began in 1922, and most of the present forest area was purchased by 1937. The first 9,088 acres cost an average of $7.70 per acre. The forest was named after the Native American trail that ran from what is now Chillicothe to Portsmouth. They called it the Scioto Trail. Route 23 follows the path of the trail. The major development of the area took place in the 1930s when the Civilian Conservation Corps built most of the roads, lakes and early recreational facilities. The forest now covers 9,600 acres.

Scioto Trail State Forest maintains 26 miles of bridle trails for day use by horseback riders and hikers. Mountain bikes are also permitted on these trails.

Six miles of paved roads and 18 miles of gravel roads provide good access to all areas of the forest. Scenic vistas and overlooks on several of the roads attract many visitors year-round, but especially during the fall when the leaves are turning color.

Populations of deer, wild turkey, squirrel and grouse encourage many hunters to pursue their favorite sport at Scioto Trail State Forest. Mushroom hunting in the spring is attracting more and more visitors to the forest each year.

The 250-acre Scioto Trail State Park consists of two areas in the middle of the state forest. Two 15-acre lakes, a campground, two primitive camping areas, picnic areas, trails and a sled hill are all located within the park.



Scioto Trail State Forest and Park sign -- click to enlarge For the Parks on the Air program (POTA; link) Support Your Parks Summer 2021 Plaque Event on the weekend of July 17-18, 2021, one member of the Southeast Ohio Radio Adventure Team performed an aggressive two-day activation schedule with an overnight stop in Portsmouth, Ohio. The route of Eric McFadden, WD8RIF, would cover over 300 miles, would include fifteen stops in two states, and would lead to twenty-one successful POTA activations with 421 QSOs made. Over the weekend, Eric would encounter rain, thunderstorms, and brilliant sunshine.

Following a successful two-fer activation of Shawnee State Park (K-1991) and Shawnee State Forest (K-5450) (link) and a successful activation of Lake White State Park (K-1971) (link), Eric's third stop of the day was Scioto Trail State Park for a two-fer activation of Scioto Trail State Park (K-1990) and Scioto Trail State Forest (K-5448).

Entering Scioto Trail State Forest -- click to enlarge Eric arrived at the high-elevation point within Scioto Trail State Park at which had intended to operate but discovered it to be the campground. (Actually, later study of the map disclosed that a turn onto a minor road had been missed, meaning the campground was found by error.) Eric returned slowly down the hill from the campground until he found the small parking area adjacent to the Scioto Trail Island Gazebo. Satisfied that this was a location at which he could set up his antenna and which also had cell-signal, Eric chose to operate there. He quickly deployed his 28½' wire vertical on his Jackite 31' telescoping fiberglass mast and drive-on mount. Because of his aggressive schedule, Eric set up his KX3 inside his car. Eric was on the air at 1613 UTC.

Scioto Trail Island Gazebo -- click to enlarge The cell-signal at this location allowed Eric to use the POTA Spots website (link) to spot himself and to look for possible park-to-park (P2P) QSOs.

Eric began operations by finding himself a frequency on 40m and by 1625 UTC he had completed ten QSOs. This run included a P2P QSO with KN4RBN who was activating Guilford Courthouse National Military Park (K-0718) in North Carolina.

Pausing to check POTA Spots, at 1633 UTC Eric completed a P2P QSO on 20m with K4NYM who was activating Castillo de San Marcos National Monument (K-0912) in Florida.

A view of Caldwell Lake -- click to enlarge Returning to 40m, Eric made an additional five QSOs in about ten minutes.

Switching to 30m, Eric made four more QSOs in about six minutes.

Because his aggressive itinerary didn't allow for much time at any of the parks, Eric tore down his station in order to proceed to his next location.

In all, Eric made twenty QSOs, including two P2P QSOs. All of Eric's QSOs were CW and were made at the 5-watt level.

Eric also submitted his log to the World Wide Flora and Fauna in Amateur Radio (WWFF; link) program for Scioto Trail State Park.