The concept of a “Rising Appalachia” is one of a new attitude backed up by action. Burr Oak Lake, nestled in the rugged hills at the corners of Morgan, Athens and Perry Counties, is a prime example of this notion. Burr Oak State Park Lodge, closed in 2011 due to low usage and much needed building repairs, was considered a candidate for demolition. However, political pressure from the region and advocacy within the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, changed the course of history. After deliberation, the State of Ohio reinvested 2 million dollars into the lodge’s renovation and entered into contract with U. S. Hotels to operate it. At the same time, a group of local citizens formed the Burr Oak Alive! group to convince the state that there was plenty to explore and do in the region surrounding the park if a partnership could be formed. The Lodge reopened during the summer of 2013 and since that time has become an extremely popular destination for the type of tourism opportunities featured in this catalog. Burr Oak Alive! has become a friends group for the lake and regularly schedules concerts, hikes and learning activities for visitors and residents in the surrounding communities.
Community partners have joined the effort, with AmeriCorps members from non-profit Rural Action being placed at the park to stimulate activity. Organizations such as the Buckeye Trail Association, local tourism organizations in Athens and Morgan counties, the Little Cities of Black Diamonds, the Athens Historical Society and local watershed restoration and environmental education groups have come to the table to help. Suddenly, there are regular events connecting visitors to the region. Occupancy rates at the lodge have exceeded expectations.
As you peruse this catalog you will note events scheduled in and around Burr Oak Lake. If you haven’t already experienced this dramatically beautiful setting, this is your chance. In addition to booking a guided experience or scheduled adventure, the park features a new state of the art disc golf course and great kayaking, boating, fishing, camping and hiking opportunities. Within close striking distance of Athens, Ohio’s most exciting college town, historic McConnelsville, the Wayne National Forest and the history rich Little Cities of Black Diamonds microregion, self-guided and guided opportunities abound. Whether it be the Buckeye Trail EGG Solstice extreme hike, a Taste of Appalachia, or a Turtles View Lake Tour, you will experience a new attitude in these hills surrounding Burr Oak. Ohio’s Appalachia is rising!