Lake Alma State Park was originally constructed as a private amusement park in 1903. Although little remains of the former recreational area, Lake Alma State Park is now 292 acres of quiet lake and wooded areas. The 60-acre lake offers visitors boating, fishing, a playground, and beach area. There are also areas for camping as well as hiking trails and a paved bike path.
The first geological survey of Ohio revealed that Vinton County was rich in mineral resources. Millstone, coal and iron ore were fundamental to many industries at the time. There were 46 charcoal iron furnaces in the region and at one time Ohio was the leading producer of iron in the nation. In the 1800s there were few millstone manufacturers and the Raccoon Creek quarry was ones of them. As in many areas in Southern Ohio, coal was once an important industry for Vinton County. In the last century it has become less integral to industry but remains an important part of the county’s identity. Vinton County is the least populated and most heavily forested county in the state and so the timber industry has become the most lucrative business.
C.K. Davis was a prosperous coal operator. In 1903 he built an amusement park complete with rides, including a merry-go-round, as well as a dance pavilion and outdoor theater. The park did well until around 1910 and was eventually purchased by the city of Wellston for a municipal water supply. The city leases the area to the ODNR Division of Parks and Recreation for operation as a state park.
Lake Alma lies deep in the unglaciated hill country of Ohio. This area is considered a part of the Appalachian Plateau. Many of the rock layers found are sandstones, shales, and coals, however limestone beds can be found. Seventy percent of Ohio’s woodlands can be found in this area. Lake Alma’s wooded areas are a great example of the second growth forest that covers this part of the state.
Vinton County boasts a dense population of many species of flora and fauna, such as deer and grey squirrels as well as wild geranium and large-flowered trillium, thanks to its heavily forested areas. Wild turkeys were reintroduced to the area in the 1950s and now has the highest population in the state. In addition to these animals, many birds such as the pileated woodpecker, great-horned owl, and barred owl can be found in the area. Wildflowers can be found in abundance as can many ferns and mosses.
Lake Alma State Park offers many relaxing and exciting activities for the whole family. Boating and fishing are allowed on the lake, bluegill and bass being just some of what can be caught. The lake offers two beaches and has changing rooms and concessions for your convenience. A pet swim area is also provided in a separate area of the lake. There are trails throughout the park and a paved bike path, in addition to a playground. In winter, under the right conditions, ice skating and ice fishing are possible. There are seven picnic areas with tables and grills along with three shelter houses all with reasonable parking and latrine access.