MWCD lake parks open for summer this weekend

May 19, 2014

It’s finally summer and time to visit the lakes and parks of the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD).

The Memorial Day holiday weekend (May 23-26) represents the traditional kickoff to the summer season and the lakes of the MWCD again will be a hub of outdoor recreational activities in Eastern Ohio and fun for every member of the family over this weekend and all summer long.

Free public boat launch ramps, fishing, hiking trails and thousands and thousands of acres of land and water open for public access, along with camping and events at the five MWCD lake parks have made the MWCD’s lands and lakes popular destinations for many decades.

“Summer is all about families, sunshine and the MWCD lakes,” said Darrin Lautenschleger, MWCD public affairs administrator. “The MWCD lakes are a treasure in Eastern Ohio and the memories made by families of summer days spent boating and fishing, and nights around a warm fire in the campgrounds bring smiles to the faces of children and adults for years to come. And making a reservation at an MWCD lake park is quick and easy now with the online reservation system available at”

The MWCD operates lake parks at Atwood, Charles Mill, Pleasant Hill, Seneca and Tappan lakes, with large campgrounds, scheduled daily and weekend events, special events, swimming beaches, activity centers and more. The parks open for the 2014 season on Friday morning (May 23) and will be open through the Labor Day holiday weekend. Camping – available all year long – is open for nightly and long-term stays of up to seven months.

Daily admission to one of the five MWCD lake parks is only $5 per vehicle, and includes use of the park swimming beaches, playground equipment, hiking trails and other amenities. Pavilion rentals are available, too, and are suitable for family picnics, reunions and other organized events.

Fireworks are a traditional favorite at the MWCD lakes and giant shows again are planned at the five MWCD lake parks this summer.

The schedule of fireworks at all locations is as follows:

Atwood Lake Park – Friday, July 4

Charles Mill Lake Park – Saturday, July 5

Pleasant Hill Lake Park – Saturday, July 19, and Saturday, Aug. 30

Seneca Lake Park – Saturday, July 5

Tappan Lake Park – Saturday, July 5

The MWCD also manages campgrounds located at North Branch Kokosing Park near Fredericktown in Knox County, at Leesville Lake near South Fork Marina located near Sherrodsville in Carroll County, and at Piedmont Marina on Piedmont Lake in Belmont County. Marinas operated by the MWCD are located at Piedmont Lake and at Seneca Lake.

Details about the MWCD facilities, event schedules, rates and more can be found on the MWCD website at Online camping reservations also are available at

And besides the facilities operated directly by the MWCD, there are many other exciting opportunities and amenities available to enjoy a visit to an MWCD lake. Two marinas each are located at Atwood Lake in Carroll and Tuscarawas counties, and at Leesville Lake in Carroll County. Marinas also are located at Charles Mill Lake in Ashland and Richland counties, Clendening Lake in Harrison County, Pleasant Hill Lake in Ashland County and Tappan Lake in Harrison County.

 An estimated 5.5 million people visit the MWCD lakes each year.

The MWCD, a political subdivision of the state, was organized in 1933 to develop and implement a plan to reduce flooding and conserve water for beneficial public uses in the Muskingum River Watershed, the largest wholly contained watershed in Ohio. Since their construction, the 16 reservoirs and dams in the MWCD region have been credited for saving an estimated $10.7 billion worth of potential property damage from flooding, according to the federal government, as well as providing popular recreational opportunities that bolster the region’s economy. A significant portion of the reservoirs are managed by the MWCD and the dams are managed for flood-risk management by the federal U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).

For more information about the MWCD, visit and follow the MWCD on Facebook and Twitter.

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