Bear Lake is situated deep in the heart of Shawnee State Forest and only adds to the scenic beauty of what is now known as the Horse Camp. Civilian Conservation Corps enrollees from Camp Bear Creek built the reservoir in 1934 and ever since it has been a favorite spot for forest vistors.
Today, Bear Lake is the location of the popular Horse Camp, where horse enthusiasts camp out and ride the forest's many bridle trails.
One of six lakes originally built with CCC labor, Bear Lake was the first to be finished in 1935. Floyd Chapman, a Field Ecologist with the Ohio Division of Conservation who studied the work of the CCC in southern Ohio, noted that these "lakes were built primarily to provide water for CCC Camps, but are being used at present [in 1938] for public recreation, including fishing, boating and swimming. Such lakes are likewise valuable to wildlife, promote better plant growth, and aid in flood control."
In Chapman's Ph.D. dissertation, which he completed at the Ohio State University, we find the following statistics on Bear Creek Dam.
- Height of dam above stream level ...... 24 ft.
- Height of spillway above stream level ...... 17 ft.
- Length of dam ..... 270 ft.
- Width of dam at base ...... 110 ft.
- Watershed area ...... 330 acres
- Area of impounded water ...... 3 acres
- Storage capacity of reservoir ..... 5,500,000 gallons
- Cost of materials ..... $1016.00
- Total cost (est.) with CCC labor ..... $8000.00
- Man-days of CCC enrollee labor .... 5090
- CCC enrollee pay per diem ...... $1.00
Floyd Barton Chapman, "The Development and Utilization of the Wildlife Resources of Unglaciated Ohio," (Ph.D. Dissertation, The Ohio State University, 1938), pp. 212-216.