According to the Ohio DNR, Van Buren State Park is in a region of Ohio that was once populated by members of the Shawnee nation. The Shawnee migrated to the area from south central Ohio. The area in and around the park represented the last stronghold for the Shawnee in Ohio before they were forced to move west of the Mississippi River by the encroachment of Anglo-American pioneers.The process of creating Van Buren State Park began in 1939 when a dam was built over Rocky Ford Creek creating what is now Van Buren Lake. This lake was part of a private wildlife preserve. The lake and preserve were transferred to the state of Ohio in 1950.
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