Pymatuning Wetlands The advancing and retreating mile-high glacial sheet of ice and snow shaped the countryside around this area. As the last of the ice masses melted, a great swamp developed, punctuated by towering white pines, bogs, and wetlands, fed by the Shenango and Beaver Rivers. Abundant wildlife drew prehistoric and later historic Native Americans into the area where they lived and hunted for thousands of years. Indian legend has it that the name Pymatunging means "The crooked-Mouthed Man's Dwelling Place," referring to a Native American chief who once resided in the area. Eurpoean trappers came to these swamp lands in the 1700s in search of beaver and other fur-bearing animals. Pioneer famrmers and lumbermen came to the area after 1800, but settlement in the swamp was slow and difficult. Eventually much of the area was cultivated in onion and other root crops. (Continued on other side) Pymatuning Reservoir(Continued from other side) Change came to the Pymatuning Swamp in 1913 when the Pennsylvania Legislature passed the Pymatuning Act, which proposed the creation of a dam to regulate the flow of the Shenango and Beaver rivers in Pennsylvania and to conserve the water for a variety of purposes, including providing adequate water for Shenango Valley industry and household use, flood control, and recreation.
Dam construction began in 1931 and was completed in 1934. The Pymatuning Reservoir, which covers lands in both Ohio and Pennsylvania, is 16.5 miles long and 3.5 miles wide with 70 miles of shoreline and has a maximum depth of 35 feet and a storage capacity of 67.3 million gallons of water. It has had a long tradition of recreation, including camping, hunting, fishing, hiking, sightseeing, swimming, and winter sports activities. Both Ohio and Pennsylvania manage state parks on each side of the reservoir.