Geneva State Forest
|Genenva State Forest|
|Alabama State Forests|
|named for: Geneva County|
|Elevation||210 ft (64 m) |
|Area||7,120 acres (2,881 ha)|
|Management||Alabama Forestry Commission|
Geneva State Forest is an Alabama state forest in Geneva County, Alabama in the United States. The forest is 7,120 acres (2,880 ha) and sits at an elevation of 210 feet (64 m). It is Alabama's largest state forest. According to the Alabama Forestry Commission the primary objective of the state forest is to provide timber for the lumber industry and the secondary objectives are to provide habitats for wildlife and recreational opportunities for people. The forest is open for year-round recreation including hunting, fishing, hiking and camping.
Geneva State Forest was formerly part of a vast land holding of timberlands owned by the Jackson Lumber Company. The lumber company, as was a common practice of the time, clear cut the land. They were left with land that was of little use. Jackson Lumber Company tried to sell the land for as little as 50 cents an acre. They were unsuccessful and ultimately chose to donate the land to the State of Alabama instead of paying property taxes for land they could no longer use.
The land transfer took place during the Great Depression. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was a work relief program for young men from unemployed families, established in 1933. As part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal legislation, it was designed to combat unemployment during the 1930s. The CCC operated in every U.S. state. The CCC had several camps in Alabama including one at Geneva State Forest. The young men of the CCC worked to revitalize the forests of Geneva County and southern Alabama. They did this by clearing brush, building access roads and hand planting thousands of tree seedlings.
Geneva State Forest is a managed forest. Trees are harvested on a regular basis for multiple uses. The forest largely comprises longleaf pine. The longleaf pine is the official state tree of Alabama. Large forests of the pine once were present along the southeastern Atlantic coast and Gulf Coast of North America, as part of the eastern savannas. These forests were the source of naval stores - resin, turpentine, and timber.
The longleaf pine at Geneva State Forest is managed in three stages. The Alabama Forest Commission uses the natural regeneration method in their forest management. The three stages are preparatory cutting, establishment cutting and removal cutting. All three sections undergo an annual controlled burn in which ⅓ of the unit is set ablaze by foresters. The controlled fires encourage regrowth and provide forage for wildlife. Following removal cutting the forests are allowed to regenerate naturally. It takes 75 years for the forests to regrow.
Geneva State Forest is open to hunting. Common game species include white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, and eastern gray squirrels. Other animals hunted and living in the forest include bobcats, foxes, quail and rabbits. Geneva State Forest Lake is a 100 acres (40 ha) lake this is open for fishing. There is a hiking trail around the lake. Primitive camping is permitted in the state forest.
- "Geneva State Forest". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. September 4, 1950. Retrieved September 30, 2010.
- "Geneva State Forest". Alabama Forestry Commission. Retrieved September 30, 2010.
- Paige, John C. (1985). "Chapter One: A Brief History of the Civilian Conservation Corps". The Civilian Conservation Corps and the National Park Service, 1933-1942: An Administrative History. Washington, D.C.: U.S. National Park Service, Department of the Interior. OCLC 12072830. Retrieved September 30, 2010.
- "Southern Longleaf Pine". Official Symbols and Emblems of Alabama. Retrieved September 29, 2010.
- "Longleaf Pine Range Map". Archived from the original on June 5, 2011. Retrieved September 30, 2010.
- "Pinus palustris". The Gymnosperm Database. Retrieved September 30, 2010.