George Washington and Jefferson National Forests
U.S. National Forests
White Rocks on Little Sluice Mountain in George Washington National Forest.
Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia
Clinch, Eastern Divide, Glenwood-Pedlar, James River, Lee, Mount Rogers, North River, Warm Springs
38°30′0″N 79°0′0″W / 38.50000°N 79.00000°W Coordinates: 38°30′0″N 79°0′0″W / 38.50000°N 79.00000°W
Grayson and Smyth Counties, VA
5,729 ft (1,746.2 m)
36°39′35″N 81°3′41″W / 36.65972°N 81.06139°W
South Fork Shenandoah River
Front Royal, VA
513 ft (156.4 m)
38°52′31″N 78°18′34″W / 38.87528°N 78.30944°W
1,790,933 acres (724,764.9 ha)
- George Washington NF
- Jefferson NF
US Forest Service
IUCN category VI - Managed Resource Protected Area
Location of George Washington and Jefferson National Forests
Wikimedia Commons: George Washington and Jefferson National Forests
Website: George Washington and Jefferson National Forests
George Washington and Jefferson National Forests are U.S. National Forests that combine to form one of the largest areas of public land in the Eastern United States. They cover 1.8 million acres (7,300 km 2) of land in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky. Approximately 1 million acres (4,000 km 2) of the forest are remote and undeveloped and 139,461 acres (564 km 2) have been designated as [3 ] wilderness areas, which eliminates future development.
History [ edit ]
George Washington National Forest was established on May 16, 1918 as the Shenandoah National Forest. The forest was renamed after the first President on June 28, 1932. Natural Bridge National Forest was added on July 22, 1933. [2 ]
Jefferson National Forest was formed on April 21, 1936 by combining portions of the Unaka and George Washington National Forests with other land. In 1995, the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests were administratively combined. [2 ] The border between the two forests roughly follows the [1 ] James River. The combined forest is administered from its headquarters in Roanoke, Virginia. [1 ]
Notable features [ edit ]
The northern portion of the
Blue Ridge Parkway, which is separately administered by the National Park Service, runs through the Forest. Over 2,000 miles (3,000 km) of hiking trails go through the forest.
Virginia's highest point,
Mount Rogers, is located in the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area that is part of the forest. Other notable mountains include Elliott Knob, which has one of the last remaining fire lookout towers in the eastern U.S., and Whitetop Mountain. Approximately 230,000 acres (930 km
2) of old-growth forests. The deepest gorge east of the Mississippi River,
Breaks Interstate Park, is located in the forest.
Roaring Run Furnace is the only site on the National Register of Historic Places owned by the Jefferson National Forest. [4 ]
Flora and fauna [ edit ]
A split rail fence at the entrance to Sherando Lake
The Forests' vast and mountainous terrain harbors a great variety of plant life—over 50 species of trees and over 2,000 species of shrubs and
herbaceous plants. [5 ]
The Forests contain some 230,000 acres (930 km
2) of old growth forests, representing all of the major forest communities found within them. [6 ] Locations of old growth include Peters Mountain, [7 ] Mount Pleasant National Scenic Area, Rich Hole Wilderness, Flannery Ridge, Pick Breeches Ridge, and Laurel Fork Gorge, Pickem Mountain, and Mount Rogers National Recreation Area. The [8 ] Ramsey's Draft and Kimberling Creek Wildernesses in particular are mostly old-growth. [8 ] [9 ] [10 ]
black bear is relatively common, enough so that there is a short hunting season to prevent overpopulation. White-tailed deer, bobcat, bald eagles, weasel, otter, and marten are also known to inhabit the Forests.
Activities [ edit ]
The forests are popular
hiking, mountain biking, and hunting destinations. The Appalachian Trail extends for 330 miles (530 km) from the southern end of Shenandoah National Park through the forest and along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The forest is within a two-hour drive for over ten million people and thus receives large numbers of visitors, especially in the region closest to Shenandoah National Park.
The George Washington National Forest is a popular destination for
trail runners. It is the location for several Ultramarathons, including the Massanutten Mountain Trails 100 miler, the Old Dominion 100 miler, and the Old Dominion Memorial 100 miler. [11 ]
George Washington Forest is also the venue for
Nature Camp, a natural science education-oriented summer camp for youth. The camp is located on national forest land near the town of [12 ] Vesuvius, Virginia. It has operated at this location since the summer of 1953. [13 ]
Counties [ edit ]
Jefferson National Forest is located in 22 separate counties, more than any other National Forest except Mark Twain National Forest in Missouri, which lies in 29 counties. Note also that Botetourt, Monroe, and Rockbridge counties, at the dividing line between the two forests, include parts of both forests. Thirdly, note that the state of Kentucky actually has very little area, with its two counties bringing up the tail end of Jefferson National Forest.
George Washington National Forest
Jefferson National Forest
Total area of 1,064,176 acres (4,307 km
2) . [14 ] Total area of 726,757 acres (2,941 km
Alleghany County, Virginia 140,361
Amherst County, Virginia 57,236
Augusta County, Virginia 193,011
Bath County, Virginia 173,379
Botetourt County, Virginia 13,411
Frederick County, Virginia 5,054
Hampshire County, West Virginia 3,402
Hardy County, West Virginia 51,629
Highland County, Virginia 59,283
Monroe County, West Virginia 576
Nelson County, Virginia 20,015
Page County, Virginia 27,852
Pendleton County, West Virginia 50,757
Rockbridge County, Virginia 46,794
Rockingham County, Virginia 140,330
Shenandoah County, Virginia 75,349
Warren County, Virginia 5,737
Bedford County, Virginia 20,757
Bland County, Virginia 76,556
Botetourt County, Virginia 69,038
Carroll County, Virginia 7,145
Craig County, Virginia 117,336
Dickenson County, Virginia 8,836
Giles County, Virginia 64,656
Grayson County, Virginia 33,339
Lee County, Virginia 11,268
Letcher County, Kentucky 751
Monroe County, West Virginia 19,187
Montgomery County, Virginia 19,454
Pike County, Kentucky 127
Pulaski County, Virginia 19,239
Roanoke County, Virginia 3,290
Rockbridge County, Virginia 18,426
Scott County, Virginia 34,093
Smyth County, Virginia 75,259
Tazewell County, Virginia 10,340
Washington County, Virginia 22,514
Wise County, Virginia 36,732
Wythe County, Virginia 58,414
Ranger District Offices [ edit ]
Ranger offices are the Forest Service's public service offices. Maps and other information about the forests can be obtained at these locations. These offices are open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The Supervisor's Office in Roanoke is not located in the forest and is primarily an administrative location.
District offices are listed from north to south. Counties are in Virginia unless otherwise indicated.
Lee Ranger District
Edinburg, Virginia Frederick, Hampshire (WV), Hardy (WV), Page, Rockingham, Shenandoah, Warren
North River Ranger District
Harrisonburg, Virginia Augusta, Highland, Pendleton (WV), Rockingham
Warm Springs Ranger District
Hot Springs, Virginia Bath, Highland
James River Ranger District
Covington, Virginia Alleghany
Glenwood-Pedlar Ranger District
Natural Bridge Station, Virginia Amherst, Augusta, Bedford, Botetourt, Nelson, and Rockbridge
Eastern Divide Ranger District
Blacksburg, Virginia Bland, Botetourt, Craig, Giles, Monroe (WV), Montgomery, Pulaski, Roanoke, Smyth, Tazewell, Wythe
Clinch Ranger District
Norton, Virginia Dickenson, Lee, Letcher (KY), Pike (KY), Scott, Wise
Mount Rogers National Recreation Area
Marion, Virginia Carroll, Grayson, Smyth, Washington, Wythe
Wilderness areas [ edit ]
There are 139,461 acres (564 km
2) of federally designated [3 ] wilderness areas in the two forests under the United States National Wilderness Preservation System. All are in the state of Virginia, except as indicated. The largest of these is the Mountain Lake Wilderness, at 16,511 acres (67 km 2). There are 17 wildernesses in Jefferson National Forest, second only to Tongass National Forest, which has 19.
George Washington National Forest [ edit ]
Jefferson National Forest [ edit ]
History [ edit ]
The first camp of the
Civilian Conservation Corps NF-1, Camp Roosevelt, was established in the George Washington National Forest near Luray, Virginia. It is now the site of the Camp Roosevelt Recreation Area. [16 ] [17 ]
See also [ edit ]
References [ edit ]
Hall, William L. (July 1914). "To Remake The Appalachians: A New Order In The Mountains That is Founded On Forestry – What The Government's Appalachian Forests Mean To The People In The Mountains And To The Millions Who Want Recreation". (Doubleday, Page & Co.) The World's Work: A History of Our Time XLIV (2): 321–338 . Retrieved . 2009-08-04 Jefferson National Forest: An Appalachian Environmental History. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Pr., 2011.
Prehistoric Southwest Virginia: Aboriginal Occupation, Land Use, and Environmental Worldview, Smithfield Review 5 (April 2000): 125–151.
Turnpike Tourism in Western Virginia, Virginia Cavalcade 48:1 (Winter 1998): 14–23.
The Potts Valley Branch Railroad and Tri-State Incline Lumber Operation in West Virginia and Virginia, 1892–1932, West Virginia History 54 (1995): 42–58.
The Mount Rogers National Recreation Area and the Rise of Public Involvement in Forest Service Planning, Environmental History Review 28 (Summer 1994): 41–65.
An Appalachian Forest: Creation of the Jefferson National Forest and its effects on the local community, Forest and Conservation History 37:4 (October 1993): 169–178.
The Great Anti-Fire Campaign, American Forests, 99:5&6 (May/June 1993): 33–35, 58.
Green Cove Station: An Appalachian train depot and its community, Virginia Cavalcade, 42:2 (Autumn 1992): 52–61.
Fisheries and Wildlife Management: part of the history of the Jefferson National Forest, Virginia Forests, 48:2 (Summer 1992): 6–8.
External links [ edit ]
Life and homes
the United States