In the national forests of the Southern Appalachians, there are still tracts of forested land that are largely wild and unroaded. Some of these are set aside as wilderness, the Appalachian Trail corridor, national recreation areas, and botanical and scenic areas. Others are in administrative management categories that currently are considered unsuitable for logging and road building. However, many important wildlands are still open to future timber cutting and related road construction.
This publication focuses on the unprotected wildlands of the Jefferson National Forest. Along with sponsoring groups, The Wilderness Society has identified 67 areas that need and deserve protection. Maps and descriptions are presented for each area. This report also briefly explains some of the values of wild areas, and discusses how wildlands in the Jefferson National Forest contribute to the overall health and beauty of the entire Southern Appalachian ecosystem.
These areas constitute some of the wildest and least-roaded tracts remaining in Virginia. Because a small part of the Jefferson National Forest extends into West Virginia, portions of three of the wildlands in this report are in that state. Some of the areas currently are protected by the Forest Service, and we recommend continued protection for these lands. For areas currently open to timber cutting and road building, we recommend protection from future logging operations.
In 1985, the Forest Service adopted a plan for management of the Jefferson National Forest that opened up much of its wild areas to logging and related road construction. The plan was challenged by a coalition of environmental groups, including the Citizens Task Force, Sierra Club, The Wilderness Society, Southern Environmental Law Center, and Trout Unlimited. The appeal was settled in 1987 in return for a deferral of timber sales in semi-primitive areas, a reduction in road construction and pine conversion, an annual public meeting, and other changes.
The Forest Service is now in the process of revising the plan for the Jefferson National Forest. Throughout the planning process, the Forest Service will be asking the public for their views on many issues affecting the forest. One of these issues will be to determine which areas should be open for future timber cutting and which areas should be off limits. The Forest Service also will consider possible wilderness recommendations for eligible lands.
We urge everyone to write to the Forest Service now and ask to be included in the Forest Plan Revision mailing list. You will receive a timely newsletter about the plan revision, with information about important meetings, new developments, and key contacts. This will ensure your opportunity to comment on the draft plan, expected to be issued next year.
To be on the plan revision mailing list, send a request with your name and address to:
For your convenience, a request card is included in this report. You may also call the Forest Service toll-free at (888)324-7383 or visit the agency's web site at www.fs.fed.us/r8/gwj for further information about the Jefferson plan revision.
To protect water quality, retain native plant and animal species, and provide recreational opportunities, we recommend that the wildlands in this book be protected in the revised plan from road construction and timber cutting.
National forests belong to all Americans. Protection of these mountain treasures in the Jefferson National Forest will affect the quality of life for those who live in and visit Virginia. The Wilderness Society urges you to be involved in the management of this forest, not only as an individual, but as a member of any of the groups cosponsoring this report. For your convenience, a postcard to Virginia Forest Watch is included to be put on the mailing list to help with Virginia's Mountain Treasures.