Virginia's Mountain Treasures is the fifth in The Wilderness Society's series of publications that identify and describe the unprotected wildlands of national forests in the Southern Appalachians. The previous reports are North Carolina's Mountain Treasures: The Unprotected Wildlands of the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests (1992); South Carolina's Mountain Treasures: The Unprotected Wildlands of the Andrew Pickens District of the Sumter National Forest (1993); Georgia's Mountain Treasures: The Unprotected Wildlands of the Chattachoochee National Forest (1995); and Tennessee's Mountain Treasures: The Unprotected Wildlands of the Cherokee National Forest (1996).
Virginia's Mountain Treasures was written and assembled by Shireen Parsons, treasurer of Appalachian Voices and past chair of Virginia's Sierra Club New River Group.
Shireen was aided by a network of knowledgeable forest activists. Sherman Bamford provided essential descriptions and maps of many areas, as well as the data for the summary table. Mark Wilbert, of The Wilderness Society's Center for Landscape Analysis, provided geographic information system (GIS) maps and data for the wildlands. Rob Messick produced the maps used in the report. Mike Dawson of the Appalachian Trail Conference contributed valuable information about trails and other recreational resources. Peter Kirby, former Southeast Regional Director of The Wilderness Society, provided overall guidance, advice, and key information.
Others who helped with review of area proposals and descriptions include Dick Austin, Taylor Barnhill, Chris Camuto, Hal Cantrill, David Carr, M. Rupert Cutler, Tom Davenport, the late Ernie Dickerman, Nancy Gilliam, Jay Kardan, Eileen McIlvane, Bess and Jim Murray, and Rosemarie Sawdon. Forest Service staff supplied data used throughout the book, reviewed the draft report, and made constructive suggestions. Information about wildlife, fisheries, and rare species was provided by Virginia's Natural Heritage Program and Kent Schwartzkopf, National Park Service natural resource specialist.
The report builds on an earlier Wilderness Society publication, Mountain Treasures at Risk:
The Future of the Southern Appalachian National Forests, (Jackson, 1989), which criticized Forest Service management plans for their excessive timbering and road-construction goals, and resulting damage to scenic beauty, biological diversity, backcountry recreation, clean water, and other natural values. In Sustaining Biodiversity in the Southern Applications (Boone and Aplet, 1994), The Wilderness Society further documented the scarcity of, and the ecological need to protect, large blocks of mature, unfragmented forest. They showed the many economic benefits that result from greater emphasis on recreation, wilderness, and biological diversity in Charting a New Course: National Forests in the Southern Appalachians (Morton, 1994). Together with the Southern Appalachian Forest Coalition, The Wilderness Society issued The Southern Appalachian Assessment: Highlights and Perspectives (1997), a summary of key findings about the region — and the need to change Forest Service management direction in response — drawn from a comprehensive, five-volume agency study.
The Wilderness Society's Southern Appalachian work is supported by the Lyndhurst Foundation, the Monah Fund, Alice and Fred Stanback, the Janirve Foundation, the Blumenthal Foundation, Recreational Equipment, Inc., and other foundations and individuals. Cosponsors of this report are listed on the inside back cover.
Founded in 1935, The Wilderness Society works to protect America's wilderness and to develop a nation-wide network of wild lands through public education, scientific analysis and advocacy. Our goal is to ensure that future generations will enjoy the clean air and water, wildlife, beauty and opportunities for recreation and renewal that pristine forests, rivers, deserts and mountains provide.