the 1999 Wilderness Society Report
Why Protect Wild Areas
Wildlands of the
Jefferson National Forest
What You Can Do to Help
People enjoy recreation
on the Jefferson National Forest in large part because of the natural
settings for hiking, hunting.
fishing, scenic driving, bird watching, nature study, and other pursuits.
For almost all the land on the Jefferson National Forest, the Forest
Service describes these settings as two general types:
Natural. These are lands within 1/2 mile of
roads. The area is largely natural-appearing, but may show signs of
logging and related road construction. Conventional motorized use typically
is allowed along roads. Most of the Jefferson National Forest, about
65% of its 715,000 acres, is roaded natural. Many such settings also
are found on extensive private lands in western Virginia.
These are lands further than 1/2 mile from roads. The area is predominantly
natural, offering opportunities
for solitude and backcountry experience. Where motorized use is not
allowed, the area is considered semi-primitive non-motorized. Where
motorized use is allowed, such as motorcycles on primitive trails,
the area is called semi-primitive motorized. In other respects, however,
the areas may be virtually identical. Less than 30% of the Jefferson
National Forest consists of lands with semi-primitive recreational
opportunities, with most of those dedicated to non-motorized uses.
These kinds of settings are found almost exclusively on federal lands
in western Virginia.
There are other categories in the recreational spectrum.
This forest offers opportunities for rural recreation in pastoral settings
in open fields, largely in the NRA. However, primitive recreation,
found in remote tracts 3 miles from roads, is unavailable, due to the
density of roads.