Wilderness Society Report
The information contained
in these web pages was originally
issued as a report in 1999 by the Wilderness Society. The report
is entitled Virginia's
Mountain Treasures, The Unprotected Wildlands of the Jefferson National
Forest. Written by Shireen Parsons for The Wilderness Society,
the report is copyrighted by The Wilderness Society and reproduced
current status of these lands can be found
by checking web sites listed on the links
The Wilderness Society
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.
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 is dedicated to the life and
memory of Ernie Dickerman.
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
Why Protect Wild Areas?
In the United States, the practice of setting aside selected lands
to remain in a primitive, undeveloped condition dates back more than
a century. It is recognized that wildlands provide important benefits
for people. Yet, how does one measure the joy of exploring an old-growth
forest to see how nature works over time? How valuable is the experience
of fishing for native brook trout in a pristine river, or camping deep
in the woods where the sights, sounds, and smells are only those of
The Southern Appalachian Ecosystem
The Jefferson National
Forest comprises 715,000 acres of mountainous forestland in southwestern
Virginia and Kentucky.
It is part of the Southern Appalachian ecosystem, which contains millions
of acres of federal public land stretching from Virginia to Alabama.
It is the largest concentration of public lands in the eastern United
States. In addition to the national forests, the ecosystem includes the
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, and Shenandoah
Wildlands of the Jefferson National ForestMore>>
The wildlands in this report —67 areas totaling about 275,000
acres — are special places that should be protected from logging
and road construction. These federally owned lands, selected for
their outstanding wild and natural values, include high-quality fisheries,
mature-forest wildlife habitat, backcountry recreation opportunities,
intact water sheds, and beautiful scenery.
An opportunity is at hand to preserve some of the last remaining wild
places in Virginia's Jefferson National Forest. Over the next two years,
the Forest Service plans to issue a draft management plan for public
comment and, after review of those comments, adopt a long-range plan
for the forest that will guide its management for 10 to 15 years.
Protection of the areas described in Virginia's Mountain Treasures must
be a cornerstone of this upcoming plan.
The areas highlighted in this report are highly valued
wildlands that merit and need protection. The Wilderness Society and
the cosponsoring groups recommend the following:
What You Can Do to Help
Strong citizen support is needed to protect these
mountain treasures. You can help in the following ways:
These groups are co-sponsors of this report.
Please contact them for further information.