AFHA Forestry Sites Tour
The AFHA Forestry Sites Tour includes sites that interpret and offer a tangible representation of the history of forestry, forest management, or forest ecology.
The tour is currently hosted through Google Maps.
Most of the forests in the Appalachian Forest Heritage Area today are made up of second-growth stands that developed after the logging boom and subsequent deforestation of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Some areas exhibit mature forests that have been growing relatively undisturbed since this initial cutting; other areas have been harvested and actively managed since that time. Many today are ‘working forests,’ meaning that they are administered with the primary objective of providing a sustainable supply of wood products for the region’s industries and economy, while maintaining and enhancing the ecological functions of the forest. Land use may also include a variety of other purposes, such as wildlife management and protection or recreation. A small number of areas have ‘old growth’ sections, which have never been logged or otherwise strongly influenced by human interaction.
The overall character of the forest alters greatly as you travel across it. Oak and pine thrive in the dry lowland valleys and ridgelines east of the Allegheny Front. In the highlands to the west, northern hardwoods dominate, with spruce-fir forests thriving in the coldest and wettest environments. The forest transitions again as you move down towards central West Virginia into the mixed mesophytic forest, one of the most bio-diverse and valuable temperate forests in the world. This forestry tour highlights a variety of forest types throughout our area that contain noteworthy examples and interpretation of forest management. Several forests within the tour demonstrate examples of modern forestry practices, such as the Kindness Demonstration Area in Maryland and the Fernow Experimental Forest in West Virginia. Please remember that due to the dynamic nature of these places periodically sections of trails and roads will be closed for safety reasons as forest management and wildlife conservation activities are taking place. As you explore the Appalachian Forest Heritage Area, visit these sites and learn more about forest management.