‘First Mountain’ Is Virginia’s Newest State Forest

“For a century, Virginians have benefitted from healthy and resilient forests, and I am delighted to announce our newest state forest, First Mountain, which will continue the legacy of sustainable forest management in our Commonwealth.” -Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, October 7, 2019

In 2018 Virginia added a new state park to her portfolio when Natural Bridge was acquired. In 2019 the Commonwealth has a new state forest.

Earlier this month Governor Ralph Northam attended a dedication for First Mountain State Forest located in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley.

The former Boones Run Farm, owned by generations by the Dofflemyer family, is located near Massanutten Resort. The 573-acre tract brings Virginia’s state forest total to 25 and commemorats the 100th anniversary of the Commonwealth’s state forest system.

A quick list of facts concerning this latest outdoor playground:

  • Made up of 573 acres of hardwood and pine trees, and open fields located on the southeast slopes of First Mountain
  • Adjacent to George Washington National Forest
  • More than 21,700 feet of stream frontage
  • Located off Bryant Hollow Road northwest of Elkton
  • Property was formerly a tree farm
  • Assessed value $1.03 million; land value $2 million
  • 70% of purchase funding came from DuPont-Waynesboro Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration*
  • 19% of purchase funding came from VDOF
  • 11% of purchase funding came from the Dofflemyer family
  • First Mountain State Forest has magnificent views of the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains
  • Diverse flora and fauna on property
  • The upper reaches of Boone’s Run are a designated Class II wild trout stream where brook trout are present
  • 43,422 feet of vegetated buffers
  • Expected to provide improved water quality and help with health of Chesapeake Bay
  • Provides recreation and tourism opportunities

The state forests of Virginia are self-supporting and receive no taxpayer funds for operation. Operating funds are generated from the sale of forest products. In addition, up to 25 percent of the revenue received from the sale of forest products is returned to the counties in which the forests are located. Virginians can support educational programs on state forests by donating a portion of their state tax refund to Virginia’s State Forests Fund.

The Virginia Department of Forestry protects and develops healthy, sustainable forest resources for Virginians. With nearly 16 million acres of forestland and more than 108,000 Virginians employed in forestry, forest products and related industries, Virginia forests provide an overall economic output of more than $21 billion annually. Headquartered in Charlottesville, the agency has forestry staff members assigned to every county to provide citizen service and public safety protection across the Commonwealth.

The Governor’s full press release can be found here.

*Mercury from industrial activities at a former E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (DuPont) facility in Waynesboro, Virginia, contaminated the South River and South Fork Shenandoah River, impacting fish, wildlife, and their habitats. Recreational fishing opportunities were also impacted from the mercury contamination, due to the fish consumption advisories on the South River and South Fork Shenandoah River (SFSR). The property was purchased from the Dofflemyer family through funding from the DuPont natural resource damages and restoration settlement and was identified as a land protection project. The settlement, which is administered by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is valued at about $50 million.