Except for farming
activities the forests of West Virginia remained intact
until the turn of the twentieth century. If you have ever
traveled through virgin redwoods or sequoias in California,
then you have an appreciation of the splendor of West
Virginia's native forests, albeit on a smaller scale.
The primeval forest
massive oak, walnut, some chestnut, and sycamore trees with
common diameters of six to seven feet.The largest recorded
felled tree was a white oak in Tucker County measuring 13
½ feet in diameter.
Today it is easy to forget
that the western portion of colonial Virginia was a rugged,
unpopulated, essentially roadless, and seemingly endless
frontier rich in animals (including bison), plants, aquatic
life, and massive ancient trees. As a young man George
Washington was a surveyor who explored the land that was
to become West Virginia, for it was the western frontier.
Indeed, his descendants still own land in what is now West
Last updated on Monday, July 24, 2000