Old-Growth Forest Recognition
The James Madison Landmark Forest received recognition from the Old-Growth Forest Network. This organization, founded by Dr. Joan Maloof, seeks to identify one forest in each county of the United States that exemplifies a publicly accessible, mature, native forest. Montpelier’s old-growth forest, representing Orange County, is #7 in the Network which includes forests in Maryland, Virginia, Massachusetts, California, New York, Pennsylvania, and Hawaii. The work to compile a complete list of forests has just begun with this young organization, but will continue until their goal to represent every county has been reached.
This recognition celebrates the majestic forests that were this nation’s inheritance. Sadly, most of those early forests have been totally removed or radically altered. By locating the best examples of mature, native forests, the Old-Growth Forest Network works to educate people about the condition of our nation’s forests. Through the identification of publicly accessible sites, people are encouraged to visit the forests and experience what the local landscape would be like in an undisturbed condition.
The James Madison Landmark Forest is a wonderful representative for this county and country. The 200-acre tract has been designated as a National Natural Landmark Forest and is under an easement with the Nature Conservancy. A series of nature trails, open to the visiting public, allows access to one section of the Forest. Directional and informative signage as well as QR signs identifying selected trees can be found throughout the trail system. The trails rate easy to moderate and cover approximately 2 miles. Visitors to Montpelier are encouraged not only to tour the historic core of the property but to venture out on the nature trails for an amazing glimpse of spectacular stands of tulip trees, oaks and hickories.
Each season of the year provides a different taste of the Forest , from springtime wildflowers and newly budding leaves, to the lushness that comes with Virginia’s summer, to the changing autumn colors and falling leaves and, ultimately, to the peace and quietness of a wintery forest that is resting until the following spring.
Further information can be found on www.OldGrowthForest.Net.
Dr. Joan Maloof, right, and friends welcome the James Madison Landmark Forest to the Old-Growth Network.