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 publically 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.
Continuing my professional journey at this historic place, the home of James Madison, is a tremendous honor. Madison restored himself on these lands before returning to the Herculean task of creating a new nation. I, too, feel restored in returning home to Virginia, to the rolling Piedmont hills, and to the red earth of Orange County.
The vision of forest sustainability, as imagined by James Madison at Montpelier, stood in contrast to the wanton resource extraction he observed in the early 1800s. Today, those same forests have not only recovered, they are sustainably managed and boast the Commonwealth of Virginia’s first smartphone tree ID trail.