Roots of our National Forests

The Roots of Protection and Restoration in the Southern Appalachians

The roots of the protection and restoration effort in the Southern Appalachians extends back 100 years. At that time destructive logging was already beginning to take its toll. A series of devastating floods that came in the wake of over-cut watersheds and devastating wildfires that started in the slash left from large clearcuts raised the alarm of regional and national leaders.

A few visionary leaders saw the need to save forests that had not been devastated by destructive logging and to recover watersheds in the region. This effort resulted in a movement that established national forests in the east.   In 1902 the Wilson Report was released by the Secretary of Agriculture.   This report detailed the conditions and problems of the Southern Appalachian Forest.   As a result of this report our eastern National Forests were established in 1911, along with the establishment of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (1934), and the Shenandoah National Park (1935). Current conservation efforts and planning is a continuation and completion of the effort begun a century ago by these ancestors of vision.