Seneca State Forest
Backstory and Context
West Virginia’s first state forest, Seneca State Forest is situated in Pocahontas County, WV along the Greenbrier River. The forest was named after the Seneca Trail that passes through Pocahontas County. However, it is notable that the trail bypassed the forest itself. The 12,884 acres of forest offers a plethora of activities for visitors like fishing, hunting, and hiking. A.D. Neill sold 10,847 acres to the West Virginia Game and Fish Commission in January of 1924. By 1938 Seneca State Forest offered access to roads, picnic areas, trails, eight cabins, camp sites, and a lake open to the public.
In addition to the recreational activities, the Civilian Conservation Corps was hard at work establishing the state’s first tree nursery at Seneca State Forest in 1928. The Raine Lumber Company possessed the timber rights of the land and continued logging until 1929. The idea behind the Civilian Conservation Corps was to put the nation’s unemployed workers to work on reforestation in areas that were notorious for logging expeditions. West Virginia flourished with 65 Civilian Conservation Corps camps that the state owes a lot of credit to for not only reforestation, but building fire towers, shelters, trails, telephone lines, etc. The Civilian Conservation Corps was also responsible for much of the recreational development done at Seneca State Forest.
Seneca State Forest has a fire tower that offers a bird’s eye view of the surrounding area. Constructed in 1924, the Thorny Mountain Fire Tower has been remodeled to allow visitors to even book overnight stays. Seneca State Forest also offers eight pioneer cabins that were first built in 1938. In addition to the tower and cabins, the forest has the first ever public campground in West Virginia constructed in 1928.
Seneca State Forest, West Virginia State Parks. Accessed March 31st 2020. https://wvstateparks.com/park/seneca-state-forest/.
Seneca State Forest, The West Virginia Encyclopedia. Accessed March 31st 2020. https://www.wvencyclopedia.org/articles/242.
Civilian Conservation Corps, The West Virginia Encyclopedia. Accessed March 31st 2020. https://www.wvencyclopedia.org/articles/1195.
West Virginia State Parks