The state forests of Virginia are governed by rules established in Chapter 30 from the Code of Virginia. Please review these regulations prior to visiting a state forest.
To ensure your safety, read our state forest regulations before visiting a forest.
The following words and terms, when used in this chapter, shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
“Department” means the Department of Forestry.
“Forest or forests” means all state-owned lands designated as a state forest, including therein all sites, roadways, game food patches, ponds, lakes, streams, rivers, beaches, and recreational areas, together with recreational areas, beaches and lakes assigned to the Department of Forestry, for use, development and administration.
“Forest Superintendent” means the individual designated the Forest Superintendent by the department or any assistant or assistants the Forest Superintendent may authorize to act for him.
“Owner” means any person, firm, association, co-partnership or corporation owning, leasing or having the extensive use of a sawmill, chipper, debarker or any machinery for use in harvesting forest products, vehicle, animal or any other property under a lease or otherwise.
“Parking area” means any area on a forest designated for parking of motor vehicles of all types, clearly marked on the ground and so indicated by signs.
“Permits” means any written license issued by or under authority of the department, permitting the performance of a specified act or acts. Such permits may be purchased from a limited number of designated agents located within the general area of the forests.
“Person” means any natural person, corporation, company, association, joint stock association, firm or co-partnership.
“Regulation” means any regulation adopted by the Department of Forestry.
“Road” means any road, logging road, trail or path used in the harvesting and movement of forest products, hunting or recreation, irrespective of the state of maintenance.
“Timber sale” means any written signed agreement wherein the State Forester agrees to sell and the purchaser agrees to purchase any designated forest products for a mutually agreed price per unit or lot.
In the interpretation of Virginia State Forests Regulations, their provisions shall be construed as follows:
All Virginia State Forests Regulations shall be effective within and upon all state forests, roads, sites, ponds, lakes, streams, rivers, beaches, food patches, and recreational areas in the Commonwealth which may be under the jurisdiction of the department and shall regulate the use thereof by all persons. Areas designated by the department as state forests are: Appomattox-Buckingham in Appomattox and Buckingham Counties; Bourassa in Bedford County; Browne in Essex and King and Queen Counties; Channels State Forest in Washington and Russell Counties, Chilton Woods in Lancaster County; Conway Robinson in Prince William County; Crawfords in New Kent County; Cumberland in Cumberland County; Devil’s Backbone in Shenandoah County; Dragon Run in King and Queen County; Hawks in Carroll County; Lesesne in Nelson County; Matthews in Grayson County; Niday Place in Craig County; Paul in Rockingham County; Prince Edward-Gallion in Prince Edward County; Sandy Point in King William County; Whitney in Fauquier County; and Zoar in King William County, together with such other areas as the department may from time to time designate.
A permit to do any act shall authorize the same only insofar as it may be performed in strict accordance with the terms and conditions thereof. Any violation by its holder or his agents or employees of any term or condition thereof shall constitute grounds for its revocation by the department, or by its authorized representative. In case of revocation of any permit, all moneys paid for or on account thereof shall, at the option of the department, be forfeited to and be retained by it; and the holder of such permit, together with his agents and employees who violated such terms and conditions, shall be jointly and severally liable to the department for all damages and loss suffered by it in excess of money so forfeited and retained; but neither such forfeiture and retention by the department of the whole or any part of such moneys nor the recovery or collection thereby of such damages, or both, shall in any manner relieve such person or persons from liability to punishment for any violation of any provision of any Virginia State Forests Regulation. A state forest hunting permit will be required to hunt or trap on any state forest or portion thereof on which hunting and trapping is permitted.
No person shall remove, destroy, cut down, scar, mutilate, injure, take or gather in any manner any flower, fern, shrub, rock or other plant or mineral in any forest, except only for botanical or mineral rock collection and then only with approval of the Forest Superintendent.
No person shall in any manner injure, deface, disturb, destroy, or disfigure any part of any forest, nor any building, sign, equipment or other property found therein.
No person shall deposit in any part of any forest any garbage, sewerage, refuse, waste, fruit, vegetables, foodstuffs, boxes, tin cans, paper, or other litter or other waste material or obnoxious material, except in containers designed for such purposes, or on areas designated by and under conditions specified by the Forest Superintendent.
No person shall in the streams, lakes, or other waters of any forest violate any statute of the Virginia Code relating to the pollution of said waters.
No person, while in any forest, shall disobey a lawful order of a Virginia Forest Superintendent, caretaker, ranger, patrolman or other forest officer; nor commit a nuisance, nor use abusive, profane, or insulting language; nor unreasonably disturb or annoy others; be under the influence of intoxicants or unlawful drugs; do any act tending to or amounting to a breach of the peace nor conduct himself in any disorderly manner whatsoever.
Gambling in any forest is prohibited and no person shall bring into the forest or have in his possession while there, any implement or device commonly used, or intended for gambling purposes.
No person shall become intoxicated, or be under the influence of intoxicants or unlawful drugs, in public while within the confines of any forest. Public display or use of beer, wine, whiskey or other intoxicating liquor, beverage or unlawful drugs, or the containers thereof is prohibited.
No person shall make, use or gain admittance to, or attempt to use or gain admittance to the facilities in any forest for the use of which a charge is made by the department unless he shall pay the charge or price fixed by the department.
Picnicking is allowed only in the areas designated as picnic areas.
No camp, either temporary or permanent, shall be maintained in any forest except under permit, and at such places and for such periods as may be designated by the Forest Superintendent.
No person shall bathe, wade, or swim in any waters in a forest except at such times, and in places as the Forest Superintendent may designate as bathing areas, and unless so covered with a bathing suit as to prevent any indecent exposure of the person.
Dressing and undressing, except in bathhouses, tents, trailers, motor homes, campers or vacation cabins, is prohibited.
No person shall bring into or have in any forest any explosive or explosive substance, except commercial sporting firearms ammunition; explosives, explosive substances and firearms of all types are prohibited in any portion of a forest assigned to the Department of Forestry, for administration as a recreational area.
In any forest, no person shall kindle, build, maintain, or use a fire other than in places provided or designated for such purposes except by special permit. Any fire shall be continuously under the care and direction of a competent person over 16 years of age from the time it is kindled until it is extinguished. No person within the confines of any forest shall throw away or discard any lighted match, cigarette, cigar, or other burning object. Any lighted match, cigarette, cigar, or other burning object must be entirely extinguished before being thrown away or discarded. All forest fire laws must be complied with.
No person shall smoke in any structure or place in any forest where smoking is prohibited. Smoking may be forbidden by the department or its authorized agent in any part of any forest when it is deemed the fire hazard makes such action advisable.
No person within the confines of any forest, shall hunt, trap, shoot, injure, kill or molest in any way any bird or animal, nor shall any person have in his possession any bird or animal, dead or alive, within the forest except any bird or animal designated as a game bird or animal by the Virginia Board of Game and Inland Fisheries, and the trapping of, hunting of, shooting at, or possession of any such bird or animal is prohibited except during the lawful hunting season set for the forest or portion thereof by the Virginia Board of Game and Inland Fisheries and only in those forests or portion thereof designated by the Forest Superintendent as lawful hunting areas. A state forest hunting permit will be required. All provisions of the Virginia Code concerning hunting must be complied with.
Fishing is permitted in designated areas in each forest, the only stipulation being that persons fishing must have a state fishing license and comply with the Virginia Game and Inland Fisheries rules and regulations.
Use of boats on ponds, lakes or streams within forest areas assigned to the administration of the Department of Forestry in addition to other regulations of other state agencies, must comply with the rules and regulations of the Department.
No person shall cause or permit any animal owned by him, in his custody, or under his control, except those animals of a resident employee and then only in the general area around the employee's residence, and except a dog restrained by a leash not exceeding six feet in length, to enter any forest, and each such animal found at large may be seized and disposed of as provided by the law or ordinance covering disposal of stray animals on highways or public property then in effect at the place when such animals may be seized, except during the lawful hunting season in effect in the particular forest or portion thereof.
In any forest, no games or athletic contests shall be allowed except in such places as may be designated thereof.
No person shall drive a vehicle in any forest on any road during any period where there is a sign or signs erected on or along the particular road indicating that any such road is closed to vehicular traffic.
In any forest, no person or persons shall cause or permit a vehicle or vehicles to obstruct traffic on any road by unnecessary stopping, or to prevent or obstruct by any means the free use by others of any road.
Rate of vehicular speed in any forest in excess of the rate as posted by the Virginia Department of Transportation or Forest Superintendent is prohibited.
Every car driven through any forest or parked in any parking space in any forest shall have the interior thereof open to full view at all times.
No person shall operate an excessively loaded vehicle on any forest road. The determination of whether a load is excessive will be made by the Forest Superintendent and will be based upon the load and the condition of the road. In the exercise of his professional judgment, the Forest Superintendent may at any time close to use any forest road.
No person shall, in any forest, without a permit, sell or offer for sale, hire, lease or let out, any object or merchandise, property, privilege, service or any other thing, or engage in any business or erect any building, booth, tent, stall or any other structure whatsoever. No person to whom any property of any forest by authorized permit has been entrusted for personal use shall hire, lease, let out or sell, the same to any other person.
No sign, notice, or advertisements of any nature shall be erected or posted at any place within any forest without permission in writing from the Forest Superintendent; nor shall any musical instrument, radio, talking machine, or drum be operated or any noise be made for the purpose of attracting attention to any exhibition of any kind.
No person shall in any forest erect any structure, stand, or platform, hold any meeting, or exhibition, perform any ceremony, make any speech, or address except by permit from the Forest Superintendent.
No person shall within any forest solicit alms or contributions for any purpose.
No person shall voluntarily bring, land or cause to descend or alight within or upon any forest, any aeroplane, flying machine, balloon, parachute or other apparatus for aviation except under permit. “Voluntarily” in this connection shall mean anything other than a forced landing.
From time to time, forest products may be sold from forest land under conditions determined by the department and in accordance with law.
Last modified: Wednesday, 12-Mar-2014 12:46:47 EDT