Virginia's Forests

Our State Forests

Welcome to Virginia's State Forests! The Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) manages 25 state forests totaling 69,441 acres.

The Virginia Department of Forestry has certified all of Virginia’s State Forests to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and American Tree Farm System standards. These certified forests cover more than 68,000 acres. Read More. I Tree Farm I SFI

Find a Virginia State Forest near you!

About the State Forest System

The State Forests of Virginia are self-supporting and receive no taxpayer funds for operation. Operating funds are generated from the sale of forest products. In addition, up to 25 percent of the revenue received from the sale of forest products is returned to the counties in which the forests are located. You can support educational programs on your State Forests by donating a portion of your state tax refund to Virginia’s State Forests Fund.

The formation of the State Forest System created a way for the commonwealth to:

The VDOF continues to acquire forest land, adding small interior holdings or adjoining land to align boundary lines.

Forest Management on State Forests

State Forests provide a working demonstration of forests and forest management techniques. The Virginia State Forest System follows these forest management guidelines:

  • Contribute to the conservation of biological diversity of the forest and the landscape in which it resides.
  • Maintain or improve the productive capacity of the forest.
  • Maintain the health and vigor of the forest, its landscape and its watershed.
  • Provide resources for cleaner air by absorbing carbon dioxide, known as carbon cycles.
  • Provide socioeconomic benefits.
  • Protect soil productivity and water quality.

Sustainability of State Forests

We are excited to announce that our state forests have now been certified through two independent third-party organizations, SFI Forest Management Standards and the American Tree Farm System, certifiying that we meet certain criteria of sustainability in our forest management practices.

Facts about Forests

National Forests and State Parks

Economic Benefits of the Forest Industry in Virginia

From the strong industrial base worth $25.4 billion in annual total economic output to a wide-ranging array of forest related values worth $5.1 billion annually, forests in Virginia are healthy and diverse.

Economic Benefits of Forestry to Virginia

Environmental Benefits of Forests in Virginia

Forests clean the air we breathe and prevent erosion and runoff from contaminating streams and lakes. Forests provide a full suite of goods and services that are vital to human health and livelihood, natural assets we call ecosystem services.

Last modified: Wednesday, 27-May-2020 15:30:45 EDT

Walking, Hiking and Boating
A State Forest Use Permit is not required for forest visitors who walk, hike or boat on a state forest.

Riding Bicycles and Riding Horses
On forests where these activities are allowed, a valid State Forest Use Permit is required for persons aged 16 years-old or older.

Hunting and Fishing
On forests where these activities are allowed, a valid State Forest Use Permit and valid hunting or fishing license are required for persons aged 16 years-old or older in accordance with state regulations.

State Forest Use Permits
Permits cost $16 USD and are valid for one year from date of purchase. Permits can be purchased two ways: