Forest to open to public

Published 10:45 am Thursday, March 31, 2022

The Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) has announced that the Charlotte State Forest (Charlotte SF), 5,005 acres located in Charlotte County, will open to the public for recreational use beginning April 1 – just in time for the beautiful spring recreation weather in Virginia.

Charlotte SF is an amazing property that VDOF manages for sustainable timber production, demonstration of scientific forest management, applied forest research, diverse wildlife habitat, watershed protection, biological diversity and passive outdoor recreation. Charlotte SF, like all Virginia’s state forests, is certified to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and American Tree Farm System (ATFS) standards ensuring that forestry is practiced in an environmentally responsible and socially beneficial manner.

Recreational uses of the Charlotte SF include hunting, fishing, trapping, hiking, mountain biking, trail running, horseback riding and wildlife watching. One of the highlights of the Charlotte SF is Roanoke Creek, which is a navigable waterway bordered by a large wetlands area with abundant wildlife, and suitable for fishing, hunting, canoeing and wildlife viewing.

A State Forest Use Permit is required for individuals aged 16 and older to hunt, fish, trap, horseback ride or mountain bike on state forest lands. The permit can be purchased online or where hunting licenses are sold.

VDOF recommends that all forest visitors wear blaze orange or pink during hunting seasons. Visitors are asked to adopt a “leave-no-trace” ethic when visiting the forest, as there are no restrooms or trash cans in the forest itself. The forest is restricted to foot traffic only and no motorized vehicles are allowed past forest gates. The boundary lines of the forest have been marked with yellow paint and VDOF asks that visitors respect the private property rights of neighbors and fellow forest users.

For horseback riding, be reminded that State law requires that visitors carry a copy of a negative Coggins test report with each horse on state lands.

Only non-motorized boats are allowed on state forest waterways for fishing and water recreation. Fishing is subject to state fishing regulations and license requirements, in addition to the State Forest Use Permit.

For hunting, Charlotte SF has numerous game species including deer, waterfowl, squirrels, rabbits and, of course, turkey. Hunters will need a valid Virginia hunting license and a State Forest Use Permit. Local Charlotte County regulations apply to hunting in the forest. Answers to specific questions on hunting laws and regulations can be found on the Department of Wildlife Resources website.

Before visiting any state forest, VDOF recommends viewing Before You Visit. Additional information can be found on the VDOF website. For specific questions about forest use or access, visitors can contact the local forest manager, Kirby Woolfolk, at (434) 995-8096 or Kirby.woolfolk@ dof.virginia.gov.