Forestry in York County, Virginia
Peninsulas Work Area
serving the counties of Gloucester, Mathews, Middlesex and York.
Virginia Department of Forestry
7064 Ware House Road | Map and Directions to this office.
Gloucester, Virginia 23061
- York County website
- Acres of timberland: 32,849
- Percentage of total land in forest: 39%
- Acres of National Forest: 0
- Acres of privately owned timberland: 7,759
- Acres owned by forest industry: 0
- Acres owned by local, state and federal government: 21,090
- Acres of reserved timberland: 4000
Forestry in York County
Shortly after the first permanent English colony in America was established at nearby Jamestown in 1607 settlers began moving to York County. Established in 1634, York County was one of the original eight shires of colonial Virginia. The forests of York county were extremely important to these first residents. They used the forests not only for building materials and fuelwood but also as a place to gather herbs for medicine and nuts and berries for food. In addition the forests produced clear streams for drinking water and abundant wildlife.
These forests also supported the Continental Army under George Washington when he defeated the British at Yorktown in the last major battle of the American Revolution. Union and Confederate armies too found abundant supplies in the woods and waterways of York County during the "Peninsula Campaign of 1862."
Today, over 350 years after its establishment, the population of the York County has grown to 54,700 people. Due to development much of the county's remaining forests (64%) are found on government owned land. These government holdings consist of three military bases, the National Park Service property at Yorktown and watershed property owned by the city of Newport News. Most of the large tracts of privately owned forestland are found in the western end of the county.
Because of the increasing population and limited space; demands for development will increase real estate values. York County forestlands will continue to increase in value. Wooded areas are being sought by developers because homeowners naturally prefer the comfort and beauty of large healthy landscape trees around their homes. Trees growing where we live and work can be managed as a forest, much as trees growing in a more rural setting. These backyard forests still provide the benefits of erosion control, clean air and wildlife habitat not to mention their aesthetic qualities. One significant difference is that in a rural setting a few people affect the health of many acres whereas in an urban setting many people have an impact on just a few trees.
Much of York County now faces the challenge of caring for trees in an urban environment, however traditional forestry for timber production is still being carried out in areas of western York County and on some of the government land holdings. A healthy forest resource either rural or urban will return investment costs many times over and in many different ways. With proper management and conservation the forests of York County can remain a renewable and sustainable resource for the residents of York county and the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Last modified: Tuesday, 24-Jan-2017 11:23:12 EST