Charlotte State Forest

 

Overview

The Charlotte State Forest (Charlotte SF) is 5,005 acres (2,531 acres acquired in late 2020 as phase 1 and 2,474 acres acquired in 2021 as phase 2) in Charlotte County. It is managed for sustainable timber production, demonstration of scientific forest management, applied forest research, diverse wildlife habitat, watershed protection, biological diversity, and passive outdoor recreation.

Roanoke Creek and Wards Fork Creek flow unimpeded into the property and converge near the tract’s geographic center. Roanoke Creek traverses the property with a large wetlands area bordering the creek for the entire length of the property from North to South.

Charlotte State Forest holds an abundance of natural features, such as numerous waterways, good soils, diverse tree species, and aesthetically pleasing atmosphere; all of which will make the forest an exceptional forest for public use, wildlife, research, and timber production.

Approximately 800 acres of forested wetland provide unparalleled waterfowl habitat and its five miles of Roanoke and Wards Fork Creeks provide habitat for Virginia-threatened Carolina darter while protecting water quality flowing into the US Army Corps of Engineer’s John H. Kerr Dam/Reservoir that supplies drinking water for more than 500,000 Virginia and North Carolina residents. Bald eagles are often seen patrolling the wetland areas.

For your safety, please keep out of buildings and structures on the property.

×To ensure your safety and enjoyment, please read Before You Visit when planning your trip to a state forest.

At a Glance

Access Status: Open to the Public
Hours: Open daily from dawn until dusk

Physical Address:
Latitude/Longitude:
36° 59’ 6″, -78° 37’ 43″
3 miles West of Drakes Branch, VA

Parking/Access: Access from Saxkey Road. Parking available inside the Saxkey Road entrance.

Restroom Facilities: None

Visitors are asked to adopt a “leave-no-trace” ethic when visiting the forest, as there are no restrooms or trash cans on the forest itself. ​ ​

Other Facilities: None

Seasonal Closures: None

VDOF recommends that all forest visitors wear blaze orange or pink during hunting seasons.

Forest History

In 1938, David K. E. Bruce of Staunton Hill in Charlotte County assembled the original 4,158 contiguous acres of land and approximately half of that was from an organization called “The Greenwood Game Preserve, Inc.”  After the purchase, the entire property was referred to as the Greenwood Game Preserve and is still referred to that way by many locals.

The property was later owned by Stanley Land and Lumber Corporation which was founded in 1946 by Congressman Thomas B. Stanley. Congressman Stanley would later become the 57th Governor of Virginia. The forested properties of Stanley Land and Lumber were purchased in 2019 by The Conservation Fund, and in 2020, a portion (2,531 acres) of the properties were sold to the Commonwealth of Virginia – Department of Forestry for what would become the Charlotte State Forest – Virginia’s 26th state forest. A second purchase (2,474 acres) by the Commonwealth was completed in late 2021 bringing the Charlotte State Forest to its current 5,005 acres.

The property has been historically managed for timber, wildlife, and recreation since its acquisition. Another interesting feature of the property is that Native Americans have used the Wards Fork and Roanoke Creek Drainages as hunting destinations for several millennia – especially hunter gathers of The Archaic Period.

Forest Management

Forest types include bottomland hardwoods, upland hardwoods, and loblolly pine plantations. A State Forest Management Plan will be developed for the property, which will include recommendations for timber stand development, timber harvesting, wildlife habitat development, recreational development, water quality protection, and research.

Charlotte State Forest will be sustainably managed under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and American Tree Farm Standards (ATFS).

Recreational Opportunities
Recreational uses of the Charlotte State Forest 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.

At a Glance

Visitors are asked to adopt a “leave-no-trace” ethic when visiting the forest, as there are no restrooms or trash cans on the forest itself.

ATV/ORV use, camping, and swimming are prohibited on all State Forests.

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.

Trails and Roads

  • Minimal forest roads (vehicles allowed)
  • No driving past forest gates.

Hiking

Hiking is permitted on all forest roads and trails.

Mountain Biking

Mountain biking is permitted on forest roads.

Horseback Riding

Horseback riding is permitted on forest roads.

State law requires that visitors carry a copy of a negative Coggins test report with each horse on state lands.

Fishing and Boating

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

Hunting and Trapping

Hunting and trapping is permitted with a valid State Forest Use Permit and valid hunting license in accordance with state regulations, and Charlotte County firearms regulations. Note that some regulations may be different than on private land, so check Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources Hunting Regulations for specific state forest details.

Game species include deer, turkey, waterfowl, squirrel, and rabbits.

Waterfowl hunting is limited to Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday only.

Other Recreational Opportunities

Other passive recreational opportunities, such as wildlife watching and nature photography, are available.

Educational Opportunities
  • Self-learning opportunities are available.

Tours of forest management activities for university and college classes and other organized groups can be arranged upon request.

Contact Us
For more information or questions, e-mail us or use our contact form.

State Forest Main Office
Located at Cumberland State Forest
751 Oak Hill Road, Cumberland, VA 23040-2511
E-mail | (804) 492-4121

Local Virginia Department of Forestry Contact
Kirby Woolfolk, Forester
751 Oak Hill Road, Cumberland, VA 23040-2511
E-mail | (434)995-8096

Maps and Additional Resources
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Charlotte State Forest - General Map
Charlotte State Forest – General Map

General map of Charlotte State Forest. To ensure your safety and enjoyment, please read Before You Visit when planning your trip to a state forest. Download or print this state forest map – many state forests are remote with limited cell phone service. These maps will work with Avenza Maps™, a mobile map app that allows you to track your movements offline on your iOS and Android device without the need for cell service or internet connection. A free version of this app can be downloaded to your device through your app store.

Viewstate-forestsmap
Charlotte State Forest - Hunting Map
Charlotte State Forest – Hunting Map

Hunting map of Charlotte State Forest. To ensure your safety and enjoyment, please read Before You Visit when planning your trip to a state forest. Download or print this state forest map – many state forests are remote with limited cell phone service. These maps will work with Avenza Maps™, a mobile map app that allows you to track your movements offline on your iOS and Android device without the need for cell service or internet connection. A free version of this app can be downloaded to your device through your app store.

Viewstate-forestsmap

Charlotte State Forest