Field Notes: What’s In The Woods Today? July 23, 2019

August 6, 2019 6:03 pm

Field Notes: What's In The Woods Today? July 23, 2019

By Area Forester Lisa Deaton

Country Roads

The last few generations of trees have literally grown over top of numerous changes in our transportation network. Sometimes what looks like a wide trail or ditch is actually a road to an old homestead, as in the photo below.


Sometimes the old roads follow property line boundaries (below).

prop line road

Sometimes, we come across former logging roads (below). This can simplify preparations for the next timber harvest, because finding the best spot for a logging road can be time consuming.

Watkins bridge old road

Other times, we encounter former county roads. The road below used to be the main route across the Dragon Run from Gloucester County to Middlesex County, close to the present location of the Route 17 river crossing. The next antique photo shows the same location and bridge around 1910.

Dragon Bridge

Dragon Bridge 1910

The next photo is in Fairfax County, with a red dot at the present location of Falls Church High School.

FCHS 1937

Today, the same piece of land looks like this:

FCHS today

So, while trees grow over old roads in some areas of Virginia, other trees are cleared in our more populated areas to make way for new roads. Either way, there has been a considerable amount of change in just 80 years.

A year ago, Bloomberg published this synopsis of “How America Uses Its Land:”