Explore Virginia's Wilderness Areas
Staying Safe on the Trails During the Coronavirus
Self-assess your own health
If you're not feeling well, or have any respiratory symptoms, don't expose others by going out.
Keep group size small
Groups should always be less than 10 when in Wilderness, but now go alone or with people you already live with.
Stay at least 6 feet apart
Both within your group and when meeting others on the trail.
Research and respect closures
Most trail and park restrictions will be prominently posted. If your walks take you to someplace that is closed, please respect the guidelines.
Avoid parks or trails that are crowded
Even if the area is officially open, if the parking lot is crowded, there are already too many people there. Turn around and find another location or go home. Not only does crowding make it impossible to follow social distancing, but it puts extra wear and tear on trails at a time when volunteer crews cannot be operating.
Don't take unnecessary risks
The current restrictions are in place in order to lessen the pressure on medical services. Be extra vigilant and avoid injury or the need for Search and Rescue right now -- their services are needed elsewhere.
Rich Hole & Rough Mountain Wilderness Additions Bill
In October 2017, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine introduced an important bill, co-sponsored by Senator Mark Warner, that was cause for celebration. The Virginia Wilderness Additions Act of 2017 called for designating an additional 5,600 acres of the George Washington (GW) National Forest as Wilderness. Those lands, which are already part of the GW, would be added to two existing Wilderness areas, expanding protections for this remarkable area to nearly 21,000 acres, located in the rugged territory in southeastern Bath County. The bill was wrapped up into the 2018 Farm Bill, but did not make it into the final piece of legislation.
In January 2019, Senator Kaine and Senator Warner re-introduced S.247 - Virginia Wilderness Additions Act of 2019; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry. In January 2020, the bill passes the Senate. See Senator Kaine's press release.
If you are interested in learning more about this bill, the Lower Cowpasture project, and the work we've done, along with many partners, over several years to make it happen, click here.
See Rich Hole & Rough Mountain Wilderness Additions Brochure.
Help protect Virginia's last remaining wild places!
Wilderness designation on federal lands assures that exceptional wildlife habitat, clean drinking water, clean air, and unique recreation will remain for future generations.