National Forest Foundation

Partnerships on the Monongahela

Forest Restoration and Sustainable Recreation

Monongahela Restoration and Sustainable Recreation

Located within a day’s drive for 96 million people, the Monongahela NF plays a central role in connecting America’s citizens to the natural world. Countless recreational opportunities await: from exploring some of the remotest peaks, wildest rivers and primeval forests on the East Coast to drives along the Highland Scenic Highway.

A Unique Landscape

The forests of the Central Appalachians provide water for millions of people living downstream on both sides of the Eastern Continental Divide. The proposed project area of focus for National Forest Foundation’s effort on this site encompasses parts of six watersheds that form the headwaters of the Ohio and Potomac rivers. 

The phrase, “Where the Rivers Begin” highlights the significant role the Forest serves as a source of surface drinking water for millions of residents.

The Monongahela National Forest forms the core of the Central Appalachian landscape. This rugged landscape serves as the ecological crossroads for a unique array of species. The list includes:

  • a number of Appalachian endemics
  • more than 240 species of birds,
  • 78 species of fish,
  • over 70 tree species,
  • dozens of rare plants, and
  • a broad assemblage of reptiles, amphibians and mammals. 
Dolly Sods Wilderness Area

At the highest elevations, the red-spruce-dominated forests provide habitat for 240 rare plants and animal species, many of them separated populations of species found much farther north.

As population and visitation has increased, there is added pressure on the Forest to provide clean water and recreation from a healthy forest landscape. Over time, human activities on the watershed and severe weather events from climate change have compromised the health of the Forest and lessened forest resiliency.

Working Together to Face the Challenges

The Monongahela National Forest has an extremely dynamic recreation and landscape-scale restoration program focused on using collaboration to maximize results on-the-ground. When the NFF works with local partners to accomplish our goals, we add long-lasting, local, stewardship capacity for these public lands.

In response to the growing restoration and recreation needs, and in coordination with the Forest Service and local nonprofit partners, the National Forest Foundation (NFF) will focus our efforts on increasing on-the-ground progress and increased capacity for hands-on stewardship. Our projects will:

  • restore the forest health,
  • protect this vital water resource and
  • continue to provide the ecologically-sustainable recreation opportunities that the Monongahela National Forest is famous for.