Lower Cowpasture Restoration and Management Project

Forest Service Shield

The Lower Cowpasture Restoration and Management Project is a collection of multiple forest management projects managed as one large landscape level project.  The emphasis for the Lower Cowpasture Restoration Project is watershed restoration including water quality improvement, vegetation restoration, recreation management, and native species protection and habitat improvement. 

The Forest Service will work collaboratively with the public and several partners to identify projects to incorporate into this project.  A series of public workshops, fieldtrips, and discussions will be held to identify projects that best meet the objectives of the Lower Cowpasture Restoration and Management Project, and the revised George Washington Forest Plan.

The project location is a diverse area with a wide range of natural resource opportunities.  The Forest Service is currently generating a list of projects to implement in the near and reasonably foreseeable future to help move toward the desired conditions identified in the Revised Forest Plan.  Public participation is strongly encouraged to discuss current projects, and to help identify additional projects for implementation.

Review the Project Documents

Project Area:  

The area is approximately 117,552 acres of which approximately 77,680 acres are National Forest System lands.  The project area is located within the Cowpasture River, Jackson River, and the Calfpasture River watersheds in Bath and Alleghany Counties.


A series of public workshop and field trips will be held to seek public involvement/participation in the planning process for the Lower Cowpasture Restoration and Management Project.  

Projects currently being implemented in the project area include:

  • Warm Springs Mountain Restoration (prescribed fire)
  • Mares Run Vegetation Management (timber management and wildlife improvements)
  • Wildfire rehab in the Rich Hole area

Potential Projects:

Fire:  This area is part of the larger Appalachian Fire Learning Network and includes the Warm Springs Mountain Restoration area.  There is an opportunity to expand the restoration area across this landscape in partnership with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and Douthat State Park.

Aquatic Passage:  Potential aquatic passage projects include Wilson creek dam removal and culvert replacements to allow fish passage.

Watershed Improvements:  Watershed improvement projects include repairing slope failures in Simpson Creek drainage along I-64 corridor. 

Wildlife:  Proposed wildlife habitat improvement projects include wildlife clearing and waterhole development.

Timber Management:  Potential timber management projects include timber harvesting and timber stand improvements.

Non-native Invasive Species:  Proposed projects include invasive plant management activities along forest system roads, in forested stands, and the Walton Tract.

Transportation:  Potential transportation management projects include maintenance of existing roads, decommissioning roads, blocking unauthorized roads, changing maintenance levels, and placing seasonal use restrictions on some roads.

Recreation/Wilderness:  Proposed projects include invasive plant management activities, developing better public access to Rough Mountain Wilderness, and construct/improve connector trail segments with Douthat State Park trails.