Saunders 500-Year Forest

Sunshine 500-Year Forest

The Saunders Forest lies on an eastfacing slope of Willoughby Mountain and encompasses 480 acres of wooded mountain land and high pastures in northern Nelson County, Virginia. With its deeply undulating terrain, the property is dissected by numerous perennial and intermittent streams that feed into Dutch Creek, which soon empties into the Rockfish River.

Due to tremendous variations in elevation and aspect, the property supports a variety of timber types including chestnut oak and pine on dry western slopes, dense stands of yellow poplar in fertile coves and north faces, loblolly pine on old pastureland, and immature hardwoods on sites where a logging operation occurred over 30 years ago. Preservation of this extensive hardwood forest will add to the Very High and Outstanding Forest Conservation Value found on adjacent properties and create a largely unfragmented corridor of high-quality forestland with outstanding natural habitats and diversity, furthering Virginia’s goals of conserving both habitat and forest per the Conserve Virginia Model.

Limiting the timbering per the terms of the 500YFF Easement will enhance the protection of these natural resources by creating large interior core habitats, expanding connectivity with surrounding forest blocks, and improving streamwater quality and aquatic habitats by establishing riparian buffers that absorb chemical and nutrient loads from upland areas, filter sediment laden runoff, absorb floodwaters and allow them to release more slowly downstream, maintain even streamwater temperature, and provide a rich and diverse habitat of wetland species.

In the words of Victor and Steven Saunders: “The 500-Year Forest Foundation values related to the environment are consistent with our own values. Thanks to the 500-Year Forest Foundation for helping us protect our forest, and the work that they do to fight climate change by preserving mature forests that remove carbon from the atmosphere.”

500-Year Forest Foundation

PO Box 1272
Charlottesville, VA 22902