Why Do Eastern National Forests Need to be Protected


The eastern national forests that include the Forest Service’s Region 8 (“Southern” Region) and Region  9 (“Eastern” Region) are the most geographically, ecologically, and socially diverse in the country. These regions contain 31 states with more than 25.8 million acres of National Forest lands. The Forest Service restoration of these eastern forests was spurred on by the devastating timbering of the turn of the last century and is a dramatic success story of resource conservation.

National Forests in the Eastern Region (Region 9), include forests in the states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.  National Forests in the Southern Region (Region 8) include forests in  Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. 

Nearly 112 million people visit these 31 national forests each year. Water-based recreation is especially popular in these forests, where the extraordinary number of lakes and streams provide settings for canoeing, trophy fishing, and water skiing

Region 9 is rich in water. More than 10,000 lakes (with nearly half on national forests), 15,000 miles of streams, and two million acres of wetlands provide clean drinking water for communities, healthy habitat for fish and wildlife, and recreation opportunities for millions of visitors. Almost half the nation's 45 million anglers fish the waters of the 20-state Eastern Region each year.

Each year, in the Southern Region (Region 8) over 6.5 million visitors come looking for trails.  Over a third of visitors walk, view wildlife and scenery, or just relax. Others come to hunt, fish, hike, or picnic. The forests offer places to swim, paddle and boat. You can hike, ride mountain bikes, or horses.