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U.S. Forest Service, George Washington National Forest, Dry River District records

Identifier: SC 0083
  • Not requestable

  • Staff Only

Scope and Content

The U.S. Forest Service, George Washington National Forest, Dry River District Records, 1917-1994, consist of two boxes, 1 flat file, and 1 rolled storage container. Most file materials concern the Dry River District, which currently incorporates 227,000 acres on both sides of Shenandoah Mountain from State Route 259 in the north to Lookout Mountain and State Route 728 in the south, although locations in some other districts are mentioned. Most materials concern the fire-fighting activities undertaken by employees of Shenandoah National Forest, the predecessor name for the George Washington National Forest. Fighting forest arson, prevalent during the first half of the twentieth century, was at that time one of the U.S. Forest Service's foremost goals. The collection also includes some items relevant to recreational and historical topics.


  • Creation: 1917-1994

Access Restrictions

Collection is open to research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the James Madison University Special Collections Library to use this collection.

Use Restrictions

The copyright interests in this collection have been transferred to the James Madison University Special Collections Library. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library Reference Desk (

Administrative History

The George Washington National Forest was created after the enactment of the 1891 Forest Reserve Act, which was brought in front of Congress in response to the extensive damage done to the Shenandoah Valley by farming, timber, mining, hunting, and natural devastation. In 1911, the Weeks Act passed, which allowed the federal government to purchase land to be used for preservation. In 1917, three plots of purchased land in Virginia were combined to create the Shenandoah National Forest, later renamed the George Washington National Forest. The first ever Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp, Camp Roosevelt, was established in the George Washington National Forest, and began work on constructing the roads, campgrounds, fire towers and more. A total of 14 camps were eventually opened in the forest. The 1960 Multiple-use Sustained-Yield Act and the 1973 Threatened and Endangered Species helped the animal and plant population thrive in the forest, and help it to become the popular recreational hotspot it is today.


3 cubic feet (2 boxes, 1 flat file, and 1 rolled storage container)

Language of Materials



This collection consists of photographs, memos, letters, pamphlets, maps, and other materials dating from 1917-1994 that relate to the George Washington National Forest, Dry River District. Most of the materials concern fire-fighting activities within the Forest, while others relate to the activities of the Civilian Conservation Corps and recreation within national forest lands.


The collection is arranged topically in two boxes, one flat file, and one rolled storage container.

Acquisition Information

Donated in February 1998 by District Ranger Stephen Parsons.


  • USDA Forest Service, George Washington and Jefferson National Forest.

Processing Information

During initial processing, photographs were removed from box:folders 2:1-2:3 and grouped into the folder Miscellaneous Photographs. In order to streamline the process of applying collection numbers, Special Collections staff completed a large-scale renumbering campaign in the spring of 2017. This collection was previously cataloged as SC 3014.

A Guide to the U.S. Forest Service, George Washington National Forest, Dry River District Records, 1917-1994
Chris Bolgiano
March 1998
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2017: Collection renumbered.
  • 2020-04-01: Minor revisions to finding aid.

Repository Details

Part of the James Madison University Libraries Special Collections Repository

820 Madison Drive
MSC 1706
Harrisonburg Virginia 22807
(540) 568-3612