The Future of Our Forest

Wild Shenandoah
From Monitoring to Management: Evaluating the park’s forest status and regeneration trends to guide future management and protection

Project Title: From Monitoring to Management: The Future of Our Forest

Project Purpose: To complete the detailed data analyses and reporting required to link two decades of monitoring data with future management decisions. These data hold the key to understanding how park forests are changing and how park managers can best promote forest survival.

Project Goals:

  • to understand the overall integrity of Shenandoah’s forests in the wake of invasive species and climate change severely impacting the tree canopy over the last 20 years. 
  • to help park leadership make informed decisions about forest management.

Project Impact: Forests cover 97% of Shenandoah National Park. They are the foundation of the park’s ecological integrity and the matrix within which most plants and animals live. Changes in the forest have implications for the health and sustainability of plant species, the animals that depend on them, and the visitor experienceIn light of stressors such as climate change, invasive plants, and exotic insect pests, a quantitative assessment of park-wide trends in tree mortality and regeneration is needed. It is critical to have a science-based understanding of the current health of the forest so that park managers can implement adaptive management effectively and make strong decisions to ensure forest protectionSharing trends in forest tree mortality and regeneration will increase understanding of park conditions and educate park staff and visitors about forest integrity, how this connects to natural and human-caused stressors, and what we can do about it. 

Project Funding: $42, 600 in FY24 and $10,400 in FY25

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Help us keep bears wild!

Keeping bears wild starts with keeping them away from human food sources. The most effective way to do that is through bear-proof storage lockers, or “bear boxes.” Right now, only 63% of the park’s campsites have a bear box at the site, leaving nearly 140 campsites without safe food storage. The Trust has committed to making that 100% by funding the purchase and installation of these boxes at every single campsite in Shenandoah National Park. 

A black bear peeks around a tree.   

Each box comes with a $2,000 price tag, and the Trust has set a goal of raising $280,000 to purchase and install the remaining 138 boxes, ensuring that visitors stay safe, and bears stay wild.