Now a treasure, Monongahela Forest was a wasteland when created 100 years ago

Stretching across 921,000 acres in 10 West Virginia counties, the Monongahela National Forest encompasses the state’s highest peaks, cleanest streams, largest expanses of forest and most remote tracts of wilderness.

Now the second-largest national forest in the Eastern United States, the Mon draws visitors from across the region to hike and bike its trails, fish and paddle its waters, climb its cliffs and bask in its natural beauty.

But the rugged mountain terrain that would become the Monongahela National Forest was a patchwork of barren, eroded, logged-over land when President Woodrow Wilson signed the documents creating it 100 years ago last week.

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