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Area overview

May 16, 2013

Encompassing 100,000 acres, the scenic Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area (NRA) contains the highest peak in West Virginia, some of the best rock climbing on the east coast and outstanding mountain views in the great West Virginia outdoors.

Congress established the Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks NRA in 1965. This area is a part of the Monongahela National Forest and is unique because it was the first National Recreation Area to be designated in the USDA Forest Service.

The Forest Service was directed to manage this special area with emphasis on the outstanding opportunities for outdoor recreation, wildlife habitat, cultural resource protection and scientific study. Other resources are managed in harmony with these emphasized activities. Timber harvest are designed to create openings beneficial for wildlife and create vistas as well as to contribute to the nation's hardwood supplies. Cattle or sheep graze many of the open areas, which not only provide meat and wool, but also maintain these areas in their open state, retaining the visual qualities and benefiting wildlife. Parts of the National Recreation Area are leased for natural gas production; openings built for gas wells are seeded with game-supporting grasses. Some areas are leased to farmers who raise corn or hay, continuing the rural agriculture landscape that has existed here for nearly 200 years.

The Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area, which is located in Grant and Pendleton counties, provides a wealth of products, resources and recreational opportunities. Visitor facilities include: At Seneca Rocks, the Seneca Rocks Visitor Center, Seneca Shadow campground and Big Bend campground, and at Spruce Knob, West Virginia's highest point: the Spruce Knob Tower.

Many thousands of acres of unspoiled quiet land await discovery. Use your imagination to see how the area may have looked to the early settlers, as they crested the mountain ridges or moved up the river. Imagine living a self-sufficient life on a high hillside farm. Envision the Indians gathering food on hunting forays. You will discover not only the beauty of West Virginia, but a sense of national history in this unique area.

The Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation area offers enjoyable outdoor recreation and is a central location that makes an ideal "home base" for the visitor who desires to see the Potomac Highlands of West Virginia.

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