Matthews State Forest
The 566 acres that now comprise the Matthews State Forest was originally settled by the Nuckolls family in the late 1700s. The Nuckolls family cemetery sits on a ridge overlooking the homestead. Judge Jack Matthews purchased the property from a Nuckolls heir in 1946. The Judge enjoyed all types of wildlife, gardening, what he called “old-time apples” and planting trees of any kind. One of his passions was for the American chestnut, and he had a strong desire to see its return. He could remember the chestnut before it was devastated by the blight and how important it had been ecologically, economically, and socially to the region. When Judge Matthews conveyed his land to the DOF, he also conveyed his vision to create a state forest “.to provide for the scientific, educational, and research needs for Southwest Virginia's children and the public, and to continue the work to bring back indigenous species such as the American chestnut.” Parcels that make up the Matthews State Forest were deeded to the Department of Forestry in 1993, 1994, and 2006.
The Matthews State Forest is open during daylight hours for hiking, biking, wildlife watching, horseback riding and hunting. There are nearly 8 miles of challenging mountain bike trails that are open to hiking as well as biking. Horseback riding is limited to roads and open fields. Hunting on the Matthews State Forest is archery only and is only allowed on those portions of the state forest that are south of U.S. 58. See the hunting map to locate “No Hunting Safety Zones” All visitors are asked to adopt a “Leave No Trace” ethic when on the state forest as there are no restrooms or trash cans.