Barbours Creek-Shawvers Run Cluster

The Barbours Creek-Shawvers Run Cluster is a region in the Jefferson National Forest recognized by The Wilderness Society for its unique high elevation mountains, vistas, trout streams and wildlife habitat. With over 25,000 acres in a remote corner of the national forest, the cluster provides protection for black bear, clean water, backcountry hiking, and scenic beauty.[1][2]

Barbours Creek-Shawvers Run Cluster
Map showing the location of Barbours Creek-Shawvers Run Cluster
Map showing the location of Barbours Creek-Shawvers Run Cluster
Location of Barbours Creek-Shawvers Run Cluster in Virginia
LocationAllegheny County
Botetourt County
Craig County
Virginia, United States
Coordinates37°36′53″N 80°6′52″W / 37.61472°N 80.11444°W / 37.61472; -80.11444Coordinates: 37°36′53″N 80°6′52″W / 37.61472°N 80.11444°W / 37.61472; -80.11444
AdministratorU.S. Forest Service


The Barbours Creek/Shawvers Run Wilderness Cluster contains wilderness areas, and wildlands recognized by the Wilderness Society as “Mountain Treasures”, areas that are worthy of protection from logging and road construction.[1]

The areas in the cluster are:

Location and accessEdit

1983 Map of the north portion of the Jefferson National Forest in southwest Virginia

The cluster is about six miles north of New Castle. Roads and trails are given on National Geographic Maps 788 (Covington, Alleghany Highlands.[4] A great variety of information, including topographic maps, aerial views, satellite data and weather information, is obtained by selecting the link with the wild land’s coordinates in the upper right of this page.

Biological significanceEdit

The land form, climate, soils and geology of the Appalachian highlands, as well as its evolutionary history, have created one of the most diverse collection of plants and animals in the deciduous forests of the temperate world.[5]

At one time the American chestnut was a dominant part of the forest, but it was almost eliminated during the first three decades of the twentieth century by a chestnut blight fungus. Now the area is dominated by different species of oak.[5]

Geologic historyEdit

Extending along the western boundary of Virginia, the Ridge and Valley province is composed of long, relatively level-crested, ridges with highest elevations reaching over 3600 feet. The province marks the eastern boundary in the Paleozoic era of an older land surface on the east. It was uplifted and eroded during the Paleozoic with extensive folding and thrust-faulting. Resistant quartzite, conglomerates and sandstones form the ridge caps while less resistant shales and limestones eroded to form the intervening valleys.[5]

The area is part of the James River drainage. Shawvers Run is a tributary of Potts Creek, which flows into the James River. Barbours Creek flows into Craig Creek, a tributary of the James River.[4]

Toms KnobEdit

Toms Knob is a wildarea that extends into both the James River District of the George Washington National Forest and the Eastern Divide District of the Jefferson National Forest. A review by the wilderness society of areas in the George Washington National Forest recognized the area as a “Mountain Treasure”. Named after a series of rock outcrops on the crest of Potts Mountain, the knob offers good views of the Potts Creek Valley and Peters Mountain on the west. The Potts Mountain Jeep Road, running along the crest of Potts Mountain, separates the area from the Barbours Creek Wilderness. The highest elevation is about 3800 feet on the crest of Potts Mountain; the lowest elvation is 1750 feet in Shanty Hollow on the northeast corner of the area.[3]

The area includes a small Special Biological Area on the crest of the ridge, as well as small areas of potential old-growth trees.[3]

There are a few short trails in the Shanty Hollow area, in the northeastern tip of the area. Trails include:[4]

  • Childrens Forest, Forest Service Trail 626, 0.3 miles
  • Childrens Forest Long Loop, FS Trail 627, 2.6 miles
  • Childrens Forest Horse, FS Trail 628, 3.3 miles

Black bearEdit

American black bear - FWS

The cluster's large area provides essential habitat for the black bear population, an umbrella species contributing to the biological diversity of the Appalachians.[3]

The area gives bear a refuge from human activities, and the availability of critical food in the form of acorns from oaks, as well as spring and summer foods such as blueberries, blackberries, pokeweed and huckleberries. Bears require space for escape cover and winter dens. Without the forest lands in the Appalachians, the black bear population would be threatened.[3]

Steel Bridge Recreation AreaEdit

The recreation area, on Potts Creek, is at the north end of Shawvers Run Wilderness. Visitors on hot summer days can wade in the cold water of Potts Creek or enjoy fishing in pools beneath rock overhangs along the banks of Potts Creek. There are 20 primitive campsites with tables, fireplaces, hand-pumped water and pit toilets. The area is open year-around.[6]

See alsoEdit

Unprotected Wildlands in the George Washington National Forest

Other clustersEdit

Other clusters of the Wilderness Society's "Mountain Treasures" in the Jefferson National Forest (north to south):


  1. ^ a b c Parsons, Shireen (May 1999). Virginia's Mountain Treasures, The Unprotected Wildlands of the Jefferson National Forest. Washington, D. C.: The Wilderness Society, OCLC: 42806366. p. 27.
  2. ^ Bamford, Sherman (February 2013). A Review of the Virginia Mountain Treasures of the Jefferson National Forest. Blacksburg, Virginia: Sierra Club, OCLC: 893635467.
  3. ^ a b c d e Miller, Mark. Virginia's Mountain Treasures, The Unprotected Wildlands of the George Washington National Forest,. Washington, D. C.: The Wilderness Society. p. 81.
  4. ^ a b c Trails Illustrated Maps (2001). Covington, Alleghany Highlands (Trails Illustrated Hiking Maps, 788). Washington, D. C.: National Geographic Society.
  5. ^ a b c Stephenson, Steven L.; Ash, Andrew N.; Stauffer, Dean F. (1993). Appalachian Oak Forests, Chapter 6 in Biodiversity of the Southeastern United States, Upland Terrestrial Communities edited by Martin, Boyce and Echternacht. New York, NY: John Wiley and Sons. pp. 255-264. ISBN 0-471-58594-7.
  6. ^ Winegar, Deane and Garvey (1998). Highroad Guide to the Virginia Mountains. Marietta, Georgia: Longstreet Press, Inc. p. 143. ISBN 1-56352-462-7.

Further readingEdit

  • Stephenson, Steven L., A Natural History of the Central Appalachians, 2013, West Virginia University Press, West Virginia, ISBN 978-1933202-68-6.
  • Davis, Donald Edward, Where There Are Mountains, An Environmental History of the Southern Appalachians, 2000, University of Georgia Press, Athens, Georgia. ISBN 0-8203-2125-7.

External linksEdit