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Kumbrabow State Forest was created during the Great Depression, as were many of West Virginia’s state parks and forests, in response to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration of the Civilian Conservation Corps Act of 1933. This legislation allowed for the development of state parks and forests at federal expense, if the state owned suitable land. The Allegheny highlands of southern Randolph County were widely recognized as suitable and were viewed as holding great promise as future public forest. Despite previous removal of magnificent stands of red spruce and hemlock, and subsequent wildfires, the high elevation (2,300–3,390 feet) and abundant rainfall of the area were expected to promote rapid forest regrowth. The land for Kumbrabow was purchased on December 29, 1934. The forest was named for a combination of elements of the names of Governor Kump, businessman Spates Brady, and attorney Hubert Bowers, all of whom were influential in the creation of the park.

Until 1941, Kumbrabow State Forest was home to two CCC camps whose duties included fire hazard reduction, forest stand improvement, and wildlife surveys. Corpsmen also built a picnic area with a pavilion and a camping area and five primitive cabins, which remain in use today. More recent additions include a sixth, handicapped accessible cabin and cross-country ski trails. Today, Kumbrabow is a successful example of a multiple-use public land, supporting demonstrations of modern timbering methods, forest management, and rare species conservation, as well as popular recreation activities including fishing, hunting, hiking, bird-watching, and camping.

This Article was written by W. Russ McClain

Last Revised on August 04, 2016

Cite This Article

McClain, W. Russ "Kumbrabow State Forest." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 04 August 2016. Web. 17 June 2024.


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