“Majestic, ancient Hemlock Forests”
Cathedral State Park is an ancient hemlock forest of majestic proportions, and one of the last living commemorations of the vast virgin hemlock forest which once flourished in the Appalachian highlands . . . .The woods were preserved because of the love each owner had for this unique area.The land was eventually purchased, in 1922 by Mr. Branson Haas. Mr. Haas was a workman for the Brookside Hotel, which stood where the park superintendent's residence now stands. He sold the forest to the State of West Virginia in 1942, with the provision that it remain untouched by ax or saw. Mr. Haas served as caretaker until his death.On October 6, 1966, Cathedral State Park was entered in the National Registry for Natural Historical Landmarks, as "an area that possesses exceptional value in illustrating the natural history of the United States." It is of note this is the only stand of mixed virgin timber left in West Virginia.On May 20, 1983, the Society of American Foresters recognized Cathedral in its National Natural Areas Program. As an "outstanding example of vegetative community in a near natural condition"..."with its associated biotic, edaphic, geologic and aquatic features dedicated for scientific and educational purposes". The area was registered because it is "maintained in the natural condition, by allowing physical and biological processes to operate, usually without direct human intervention." In October 2004, the centennial hemlock fell due to lightning strikes. Remaining is a 20 foot stump with a deck around it for interpretative observation.
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Cathedral State Park
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