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10 Things You Didn’t Know About Our National Forests

There are likely a lot of things you didn’t know about our National Forests, but here are ten.


Most Americans can name several National Parks. Ask the same person to name a few National Forest and they’ll probably struggle to identify more than one.

The National Forest System is a vast and rich component of our public lands. Check out this list to learn more about these amazing places. Then take a weekend and explore the one nearest you, chances are it’s within a couple hours’ drive.

View the slideshow to see the ten facts about National Forests.

National Forests sustain more than 3,000 species of fish and wildlife.

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Forests provide nesting places and safe cover for many species of birds and other animals, which rely on them for food such as fruits, nuts, leaves, bark and roots. Forests protect fish habitats by preventing erosion, filtering pollutants, and shading cooling waters.

More than 7 in 10 of all Americans live within 100 miles of a National Forest.

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With 155 National Forests in 44 different states, you’re never far from your backyard forest.

RELATED: From the Woods: Q&A with the National Forest Foundation

More than half, 60 percent, of all alpine skiing is on National Forests. 

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National Forests are home to 122 ski areas and countless miles of backcountry access.

RELATED: Americans Love Our National Forests [INFOGRAPHIC]

National Forests contribute $13 billion annually to our economy through visitor spending. 

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Millions of Americans visit National Forests who contribute to the local economy through trips, lodging, food and recreation.

National Forests contain 136 scenic byways. 

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Stretching for more than 9,000 miles, scenic byways on our National Forests provide access to stunning views and iconic locations across the country.

RELATED: This Is How We Should Get People to Care About Conservation

National Forests contain 119 Wild and Scenic Rivers. 

Photo via NFF

Congressionally-designated Wild and Scenic Rivers are preserved for natural, cultural and recreational values for today and tomorrow.

You can explore two National Volcanic Monuments on our National Forests. 

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Head over to Deschutes National Forest and the Newberry National Volcanic Monument which includes more than 50,000 acres of lakes and lava flows in Central Oregon. And who could forget the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest?

The National Forest System includes 20 National Grasslands. 

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3.8 million acres of National Grasslands are managed for fish and wildlife, timber, water and recreation.

RELATED: Farm Bill 2014, and What It Means for Sportsmen

At 17 million acres, Alaska’s Tongass National Forest is our nation’s largest National Forest and bigger than the state of West Virginia. 

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The Tongass stretches along the coast of Southeast Alaska and is part of the world’s largest temperate rain forest.

Water from our National Forests and Grasslands is valued at $3.7 billion per year. 

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The National Forest System was created in the early Twentieth Century to protect our nation’s largest source of freshwater. Millions of Americans depend on National Forests every time they turn on their taps, eat fresh produce, or water their gardens.

RELATED: 6 Waterproof Things To Keep You Dry While Hunting

View more slideshows about our National Forests

Top 10 National Forests to Hunt In

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10 Things You Didn’t Know About Our National Forests