Proceeds from The Conservation Fund’s first-ever green bonds and a loan from the Richard King Mellon Foundation enabled our purchase of 7,888 acres of working timberlands, called Roanoke River Forest, in Charlotte County, Virginia in 2019.

To date, we have conveyed 5,011 acres to the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) for the creation of Virginia’s 26th state forest, which opened to the public in April 2022. The new Charlotte State Forest is the first publicly accessible state land in the County.

The lands we continue to own will be sustainably managed as a working forest, while we seek public and private support to protect a portion of the remaining forest with conservation easements and to transfer additional lands a to VDOF to expand Charlotte State Forest in the future.

This project is part of our Working Forest Fund® — an innovative program dedicated to mitigating climate change, strengthening rural economies and protecting natural ecosystems through the permanent conservation of at-risk working forests across America.


Sustainably managed for nearly a century, the forest was owned by Thomas Bahnson Stanley, the Commonwealth’s 57th governor, and subsequently the Stanley Land and Lumber Corporation, providing shortleaf and Virginia pine, as well as white oak and hickory to local mills for furniture.

Located along Saxkey Road, a designated Virginia Scenic Byway, the mature upland forests feature critical foraging and potential roosting habitat for federally threatened northern long-eared bats, and the wetlands provide exceptional duck and waterfowl habitat. This effort will also secure the Greenwood Game Preserve, a conservation priority for more than a decade.

The protection of the entire Roanoke River Forest will support water quality and secure tributaries to the Roanoke River, a designated Virginia Scenic River. The Roanoke and Wards Ford Creeks provide habitat for state threatened fish species, including the Carolina darter.

The lands now owned by VDOF will continue to be sustainably harvested for timber under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) standards. Key habitat areas will be protected and new public access made available to outdoor recreation activities, like fishing, hunting and birdwatching.


The Conservation Fund is actively raising funds for a permanent conservation solution for the remaining lands. For more information about how you can support the conservation of this important forest, please contact Rachael Joiner.