Geneva State Forest (GSF) is Alabama’s largest state forest. Managed by the Alabama Forestry Commission encompassing 7,200 acres of predominately longleaf pine Geneva State Forest provides the state of Alabama with one of the most valuable natural resources Timber!
The primary objective of GSF is timber and secondary are wildlife and recreation. Management of the forest requires sound guidance. Every ten years a detailed plan is prepared to utilize while conserving the native forest ecosystem at Geneva State Forest. The plan subdivides the forestland into workable units. Planned tasks are developed to enhance primary and secondary objectives. Afterwards, these tasks are completed by AFC personnel.
Management of timber resources includes an even-aged and uneven-aged natural regeneration method. A 75-year rotation of the work units is in theory managed with three units per year receiving active timber operations. Two work units receive either a preparatory cutting or an establishment cutting. The third work unit receives a removal cutting that will naturally regenerate a new stand of timber.
Controlled burning is an effective forest management tool used at GSF. Annually, one-third of the work units are burned in a controlled manner. Controlled fire provides necessary conditions for natural regeneration of longleaf pine; it improves forage for wildlife, and provides many other benefits to other species of the longleaf pine ecosystem.
In the early 1930’s Jackson Lumber Company transferred the lands now known as Geneva State Forest to the State of Alabama.
A common practice of landowners in the 1920’s and 1930’s was to extensively clear-cut timber sites. After a site was clear-cut the land seemed to be of little use; the stumps remaining presented a major obstacle to turn the land into farmland and it was not considered economical to replant. The Jackson Lumber Company unsuccessfully tried to sell this area of land (GSF) as low as fifty cents per acre. Rather than pay taxes on land considered of low value it was donated to the State of Alabama.
During this period the United States was in a severe depression. President Franklin D. Roosevelt implemented programs to assist the economy. One program was the Civilian Conservation Corp. (CCC) and its purpose was to conserve and develop natural resources by activities such as planting tree, building dams, and fighting forest fires.
There were several of the CCC camps located throughout the State of Alabama. One camp was located on what is now known as the Geneva State Forest. The young men in this camp regenerated the surrounding lands by hand planting tree seedlings.
Once considered useless or of little value the Geneva State Forest now has an extremely high monetary value as well as the preservation value for future generations. Through the sale of timber Geneva State Forest has produced millions of dollars in revenue for the State of Alabama, which contributes to the overall state economy.
In a cooperative agreement with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources the Geneva State Forest Wildlife Management Area provides large and small game hunting to the public. All hunting will be in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Geneva State Forest Wildlife Management Area
Fishing, Trail riding, Hiking, and Primitive Camping
Fishing is available in the 100-acre lake. Primitive roads throughout the forest provide a scenic view for trail rides. The longleaf forests provide ample habitat for viewing many native wildlife species including: deer, turkey, quail, rabbit, fox, bobcat, squirrel, and non-game species as well. The Alabama Hiking Trail Society has established and maintains a hiking trail around the lake. Each of these recreational activities requires a daily permit which can be obtained at Geneva State Forest Lake.
- A daily permit fee of $2.00 is required for each person between the ages of 16 and 59 years and a fee of $1.00 is required for each person 60 or older for approved recreational activities which include picnicking, fishing, camping, hiking, ATV riding, and horse riding.
- Permit stub must be in possession to be valid.
- Swimming and wading are prohibited in lake.
- Gasoline powered motors are prohibited on lake.
- Alcoholic beverages, firearms and disorderly conduct are prohibited at Geneva State Forest.
- Motocross riding is prohibited at Geneva State Forest.
- Removing, cutting, destroying, and damaging trees, shrubs, flowers, and state property is prohibited.
- Horses and ATV’s are prohibited in picnic areas, and during scheduled Geneva State Forest Management Area deer gun hunt days.
- Anyone under age 16 must be accompanied and supervised by an adult.
- Additional restrictions apply as necessary and will be posted at lake on left side of honor box billboard.
- All vehicular traffic including ATV & horse riding is strictly limited to maintained roads and trails identified with brochure map. Unless otherwise posted speed limit is 25mph.
- Vehicles associated with horses, ATV’s and boats must park in designated unloading area.
- Visitors are responsible for trash and other debris.
- State fishing rules and regulations apply for lake and streams.
- Capacity is limited and will be determined by AFC personnel.
- Campfires must be attended at all times and completely extinguished after use.
- All recreational groups of 15+ members must make reservations prior to visit. For reservations
- The AFC is not responsible for personal injury and/or personal property.
Geneva State Forest Management Area is open to the public for hunting in accordance with Management Area Rules and Regulations. Remember; be considerate to other recreational users and their needs. Safety should be your first priority. If you have questions/concerns call 334-898-7013 for information.
Permit possession indicates awareness and understanding of all preceding rules.
For more information or reservations call 334-898-7013