Virginia Wilderness - Keeping it like it is
The Bear Creek Proposed National Scenic Area is a 5,128-acre tract located in Smyth County. This proposal represents a consensus among various user groups and has the support of the county Board of Supervisors, local mountain bikers, Piedmont Appalachian Trail Hikers, equestrians, and wilderness advocates.
The crest of Walker Mountain, capped with Silurian sandstone, serves as the northern boundary. This ridge climbs to an elevation of over 3,700 feet and towers almost 1,300 feet above the valley floor. The crest of Brushy Mountain forms the southern boundary. While not as high as its western neighbor, its slopes are just as steep and rugged.
The vegetation is characteristic of the Ridge and Valley physiographic province. Cove hardwoods occupy the mesic sites - tulip tree, basswood, cucumber tree, white ash, white oak, northern red oak, red maple and white pine. Drier sites harbor more xeric oaks and pines. The area boasts especially fine stands of Table Mountain pine.
The proposal includes the headwaters of Bear Creek and the adjacent slopes from ridge top to ridge top. There is an extensive network of trails including over four miles of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. The enclosed nature of the valley ensures that visitors experience solitude with little impact of human intrusion.