The first State Forest in Virginia began a gift, sparking public interest in expanding the system. Today, Prince Edward-Gallion State Forest makes for an amazing summer or weekend getaway. Hiking, camping and swimming await intrepid visitors who make the trip out to Burkeville.
Prince Edward-Gallion State Forest and Twin Lakes State Park are the ideal setting for a wide variety of outdoor activities. Visitors who enjoy hiking, biking and nature viewing with be thrilled with their surroundings in the Forest. Families should also visit Twin Lakes State Park, where there is something for everyone to enjoy—including picnicking, swimming, camping, fishing, canoeing, and kayaking—all in a secluded lakefront setting. The other available amenities include a bathhouse, a 1950s-themed snack bar with hand-dipped ice cream, and a gift shop.
The picturesque Cedar Crest Conference Center at Twin Lakes has become an ideal place for wedding receptions, family reunions, group meetings and company picnics.
The first State Forest
Emmett D. Gallion's gift of 588 acres to the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1919 marked the beginning of the state's Forest system. Mr. Gallion had hoped that his donation would advance the course of forestry in the southern Piedmont and this has indeed been the case. Including the additional 5873 acres added in 1954, the forest has experienced a remarkable turnaround in biodiversity since its overworked-and-abandoned farmland days.
The History of Twin Lakes State Park
The Civilian Conservation Corps, company 1390—an all African American company—constructed the lakes of Twin Lakes State Park between 1933 and 1941. They also did extensive work in Prince Edward-Gallion State Forest, including 94 miles of forest fire lanes, 5 lookout towers, 33 bridges, and 62 miles of truck trails. Additionally, they thinned 500 acres, planted 4,500 trees and logged 3,142 hours of fire-fighting duty.
Interestingly, Twin Lakes started out as two separate—and segregated—State Parks. Both were founded in 1939 and until the parks were desegregated in 1964, Prince Edward State Park for Negroes operated as the one and only park in Virginia that people of color could visit. The parks finally merged in 1976 and were renamed Twin Lakes a decade later.
For more information about the Forest, visit the Prince Edward-Gallion State Forest homepage on the Virginia Department of Forestry website.
To learn more about the use of facilities at Twin Lakes, visit the Twin Lakes State Park homepage on the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation website.