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Thread: 159 US Forests

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    Registered User somers515's Avatar
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    Default 159 US Forests

    I thought it would be neat life time goal to try to visit all of national forests. Has anyone on whiteblaze ever considered doing the same? I'd be interested in hearing from people on how many they've visited.

    Here's is a little website I built just for fun: http://159usforests.com
    LT End-to-Ender 2017; NH 48/48 2015-2021; 8 of 159usForests.com
    "The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness." - John Muir

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    Registered User JNI64's Avatar
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    I'm looking forward to doing exactly something like this when I retire in a couple years
    Thanks for posting this!

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    Registered User somers515's Avatar
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    Awesome keep me posted as you progress JNI64!
    LT End-to-Ender 2017; NH 48/48 2015-2021; 8 of 159usForests.com
    "The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness." - John Muir

  4. #4

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    Interesting thread!

    I looked at this idea a few times and not finding any indication someone has completed this challenge I actually started the process of visiting all the National Forests (152) and Grasslands (18) at the time. Logistics quickly became the chief obstacle that was difficult to manage at the time, especially getting to the Alaskan forests.

    I seriously underestimated the heavy time and financial commitment to accomplish a visit to each of these forests and grasslands. The immensity of the challenge quickly became clear, if I did one forest per 4-trips per year, it would take approximately 42 years to complete. To winnow that down I noted many National Forests bordered other National Forests (or were within a few miles) and guesstimated I could visit an average of 6-forests per trip (some trips a few more, others a few less). At an average of 6 per year that would still require approximately 26-years, visiting 8 forests per year would take approximately 20-years. Back then I was limited in the amount of time I could take off from work and away from family, but the theory seemed sound at the time.

    Financially, the costs were significant at the time. I had calculated I could probably do and average of 6-forests per year while I was working, and perhaps up that to 8-forests per year in retirement. Cost then became the hurdle, I had estimated $2,000-per year for air fare, $1,000-per year for rental cars, approximately $500-per year for hotels (assuming day hikes in each visited forest), $150 for meals/food, totaling about $3,650-per year, which at the time bought basic travel for 4-week long trips per year. That number is probably closer to $5k today if not more.

    I set a goal of a day hike in each forest/grassland so I could say I walked the earth and would still have time to travel to the next forest the same day. I decided camping may not be efficient to reach the goal and I could move faster from one forest to the next by car and staying in hotels (or car camping was an option). So I tried a simple experiment in driving up to the White Mountain NF in New Hampshire, Green Mountain NF in Vermont, and Finger Lakes NF in New York, and driving home which took a week to complete the trip. That trip was valuable to demonstrate there may not be enough time in a week to do much more than 4-National Forests a week in most areas so the 6-National Forests per trip may not be realistic.

    So, in essence that is my attempt to walk in all the National Forests and Grasslands in the US, which pretty much collapsed after the trial trip due to family and business commitments. I'm sure it can be done by someone with better knees than I have these days, but would still take the better part of two decades to complete if they are working and have a family. I will be interested in how others see a path to reach the challenge of all the National Forests and Grasslands in retirement.

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    Most feasible approach would probably be retiree starting by using personal vehicle and a tent in contiguous 48. After that you could determine what is best for Alaska.

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    Cool Since you asked

    I keep track of stuff like that:

    20 NF that I went into for the purpose of visiting.
    13 NF that I made a stop in, either for a quick look or an inexpensive place to camp
    42 NF that I've driven through

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    I hear you Traveler, 159 forests to visit (or in your case forests and grasslands) sounds doable and then you start doing the math and then you are like this could be a lifetime pursuit! But see Astro's post, I think that may be the key.

    GoldenBear is currently tops on this thread! I like how you not only keep track of ones you "really" visited but also stopped in or drove thru. Of all that you have seen GoldenBear, which one is your favorite, or put another way which one would you recommend to someone who shares your tastes in what you like about forests but only has time to visit one?

    Anyone who has hiked the entire AT has these 8 National Forests checked off if they like:
    Chatahochee National Forest - GANantahala National Forest - NC
    Pisgah National Forest - NC
    Cherokee National Forest - TN
    Jefferson National Forest - VA
    Washington National Forest - VA
    Green Mountain National Forest - VT
    White Mountain National Forest - NH
    LT End-to-Ender 2017; NH 48/48 2015-2021; 8 of 159usForests.com
    "The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness." - John Muir

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    Cool Since you asked

    Of all that you have seen GoldenBear, which one is your favorite, or put another way which one would you recommend to someone who shares your tastes in what you like about forests but only has time to visit one?
    White Mountain National Forest

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    neat - one more list to add to the list!

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    Nice web !!
    If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18

    Come to me, all you who are tired and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

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    Quote Originally Posted by GoldenBear View Post
    White Mountain National Forest
    . The forest that really started my interest in hiking in every national forest!

    And thanks Deadeye and Montana Mac!

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    The Monongahela NF has been my favorite so far. 1,700,000 acres to explore the most diverse on the east coast! With
    Dolly Sods
    Seneca Rocks
    Cranberry Wilderness
    Blackwater falls

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    Interesting thread and nice web site. This did get me to thinking about which ones I have been too. Being a Virginian both the GW and TJ are on the list as I have hiked, camped and as a yonker back in college fighting forest fires in both of them working part time for the USFS. Then later based on duty assignments during my 23 year Army career I was stationed near and hiked/camped in others.
    So in particular order:
    VA George Washington
    VA Thomas Jefferson
    Va Though not a National Forest - The Prince William Forest National Park
    WVA Monongahela
    NY Adirondaks
    NY Finger Lakes
    PA Alleghaney
    GA Chatohoochee
    TN Cherokee
    NM Gila
    NM Lincoln
    Last edited by Furlough; 12-10-2022 at 11:43. Reason: typo
    "Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen." Louis L’Amour

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    Registered User somers515's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JNI64 View Post
    The Monongahela NF has been my favorite so far. . . .
    I really enjoyed my visit to Monongahela NF and want to get back to explore even more. The Cranberry Wilderness at 47,000+ acres is apparently one of the largest, if not the largest, federally designated wilderness areas in the east. I didn't have time to backpack into the Dolly Sods but it looked amazing even just from the trailhead. I did the hike up Seneca Rocks which was nice too. Blackwater Falls was also on my list but I didn't have the time to get there. Always interesting to hear people's favorite spots.

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    Registered User somers515's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Furlough View Post
    Interesting thread and nice web site. This did get me to thinking about which ones I have been too. . . .
    Thank you Furlough! I had to look up Prince William Forest. Interesting the National Parks checklist folks seem to be very consistent on which national parks get the capital P in Park treatment. I'm just happy that the National Forest list is a little easier to come up with and doesn't change as much over the years. : )

    So what was your favorite of the forests you've been to? What's next on your list to explore?

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    [QUOTE So what was your favorite of the forests you've been to? What's next on your list to explore?[/QUOTE]
    I'd Have to say at this point really 2 - Gila and Monongahela. Gila being my first real taste of the West, and Monongahela for its great variation of hiking. Now that I am semi-retired I hope to focus on getting back out onto the AT and figuring out a thru or some sort of LASH / Flip Flop. So, may be repeating some of the above in the South.
    "Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen." Louis L’Amour

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    Gila sounds incredible, I recall the CDT goes thru it. And that's another vote for Monongahela. Thanks for chiming in Furlough and happy hiking to you!

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    Quote Originally Posted by somers515 View Post
    I thought it would be neat life time goal to try to visit all of national forests. Has anyone on whiteblaze ever considered doing the same? I'd be interested in hearing from people on how many they've visited.

    Here's is a little website I built just for fun: http://159usforests.com
    So how many of the 159 have you checked off as of yet?
    And where are you trying to head to next?

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    Registered User JNI64's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Astro View Post
    Most feasible approach would probably be retiree starting by using personal vehicle and a tent in contiguous 48. After that you could determine what is best for Alaska.
    This would be my plan for sure!
    Now I need to find a female companion crazy enough to join me

  20. #20
    Registered User JNI64's Avatar
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    Afterall I don't want to die alone in a bus in Alaska, that story has already been told. "The best memories are shared memories ".
    Or something like that.....

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