Agent Contact:
Richard Grist, 304.645.7674

Luke Mountain Forest offers 785 multi-use acres providing unequaled recreational opportunities. The forest has several miles of interior trails, Jackson River frontage, and adjoins the GW National Forest. The awesome 2,500 acre Lake Moomaw is nearby.


  • 785-acre forested mountain range fronting the Jackson River and GW National Forest
  • Adjoins the George Washington National Forest
  • The property fronts on the Jackson River
  • 5 minutes to Covington, the county seat of Alleghany County
  • 20 minutes to 2,500-acre Lake Moomaw
  • The forest has been managed by professional foresters for over 40 years and contains some very valuable timber
  • Patches of ancient forests intertwine with the mature and emerging forests creating an exciting recreational property
  • 5+ miles of private forest management roads wind through the property on gentle grades suitable for future cabin or home site driveway
  • Several miles of forest trails provide superior access to nearly every part of the property
  • Professionally managed wildlife program developed to enhance the habitat, increase species diversity, promote the health of the resident wildlife and increase the carrying capacity
  • Moss and lichen-covered rock outcrops and rock cliffs
  • Possibility of developing a rewarding permaculture lifestyle
  • Surrounded by National Forest, large private timber tracts and mountain farms in a nice rural neighborhood
  • Superior access adjoining state roads and private Luke Mt. Road – FedEx delivery
  • Dark skies with little light pollution for star and planet gazing
  •  Good soil offers numerous spots for gardens and crops
  • Native sedges, rushes, ferns, songbirds, frogs, turtles, crawdads all enjoy the creeks and river and their rocky edges
  • Several ancient “Heritage” trees scattered about the forest estimated at 200-300 years old
  • Excellent timber species include, beautiful oaks, black walnut, poplar, maple Virginia, pine, White pine, hemlock and hickories
  • Electricity on site or create your own with hydro-power from the river, wind or solar
  • Winged wildlife includes eagles, hawks, owls, ravens, and Neotropical songbirds
  • Diverse topography containing a mature forest, emerging forest, old fields, huge rock outcrops, large creeks and ancient trees create a fascinating natural setting
  • Tremendous producer of life-giving Oxygen and a major sequester of carbon
  • Additional seasonal branches flow during snow melts and rain events
  • A premier wildlife sanctuary
  • Spectacular long-range views approaching 20 miles
  • High percentage of commercially – operable ground supporting forestry, recreation and potential for numerous future cabin sites
  • Perfect for shooting sports, ATV riding, horseback riding, hiking, camping, hunting and nature viewing
  • Low taxes, low population density, little or no light pollution
  • Survey on file
  • Mineral rights will convey that the seller owns


Luke Mountain Forest offers unequaled recreational opportunities. Numerous soft recreational activities are anchored by several miles of interior trails, frontage on the Jackson River, common boundary with the George Washington National Forest and nearby 2,500 acre Lake Moomaw.

Nature viewing is first in line of recreational activities. Attentive wildlife management has been geared not to just game animals. Equal consideration has been extended to increasing the numbers and diversity of species including neo-tropical songbirds, butterflies, turtles, frogs, rabbits, chipmunks, dragonflies, owls, hawks.

Stargazing-Planet Observation
Considerable darkness can be still be found on the majority of the property, thereby affording the opportunity to view the night sky in all its brilliant wonder.

Water-sports enthusiasts will find the Jackson River and nearby Lake Moomaw ideal for: swimming, boating, canoeing, fishing, kayaking, tubing, snorkeling, paddle boarding and wind-surfing.

Shooting-sports devotees find all the land and privacy needed to enjoy:

  • Paintball-Airsoft-Laser tag-Archery tag
  • Shotgun sport shooting including Skeet, Trap, Double Trap and Sporting Clays
  • Rifle & Handgun shooting: bullseye, silhouette, western, bench rest, long-range, fast draw
  • Archery and Crossbow competition shooting
  • Plinking with an old 22 single shot rifle and a few tin cans make a fun day

All Terrain Motorsports
Luke Mountain Forest has 4+ miles of graded and culverted of internal roads and miles of forest trails that are perfect for experiencing the property from an ATV or UTV. These exciting machines handle the wide variety of the Luke Mountain Forest’s terrain. The riders can go from down along the streams, wind through the pine and hardwood forest and climb nearly 1000 feet up to the highest ridges.

Dirt bikes can also be a lot of fun and they come in all sizes and horsepower to fit anyone who enjoys being on two wheels (hopefully).

Mountain Biking, Horseback Riding and Hiking
The same trails used for Motorsports can also be used for mountain biking or horseback riding. The trails are designed to be on gentle grades but some trails coming off the river offer a more challenging climb.

Hunting is a first-class experience. The frontage on the Jackson River provides habitat for wood duck, geese and mallards. White tail deer, black bear, red/gray fox, bobcat, wild turkey, grouse, squirrel, raccoon, fox and rabbit make up the resident wildlife population. It is hard to find a property that has a better mix of wildlife as there has been professional wildlife management for many years.


Luke Mountain Forest is located in Alleghany County, Virginia in the far Southwest Allegheny Mountains. The region is known as Virginia’s Western Highlands. The pace of life is unhurried where natural amenities and the opportunities for recreation are limitless and is home to the George Washington National Forest. Alleghany County offers something for everyone, including fishing, hunting, birding, and primitive camping to hiking the Appalachian Trail.

Alleghany County is located in the far western edge of the Commonwealth of Virginia. It is bordered by the Allegheny Mountains, from which the county derives its name, and it is the northernmost part of the Roanoke Region. The county seat is Covington.

The county was created in 1822 from parts of Botetourt County, Bath County, and Monroe County (now in West Virginia). At the time, the majority of the population lived around Covington, and the primary cash crop then was hemp, which was used for rope production.

As of the 2010 census, the population was 16,250. The county economy is dominated by WestRock, which operates a paperboard mill in Covington, the second largest on the East Coast and an extrusion and converting facility in Low Moor. Both Alleghany County and Covington, are known for the low cost of its housing market and close proximity to The Homestead in Bath County, Lexington, The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, Lewisburg, West Virginia, a 45-minute drive in any direction and Roanoke, about an hour away.

Amtrak, the national passenger rail service, provides service to the Clifton Forge station (12 miles away from Covington) with the Cardinal route. Also Clifton Forge serves a major locomotive fuel facility for CSX Transportation.

The area is serviced by Interstate 64 (east-west) and Route 220 (north-south) offering rail, truck and interstate access to the area. Rail passenger service is provided at the Amtrak station in Clifton Forge, VA 12 miles away.

Luke Mountain Forest adjoins the city limits of Covington, founded in 1819, and is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 5,961, making it the third-least populous city in Virginia. It is surrounded by Alleghany County, of which it is also the county seat. Located at the confluence of Jackson River and Dunlap Creek. The local newspaper of record is The Virginian Review, which has been continuously published since August 10, 1914.

Fire protection is provided by the Covington Fire Department, which was chartered on March 4, 1902. The Covington Rescue Squad provides emergency medical services to the city of Covington. Both the fire department and rescue squad are volunteer organizations. The rescue squad was organized in 1933 and is the third oldest volunteer rescue squad in Virginia.

Covington is named in honor of General Leonard Covington, hero of the War of 1812 and friend of James Madison and Thomas Jefferson.

Covington has one 8–12 high school (Covington High School), one 4–7 middle school called (Jeter-Watson), one pre-kindergarten through third grade elementary school (Edgemont Primary), one State Governors School (Jackson River Governor’s School), one technical center for high-school students (Jackson River Technical Center), and one community college (Dabney Lancaster).

Generally, all small city amenities are Covington with big box stores, hospital, medical & dental, grocery, auto parts, hardware, building supply etc.

The Jackson River is a major tributary of the James River in Virginia, flowing 96.4 miles. The James River is formed by the confluence of the Jackson River and the Cowpasture River.

The Jackson River rises in Highland County, Virginia, near the border of West Virginia. It flows south between Back Creek Mountain and Jack Mountain, entering Bath County, where it continues to flow south. The Jackson River is impounded by Gathright Dam in Alleghany County, creating Lake Moomaw. From the dam, Jackson River flows south and then east through Alleghany County, through the city of Covington and the town of Clifton Forge, before joining with the Cowpasture River to create the James River.

The river is named for the first settler on its banks, William Jackson, who received a grant of 270 acres from King George II in 1750. Jackson was possibly an acquaintance of Alexander Dunlap, the first settler on the Cowpasture River.

Lake Moomaw is among the most popular developed recreation areas in the George Washington National Forest and provides an endless array of activities including boating, fishing, hiking, biking and camping. The 2,500 acre lake is renowned for its excellent fishing yielding citation size brown and rainbow trout, as well as good bass, pan and crappie.

Lake Moomaw is the second largest impoundment in western Virginia. It covers 2,530 surface acres and has a maximum depth of 152 feet. The impoundment is “drawn down” between 10-15 feet annually, beginning slowly in June and reaching its lowest level usually by September. There are 43 miles of undeveloped, wooded shoreline. There are 5 U.S. Forest Service Campgrounds around the lake, 3 boat launches and a marina.

The Gathright Dam is a massive earthen structure that backs up the Jackson River for over 12 miles, forming Lake Moomaw. A U. S. Army Corps of Engineers project, Lake Moomaw was constructed for downstream flow augmentation (water quality), flood control, and recreation. The idea for a lake above the City of Covington was suggested just after World War II, but the project was not completed until the early 1980’s. The backwater of the Jackson River flooded acres of bottomland once owned by Thomas Gathright. The project was pushed forward by Covington businessman Benjamin Moomaw, after which the lake was named.

The reservoir is deep enough (152 feet) for both warm water fish (bass, catfish, sunfish, crappie) and coldwater fish (trout). The lake was stocked with thousands of largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, and channel catfish in 1980. The Jackson River was already home to wild populations of smallmouth bass, rock bass, and chain pickerel, so it was understood that these species would acclimate to their new surroundings. Black crappie and yellow perch were later additions to the fishery.

Lake Moomaw is also known for its trout fishery. A layer of cold, oxygenated water lies 15 feet below the surface. It is in this zone that stocked rainbow, brown, and brook trout thrive. Alewives, members of the herring family, were stocked in the early 1980’s in order to establish a plentiful food base for both trout and other predators. These small, silvery fish are truly the “backbone” of the lake’s sport fishery. They are abundant, ubiquitous, and, seemingly the prey of choice for trophy fish that are caught from Lake Moomaw.

Approximately 35,000 McConaughy and 35,000 brown trout finglerlings are stocked each year. Fingerlings switch to natural food quickly and reach quality size in a couple of years. Neither a trout license nor National Forest Stamp is required at Lake Moomaw. There are no boat motor restrictions on Lake Moomaw and boating enthusiasts may run unlimited horsepower motors.


The 785+/- acre Luke Mountain Forest is a tremendous producer of Oxygen and Carbon Sequester. Carbon Sequestration is the act of processing carbon dioxide through sinks and stores and releasing them into the atmosphere as oxygen. The vigorously growing forest is sequestering about 70,000 tons of Carbon Dioxide each per year.

On average, one tree produces nearly 260 pounds of oxygen each year. Since there are estimated to be some 800,000 trees growing in the forest, there could be over 100,000 tons of Oxygen being produced each year. The forest may be supplying the needs of over 80,000 of the world’s citizens.


The most common crops are medicinal herbs and mushrooms. Other crops that can be produced include shade-loving native ornamentals, moss, fruit, nuts, other food crops, and decorative materials for crafts. These crops are often referred to as special forest products.

  • Medicinal herbs: Ginseng, goldenseal, black cohosh, bloodroot, passionflower, and mayapple
  • Mushrooms: Shiitake and oyster mushrooms
  • Native ornamentals: Rhododendrons and dogwood
  • Moss: Log or sheet moss
  • Fruit: Pawpaws, currants, elderberries, and lowbush blueberries
  • Nuts: Black walnuts, hazelnuts, hickory nuts, and beechnuts
  • Other food crops: Ramps (wild leeks), maple syrup, and honey
  • Plants used for decorative purposes, dyes, and crafts: Galax, princess pine, white oak, pussy willow branches in the spring, holly, bittersweet, and bloodroot and ground pine (Lycopodium)


The abundant timber resource is well positioned for current timber income as well as value appreciation over the coming decades. With an attractive species mix, adequate stocking levels, and favorable diameter class distribution, the timber amenity represents a strong component of value to the investor.

The Luke Mountain Forest’s resource is composed of quality Appalachian hardwoods, pine and hemlock. This well managed timber resource can provide a great deal of flexibility to the next ownership in terms of potential harvest revenue and can be managed to provide cash flow opportunities to offset holding cost and long-term asset appreciation. Capital Timber Value of the timber and pulpwood has not been determined at this time but is considered substantial.

The forest’s predominately well-drained upland terrain has led to a resource dominated by hardwood species. Overall, the species composition is highly desirable and favors Appalachian hardwood types, consisting primarily of:

  • Sugar Maple
  • Poplar/Basswood
  • Red Oak Group
  • White Oak/Chestnut Oak
  • Soft Maple
  • Hickory
  • A host of associated species (ash, cedar black walnut, birch, sourwood, black gum, beech)

There is also a nice component of native pine and eastern hemlock interspersed throughout the hardwood forest.

Forest-wide, most stands are fully stocked, providing the next ownership with a great deal of flexibility in shaping their own silvicultural legacy. Stem quality forest-wide can be considered excellent with the forest containing an abundant current and future veneer source.

The property’s timber component has been well managed over the years and consists of several stands of differing age classes that have been managed under exacting silvicultural guidelines. Portions of this stand have been thinned as prudent forest management called for. Some of the stands were regenerated and are now young emerging forest with thousands of vigorously growing trees on each acre.

Diameters are well represented across the commercial spectrum with a notable mature size class, as well as abundant pole size timber and growing stock. Several “Heritage Trees” are scattered throughout the forest and field edges. These ancient trees, some 200-300 years old, have withstood the test of time, weathering ice, wind, lightning strikes and fire.

The forest is healthy and there are no signs of pest infestations of Gypsy Moth. The Emerald Ash Borer, which has inundated the entire Northeast US, is present and the Ash component will significantly decline over the next decade. The Eastern Hemlock species is under attack by the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid and the remaining hemlock will significantly decline over the coming decade. There have been no forest fires in recent memory.

The forest floor is home to several types of mushrooms, medicinal plants, wild ginseng, ferns and mosses.

There are some fruit trees scattered about, some of which were part of the early homestead. Hickory nuts and acorns are produced each year from the abundant oak and hickory trees scattered about.

Honey bees would do well here, and it would be possible to produce maple syrup from the sugar and red maple trees growing on the property.


Years of progressive wildlife management practices have created the ideal wildlife preserve. Early on, management goals promoted overall wildlife health, facilitated the harvest of game, developed wildlife viewing areas, increased carrying capacity, and increased species diversity.

The Jackson River is a major contributor to the local ecosystem richness and diversity for both plants and animals. The additional miles of ephemeral streams and their surrounding aquatic plant life create a water supported community with a wide variety of wildlife. Some of the margin of the creeks are fringed by lowlands, and these lowlands support the aquatic food web, provide shelter for wildlife, and stabilize the shore of the streams. The plant life associated with the wetland includes rushes, sedges, cattails, duckweed and algae.

There are many animals that live in the water and around the edges of the river and creeks including, native fish, beaver, otters, mink, raccoons, opossums, blue herons, Canada geese, wood ducks, mallards, minnows, fish, turtles, salamanders, newts, crayfish, muskrat, bull frogs, eagles, hawks and redwing blackbirds.

There is the insect and microscopic world including butterflies, dragonflies, pond skaters, water beetles, damselflies, tadpoles and various insect larve.

The property has a mixture of mature hardwood species, pine forest, and hemlock. The diverse tree species, coupled with the abundant water supply from the creeks and river, create the perfect wildlife habitat. The miles of “edge effect” created between the river, creeks, hollows, ridges, rock outcrops and forest is the textbook habitat benefiting all the resident wildlife. Bald eagles, white tail deer, black bear, wild turkey, squirrel, rabbit, bobcat, raccoon, fox and many species of songbirds, owls and raptors make up the resident wildlife population.

The hardwood forest provides the essential nutrient source and produces tons of hard mast including acorns, hickory nuts, beech nuts and black walnuts. Soft mast includes stag horn sumac, black cherry, tulip poplar seeds, maple seeds, autumn olive berries and blackberries.


Google Coordinates: 37.796776°(N), -80.002482°(W)
Address: Luke Mountain Road, Covington, VA 24426; No 911 address is assigned to properties without structures.
Elevation Range: 1365 ft. to 1670 ft. +/-


  • The property fronts the Jackson River for about 700’
  • There are 2 miles of intermittent streams on the property
  • There are numerous small hollows throughout the property
  • Mountain Springs


A title search for actual mineral ownership rights is recommend. All rights the owner has will convey with the property.


The property boundaries have been painted for many years by current and previous owners. Further, sections of boundary are common with the George Washington National Forest, which provides additional boundary marking. There are survey plats of record for the property. Also, a section of the boundary runs with US 60, and another section of boundary runs with the right-of-way of Interstate 64. The property is being sold by the boundary and not by the acre.


Water: Public water may be available at roadside on Route 60
Sewer: Public sewer may be available at roadside on Route 60
Electricity: Onsite
Telephone: Roadside on Route 60
Internet: Cable, satellite, cell phone
Cellphone Coverage: Excellent with 4G


The property is primarily accessed by Luke Mountain Road, a private road within the property, that connects to US 60, providing access to the public road system. There are over 5 miles of primary interior roads plus numerous supporting trails.


Alleghany County is subject to some zoning and subdivision regulations. All prospective buyers should consult the county government and also the Health Department for details regarding zoning, building codes and installation of septic systems.


The property has been managed as both hardwood and softwood forestland for many years. Some of the areas are pine plantations.


Deed Information: Instrument No. 040004032 and specific tracts in Instrument No. 040004034.
Alleghany County, Virginia
Acreage: 785.332 acres +/-

Real Estate Tax ID/Acreage/Taxes:
Alleghany County, Virginia
Tax Parcels 03900-00-000-0130 and 05600-00-000-0010

2019 Real Estate Taxes: $4,178.52


Born into a Scottish papermaking family, Westvaco founder William Luke came to the United States in 1852. Ten years later he began running a plant for Jessup & Moore Paper Company in Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia. Although employed by Jessup & Moore until 1898, he set up a small plant of his own, which was named the Piedmont Pulp and Paper Company, with his two sons in 1889. (Originally established in Piedmont, West Virginia, a shift in the Potomac River and a 1922 municipal name change eventually put the same facility in Luke, Maryland.) In 1891 it began production of printing paper under the name West Virginia Paper. In 1897 West Virginia Paper merged with West Virginia Pulp Company of Davis, West Virginia and became West Virginia Pulp and Paper Company (WVPP).

As the business and its products grew, mills were opened all the way into the southern states. WVPP began purchasing woodlands close to the mills to supply its own wood pulp and eventually owned extensive woodlands. One major mill was established at Covington, Virginia.

In 1919, William Luke built an estate overlooking the lights of the City of Covington and with grand views of the surrounding mountains. As just the beginning description for the many grand rooms, the majestic 3-story mansion boasted 11 bedrooms, 6 full baths, 2 half baths, and 12,324 heated square feet. His large family lived there until 1960. The area is fondly known as Luke Mountain. The estate grounds were separated from adjoining forestland and were acquired by new owners outside of the Luke family.

West Virginia Pulp and Paper Company changed its name to Westvaco Corporation in 1969. Later mergers changed the name to MeadWestvaco Corporation, and now, WestRock. The Luke dynasty of primary leadership in the company ended through retirement of CEO John A. Luke in 2015.


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