Readers of this book have at their fingertips far more than the work of two writers. Fascinating information came from earth scientists, ecologists, biologists, and botanists endowed with endless curiosity about how the mountains came to be and how ecosystems work. Site managers, foresters, fisheries managers, local guides, conservationists, volunteers, cartographers, college professors, and many others eagerly shared their knowledge. Our families allowed quiet time to write.
Our warmest thanks to Marge McDonald, project director for the series of mountain books at Longstreet Press. Not only did she entrust us with the Virginia book and grant extra time for research, but she also found editors worth their weight in quill pens. Richard Lenz and Pam Holliday provided gentle encouragement, guidance, a safety net for our copy, and their own expertise on the Southern Appalachians.
We're indebted to Gary Waugh with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and Steve Carter-Lovejoy, Lesa Berlinghoff, and Tom Rawinski at the DCRs Division of Natural Heritage. Updating us with the latest information on state parks were Craig Seaver at Natural Tunnel State Park, Jim Kelly at Hungry Mother State Park, Eric Hougland at New River Trail State Park, Janet Blevins at Southwest Virginia Museum and Karlan State Park, Richard Johnson at Claytor Lake State Park, Christine Humphrey and Frances Simmons at Douthat State Park, Jess Lowry from Sky Meadows State Park, Andy R. Guest from Shenandoah River State Park, Phil Koury at Grayson Highlands State Park, John Grooms at Fairy Stone State Park, and Carl Mullins, superintendent of Breaks Interstate Park.
For information on federal lands, we depended on David Olson, public relations officer, Al McPherson, recreation assistant, and Tom Collins, geologist for the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests; Bob McKinney, interpretive specialist with Mount Rogers National Recreation Area; and Brad Williams, information specialist with the Highlands Gateway Visitor Center.
Assistance from the busy staffs at the national forest ranger districts came from Lisa Nutt, wildlife biologist, and Lois Boggs, interpreter, Clinch Ranger District; Beth Lament and other staff, Blacksburg Ranger District; Debbie Hawkins, public affairs program manager at Wythe Ranger District; Cynthia Snow, district ranger, Elizabeth Higgins, receptionist, and the late Jenifer Shoemaker, creator of an extensive trail guide, James River Ranger District; Dawn Coulson, forestry technician, Warm Springs Ranger District; Dale Huff, assistant ranger, New Castle Ranger District; David Rhodes, district ranger, Deerfield Ranger District; Steve Parsons, district ranger, and Bob Tennyson, forester, Dry River Ranger District; John Coleman, district ranger, Stephanie Bushong, interpretive specialist, and Kay Hand, senior citizen enrollee/receptionist, Lee Ranger District; Pat Eagan, district ranger, Glenwood Ranger District; and Kathy Hall, forester, Pedlar Ranger District.
Helpful staff at the Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries includes Scott Whitcomb, wildlife biology assistant at Clinch and Hidden Valley WMAs, and Jay Jeffreys, wildlife biologist at Havens WMA.
Expert help on the origin of Virginia's mountains came from Dr. James Beard, curator of earth sciences for the Virginia Museum of Natural History; from geologist and author Keith Frye of Tyro, Virginia; and from Alan Penick and Jack Nolde with the Virginia Division of Mineral Resources.
At national parks, thanks to Jack Collier, chief ranger and acting superintendent and Carol Borneman, chief interpreter, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park; to Karen Michaud, interpretive specialist and Greta Miller, executive director, Shenandoah Natural History Association, Shenandoah National Park; and to Peter Givens, Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia specialist, National Park Service.
Kudos to Geneva Varner for help with North Fork of Pound Lake, Russell Artrip and Tanya Hall for help with John W. Flannagan Dam and Reservoir, Bill Sullivan at the Jonesville District of the Virginia Department of Transportation for information on the Wilderness Road Trail, and Joyce Lane at the Upper Valley Regional Park Authority for help with Grand Caverns and Natural Chimneys.
A tip of the writers' hat to the Virginia Chapter of The Nature Conservancyespecially Robert Riordan, director of communications, and Don Gowan, conservation program specialist at the Conservancy's Clinch Valley Bioreserve.
We're also indebted to Michele Wright with the Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce, Judy Watkins and Martha Steger with the Virginia Division of Tourism, Geraldine Wilmer at Natural Bridge, Mark Glickman at Wintergreen, Betty Scott at the Grayson County Tourist Information Center, F. William Ravlin, gypsy moth researcher in the Department of Entomology at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and Nancy Hugo with the Virginia Native Plant Society who supplied information on the wildflowers of Thompson Wildlife Management Area.
And we can't forget Wesley Baugher, the always-on-time driver for Federal Express.