Marshall Forest: 

The only virgin forest within the city limits of any city in the USA.

Rome is the home to Marshall Forest - the only virgin forest with in a city's limits in the United States. It is also probably the only virgin forest in the Ridge and Valley Province which extends from Pennsylvania to Alabama.

Maclean Marshall, naturalist and philanthropist, inherited the forest from his family who had purchased the forest in 1880. The land had been preserved for "preservation's sake". A large portion of the forest is old-growth forest and much has never been cut by humans. It is home to over 300 species of plants, as well as numerous animals, mushrooms, and other living organisms.

On October 12, 1966, the Marshall Forest was dedicated as a National Natural Landmark, the first of its kind in the state of Georgia. In 1976, just before Marshall's death, he gave the 100-acre forest and 120 additional acres of fields and woods to the Nature Conservancy which is dedicated to "preserving unique" natural areas through the United States.

Five nature trails exist on the preserve along with a Braille Trail. The trails are self-guided and travel on the southwest side of the forest, with plant identification tags and 20 stations with plaques written in Braille and English. The trail can be easily walked in 30 minutes.

The forest is about 250 acres in size. About 75 acres on the Coosa River flood plain was probably n farmed at one time. Seventy acres on the Mt. Alto side of the forest were added in 1985 and was not part of the original Marshall estate. Only about 75 to 100 acres of the original forest remains uncut.

Friends of the Marshall Forest is a local group who, with the Georgia Chapter of the Nature Conservancy, manage the park. Tours for students, scientists and nature lovers are no longer offered.

More information on Marshall Forest.