Geomorphology and Plant Ecology of the Shenandoah Valley: Waterlick to Strasburg, Virginia

Geomorphology and Plant Ecology of the Shenandoah Valley: Waterlick to Strasburg, Virginia

Editor(s): W. R. Osterkamp, J. T. Hack, C.R. Hupp, C. G. Olson, W. C. Sherwood

Published Online: 17 MAR 2013

Print ISBN: 9780875905587

Online ISBN: 9781118670200

DOI: 10.1002/9781118670200

About this Book

Published by the American Geophysical Union as part of the Field Trip Guidebooks Series, Volume 350.

The Shenandoah Valley of Virginia (fig. 1), including its physiographic extensions to the north and south, is an area intimately associated with the 18th-century development of the United States as a frontier-minded Nation. It was an area of central importance to the political health of the Nation during the mid-19th century, when issues of economics and slavery divided the country and precipitated the American Civil War (1861-65). And it is an area whose landforms and vegetation served as principal stimulations for development of thought in geomorphology and forest ecology in the 20th-century.

The Shendo Indians were among the first documented inhabitants of the Shenandoah Valley and give the valley and its largest rivers their names. The first permanent settlements by Europeans started in the early part of the 18th century as a result of land grants to selected families. As farms and towns developed along the bottomlands of the Shenandoah Valley, the early Indian trails running northeast to southwest along the axis of the valley gave way to a wagon road of the pioneers, it to a stage road that was converted to the Valley Turnpike after 1830, and it to the present (1988) U.S. Route 11. Prior to the Civil War, the Valley Turnpike was macadamized, providing an advantage in military mobility to whichever army controlled the road. Much of the travel during this field trip is to be along U.S. Route 11 or its modern equivalent, Interstate 81.

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