Cabwaylingo State Forest
Backstory and Context
Cabwaylingo State Forest is located in southern Wayne County, 25 miles south of the town of Wayne. The state forest encompasses 8,123 acres of dense forests along the western fork of Twelve Pole Creek. Its unique name is derived from the four counties which surround the forest: Cabell, Wayne, Lincoln, and Mingo. The state forest was established in 1935 by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).
The CCC was a national work program established as part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal project. It employed young men between the ages of 18 to 25 for various construction projects throughout the nation in an effort to put individuals back to work during the Great Depression. CCC camps were established throughout the state of West Virginia and were tasked primarily with reforestation and construction projects. Many former CCC camps, like Cabwaylingo, eventually became state forests and parks.
Cabwaylingo hosted two CCC camps. Camp Anthony Wayne was occupied by CCC Company 3532 from July 4th, 1935 to October 20, 1938. After Company 3532, the camp at Cabwaylingo was occupied by Company 1558V, comprised mostly of World War I veterans, until April 11, 1939. These companies reforested the 8,123 acres of the park, surveyed timber and wildlife, cleared trails, and constructed log cabins, a fire tower, kitchen, and barracks. Camp Twelvepole (or Aracoma) was occupied by CCC Company 3540 from July 7, 1935 to April 5, 1937. Company 3540 work projects included fire control, reforestation, recreational development, wild game management, land surveys.
Today, the state forest offers visitors many outdoor recreational opportunities including hunting, fishing, hiking, a swimming pool, and picnic areas. Visitors can stay at one of fifteen log cabins or at one of the twenty camping sites within the forest. The former Camp Anthony Wayne includes a dining hall, showers, and barracks which today is used as a group camp by local churches, schools, scouts, and other organizations. A bronze memorial stands within the state forest dedicated to the hard working CCC men who helped conserve this beautiful forest.