National Park or National Forest; park ranger or forest ranger…?

There is a big difference between a national park and a national forest.

The Blue Ridge Parkway's status as a national park the reason why the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is using a Horizontal Directional Drill at Wintergreen's entryway to go under the famous two-lane blacktop road and not digging the standard trench being used where they are putting the pipeline in the national forest.

 The  green area on Google maps  that includes and surrounds Wintergreen is what is in the "national forest."

The green area on Google maps that includes and surrounds Wintergreen is what is in the "national forest."

The Blue Ridge Parkway that borders much of the Wintergreen mountain community on the west is a national park. Park rangers working for the National Park Service under the Department of Interior are the managers.

  Sherando Lake,  just a few minutes from the Wintergreen gatehouse, is a "recreation area" managed by the US Forest Service, which is part of USDA. It's not a national park.

Sherando Lake, just a few minutes from the Wintergreen gatehouse, is a "recreation area" managed by the US Forest Service, which is part of USDA. It's not a national park.

The Appalachian Trail (and Wintergreen) resides mostly within a national forest. National forests are managed by forest rangers with the US Forest Service under the Department of Agriculture.

National parks such as the Blue Ridge Parkway emphasize strict preservation of pristine areas. They focus on protecting natural and historic resources "unimpaired for future generations." 

National forests, on the other hand, emphasize not only resource preservation but other kinds of use as well. National forests include recreation such as Wintergreen. Under a concept of "multiple use," national forests are managed to provide citizens with a wide variety of services and commodities, including lumber, cattle grazing, mineral products and recreation. Private property ownership within a national forest is not an exception.

  The Blue Ridge Parkway  that runs to the west of Wintergreen is a National Park.

The Blue Ridge Parkway that runs to the west of Wintergreen is a National Park.

Adjoining national parks and national forests will have different rules. For example, national parks usually forbid hunting, while some national forests allow it. Dogs can be taken on national forest trails, but not those in national parks. National forests may provide some trails for motorcycles; national parks do not. Both agencies have designated wilderness areas where the agencies strive for maximum protection of natural landscapes. 

A perfectly legal activity in a national forest may get you cited before a court of law in a national park.

The strict rules that apply to national parks has been an ongoing issue for Wintergreen in their efforts to establish additional emergency exit routes onto the Blue Ridge Parkway for its mountain community.

Wintergreen's location in a national forest has seldom been an issue. Gifford Pinchot, named the first Chief of the Forest Service in 1905, summed up the mission of the Forest Service that oversee the national forests: "to provide the greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of people in the long run."

Wintergreen is within the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests that covers the Appalachian Mountains, extending from one end of Virginia to the other and even crossing into parts of West Virginia and Kentucky. The office is located in Roanoke, Va. Wintergreen is part of the Glenwood-Pedlar Ranger District: 
Glenwood-Pedlar Ranger District
27 Ranger Lane
Natural Bridge Station, VA 24579
540-291-2188

Adapted from the US National Park Service website