The environmental movement of the early 1970s paved the way for even more changes in state forest management. The public demand for protection of natural areas with botanical and wildlife significance led to the creation of “natural areas” on some state forestlands.
The movement also led to the declaration of the Shawnee Wilderness Area in Scioto and Adams counties. Goll Woods in Fulton County, and Little Rocky and Sheick Hollows in Hocking were also being managed by the Division of Forestry to protect each of the areas' unique ecological values.
For a short period following the separation of Reclamation and Forestry, the Division name was changed to the Division of Forests and Preserves to acknowledge this broadened view.
As public interest for this type of protection expanded, and more areas were acquired, the legislature once again responded with the creation of the Division of Natural Areas & Preserves in 1975. These unique habitats were transferred to the newly created division, leaving the Division of Forestry to again reacquaint itself with its original mission: the practice of forestry.
Today, the Division of Forestry manages with its original purpose in mind. Yet, management has broadened to ensure that other natural resource values, including soil and water quality, endangered species, wildlife habitat, and back-country recreation are protected or enhanced.