King & Queen
Visitors to King and Queen County find themselves in a richly-forested landscape interspersed with wide open fields interrupted by the occasional winding road following a creek or stream. Soils are, for the most part, sandy and loamy in the bottomlands and a mix of alluvial deposits and finer clays in higher elevations, giving rise to the magnificent hardwood forests of the pre-colonial era.
Today, many of the hardwoods are gone. In their place grow loblolly or Virginia pines. Timber and timber products dominate the local and regional economy. Large tracts of pinelands rotate in different phases of succession, as demand for pulpwood and other pine products continues to grow. Once harvested, logs are trucked to mills in West Point, the Northern Neck, and points beyond.
Agriculture is equally important to the local economy. A variety of crops are grown, including wheat, barley, soybeans, corn, hay, and—a return to the cultivated landscape—cotton. Smaller operators are turning to fresh market, organically grown crops such as berries and vegetables, a trend welcomed by area residents. Cattle and swine operations continue to make up a small percentage of the overall farm trade.
The population of King and Queen County has remained fairly constant over the years, due to its history as a land-based economy. It is currently estimated at 6,600 people. Newer generations not tied to land traditions tend to migrate to more urbanized centers or commute to jobs outside of the county. Today, new industries looking to take advantage of a benevolent climate, a strong natural resource base, and a high quality of life have moved in. Sand and gravel mining, and the manufacture of kitty litter and potting soil offer employment opportunities to locals who no longer work on the family farm.
As King and Queen County moves into the 21st century, it is perfectly suited for tourism and water-based enterprises. With its location on the Mattaponi river, opportunities for outdoor recreation, hunting and fishing abound.