West Virginians for Public Lands – August 2017

Advocates Brace for DOI Monument Recommendations

Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument was donated to the U.S. specifically to for a national monument.

Interior Secretary Zinke’s review of two dozen national monuments, due August 24, will likely recommend that the president or congress downsize or eliminate some of them. Why does this matter to all of us in West Virginia? Because it’s widely seen as a way to chip away at national public lands, as well as the laws and policies that we rely on for recreation access, fish and wildlife habitat, and ecological integrity. You can help! Please forward this email to two friends, and ask them to sign up for the West Virginians for Public Lands news and alerts.

WVPL Partner Focus: Friends of the Cheat

FOC staff and board at their North Fork Greens Railroad Refuse AMD treatment site this spring.

When we think of Friends of the Cheat, we might think of being on the water in the canyon or having a blast at the annual Cheat Fest. Those good times are made possible by the incredible people at FOC who have worked to clean up the Cheat, continue its restoration, and expand recreational access along the river. FOC also is a founding partner in West Virginia for Public Lands. Staff and board have helped spread the public lands message, had articles published, and helped get this alliance off the ground.

Public Lands Stories: A Public Lands Romance

Public lands have shaped Kathleen Tyner’s life and memories, from catching her first trout on Glade Creek, to digging ramps in The Mon, to that magical moment when a grouse takes flight, to the finding the love of her life. Read her story here.

Faces for Public Lands: Geoff Heeter

Geoff Heeter and daughter Erin, front, on a recent visit to Sen Manchin’s Charleston office.

Hats off the Geoff Heeter, owner of Opossum Creek Retreat in Lansing, WV. Geoff joined WV Rivers on a recent meeting with Senator Manchin’s staff in Charleston to share how public lands brought him to the state and powered his business and volunteer work here. He came to West Virginia in the 1980s to work as a raft guide on the Gauley, and in 2000 co-founded the New River Birding and Nature Festival, which primarily takes place on public lands. Geoff is nurturing the next generation of public lands leaders, too. His daughter Erin joined him on his visit to Senator Manchin’s office.

Do You Know Your Appalachian Critters?

Photo: U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Near threatened hellbenders (or snot puppies) are found primarily in clean, fast-moving mountain streams in WV. They can grow to be 70 years old and two-feet long. Living underwater they have adapted to breathe through their mucous skins. West Liberty University houses the world’s first lab to hatch hellbender eggs. Many of WLU’s little hellbenders go to streams and rivers in the Monongahela National Forest, where the streams flow fast and clean, to help restore hellbender populations.

Two Events for Public Lands

Elkspedition Picnic & Paddle – Sept. 4

On Labor Day afternoon you’re invited to join a 3.5 mile float trip on the Elk River. After the paddle, you’ll be treated to a good old-fashioned BBQ picnic, featuring live music with The Dread Pirate, Roberts. The Elkspedition Picnic & Paddle is FREE, but you need to register. Register here.

Rather not paddle and just want to picnic? Save your seat at the FREE picnic, register hereRegistration is required to join the picnic.

Celebrate the Outdoor Economy with BBQ in Fayetteville

Join Water Stone Outdoors in Fayetteville August 31, 5–7:30pm for free BBQ from Gourmet on the Gorge. Mingle with the outdoorsy crew from Water Stone, and celebrate the outdoors with the energetic outdoor recreation entrepreneurs of Fayetteville, and learn how you help #SaveOurWVPublicLands. Click here for more information.

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