West Virginians for Public Lands — December 2017

News from Washington, DC:
Roadless Areas and National Monuments

Tongass National Forest. Photo by Mark Brennan.

The latest threat to public lands in Congress is the proposed opening of 15 million acres on Alaska’s Tongass National Forest to roadbuilding for timber operations. The 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule enables the Forest Service to place certain sections of each national forest off limits to new roads. The Tongass action could have direct impact on West Virginia. If the measure is successful, it would likely lead to further reductions of roadless areas in other national forests, like the Monongahela. Some of our state’s most beloved recreation areas are designated as roadless, places like Gauley Mountain, Seneca Creek, and Roaring Plains. We’ll be calling on you soon to speak out against this.

Have you signed our petition to show West Virginians oppose gutting Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments? You can today! Already signed? Share this blog with a friend and ask them to sign!

Partner Focus: Christians for the Mountains

Christians For The Mountains is a network advocating that Christians and their churches recognize their God-given responsibility to live compatibly, sustainably, and gratefully joyous upon God’s earth. As a nondenominational and non-partisan, network, CFTM takes a critical stance to advocate for justice, righteousness, and peace for the land and its inhabitants. CFTM coordinator Allen Johnson upholds these principles as a leading voice for public lands and clean water and air in the Appalachians. Allen also brings his quiet leadership to WVPL Work Group, which meets regularly to chart actions to defend public lands.

WVPL Business Partner: Rocky Mountain Rafts

Rocky Mountain Rafts is the fastest growing raft manufacturer in the country — and one of our newest business alliance members.

RMR moved their base of operations from Colorado to Fayette County, West Virginia in January 2017. Assistant General Manager Julie Jones has a lifelong passion for the outdoors and West Virginia’s public lands.

We’re stoked to have Julie’s experience and energy on the WVPL Business Alliance Steering Committee.

Faces of WVPL: Marlene Dial

Native West Virginian Marlene Dial cares about our state’s public lands. “West Virginians use our outdoors probably more than folks in other states,” says Marlene. “When I go hiking, I want those woods to still be there.” Marlene has put her commitment into action.

In November, she trained as a West Virginians for Public Lands volunteer leader. Since then, she has given presentations and shared information with outdoor clubs and submitted a letter to the editor.

An avid hiker, Marlene calls Charleston home and spends time at her place near Summersville, where she frequently swims in the lake. Thanks, Marlene, for your great service!

Explore WV Public Lands: Endless Wall Trail

The overlook at Diamond Point on the Endless Wall Trail offers sweeping views of the New River. Photo by Jeff Bartlett.

Voted “Best National Park Hike” in USA Today in 2015, Endless Wall Trail (a.k.a. Fern Creek) is one of the most visited trails in the New River Gorge National River. The moderate, 2.4-mile hike threads through a hemlock forest, crosses Fern Creek, and scrambles up through rhododendron tunnels, following the rim of the gorge. From the overlook at Diamond Point there are sweeping views of the New River rapids. While busy in summer with hikers and climbers heading to the sandstone cliffs dropping 1,000 feet below, in winter months you’ll likely have Endless Wall all to yourself. From the Canyon Rim Visitor Center go north on Route 19 and turn right on Lansing-Edmund Road. In 1.3 miles the Fern Creek parking lot is on the right.

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