West Virginians for Public Lands – April 2018

Celebrate The Mon’s 98th birthday

Celebrate the Mon during Discover Nature Day at the Seneca Rocks Visitor Center this Saturday, April 28.

Saturday April 28th marks the 98th birthday of the Monongahela National Forest. The “Mon” was established in 1920 after the Weeks Act allowed the Forest Service to purchase land in the eastern US for the creation of new national forests to protect Appalachian headwaters. You can celebrate the Mon at “Discover Nature Day” this Saturday, 4/28, at Seneca Rocks. Activities include the Garlic Mustard Challenge and live snakes and birds of prey!

Roadless Rule Still Challenged, Threatening Wild Areas

Places like Roaring Plains (pictured), Tea Creek, and Seneca Creek are known for their intact habitat, clean water, and outstanding recreation opportunities. Photo by Kent Mason.

Attacks on the Forest Service’s Roadless Rule continue after West Virginians for Public Lands partners helped beat back controversial anti-roadless “riders” in the 2018 federal budget. The State of Alaska has petitioned the Forest Service to open up remote backcountry areas to taxpayer-subsidized road building for commercial development of public lands. WVPL partners signed on to a letter to Department of Agriculture Secretary Perdue asking him to deny Alaska’s petition. Exempting certain forests or states from Roadless Rule protections could jeopardize roadless areas here in the Mountain State.

Volunteers Make a Big Impact

Four West Virginia University students are making a difference for public lands. Emily McDougal, president of the Sierra Club Student Coalition, Joellen Stivala, Josh Bauer, and Haley Whitham came away from WVPL’s volunteer leadership workshop in March motivated to inspire their fellow college students to protect West Virginia’s public lands. Recently, they represented the WVPL alliance at WVU’s Earth Day Celebration. Thanks for your support and action!

Volunteer Opportunity: Cheat Fest

Join the fun at Cheat Fest, WVPL partner organization Friends of the Cheat’s annual celebration of the Cheat River! We will be tabling and we’re looking for a volunteer to help out from 2pm – 8pm on Saturday, May 5. If you can volunteer your time, we’ll cover your Cheat Fest ticket! Contact WVPL Volunteer Coordinator Megan Hamilton at mhamilton@wvrivers.org for more info!

Partner Spotlight: Watoga State Park Foundation

West Virginia’s largest state park is lucky to have the Watoga State Park Foundation. Since 2015, the Foundation has promoted the recreation, conservation, ecology, and history of the park. The Watoga State Park Foundation hosts popular events like April’s Wild Edibles Festival, and August’s Mountain Trail Challenge.

Ken Springer, the Foundation’s Vice President, plays an essential role in maintaining Watoga’s 40 miles of hiking trails and he regularly posts informative and humorous trail reports to his Hike Watoga Facebook page. The Foundation is also taking a leading role to document and protect the old growth forests recently discovered in the park.

Businesses for Public Lands: Blackwater Outdoor Adventures

Patrick McCann, owner of Blackwater Outdoor Adventures in Tucker County, has stepped up for public lands. As a member of the West Virginians for Public Lands Business Alliance, Patrick has helped recruit other businesses to the WVPL alliance. Patrick believes that public lands are important to our identity of “Wild and Wonderful,” provide critical habitat for wildlife, and protect wild spaces for the human spirit. His business, Blackwater Outdoor Adventures, operates a campground on the Cheat River and offers guided trips that include canoeing, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, tubing and whitewater rafting.

Sportsman’s Corner: Cassie Moats

Big game hunting guide and owner of Mountaineer Outfitters, Cassie Moats penned a beautiful piece on what roadless areas across America mean to her. Her business has partnered with McFly Outdoors in Bridgeport to sponsor a social media public lands photo contest thru May 4th. Follow @McFly_Outdoors and @WVpubliclands and use the hashtag #thislandisourlandWV to enter.

Events on Public Lands

April 28: Discover Nature Day

May 12-19: New River Climbing Alliance Trail Maintenance

Spring and Summer: WV State Parks Event Calendar
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