West Virginians for Public Lands – June 2018

Fayetteville Goes to Washington

A strong contingent of West Virginians for Public Lands alliance members made the trip to Washington D.C. to advocate for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Paul Breuer, owner of Country Roads Cabins, and Rhea Mitchell, a WVPL Volunteer Leader and member of the New River Alliance of Climbers spent a day at the Capitol sharing what LWCF has meant to them.

The lobby team had an opportunity to speak personally with Senator Manchin and Representative Jenkins on the importance of LWCF. Great job, Paul and Rhea!

Add your voice! Send a letter to West Virginia’s congressional delegation supporting the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Farm Bill That Hurts National Forests Creeps Along

The endangered Cheat Mountain Salamander makes it home in the Monongahela National Forest. Photo by Kent Mason.

The House of Representatives went back to the drawing board after the original Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, otherwise known as the Farm Bill, failed to pass in May. The new House Farm Bill passed on June 21, but the revision did not include removing controversial provisions that would harm the public’s stake in our national forests. The House Farm Bill creates Forest Service exemptions from the Endangered Species Act, eliminates environmental reviews for most forest management projects under 9 square miles, and provides a loophole to circumvent the Roadless Rule.  

The Senate will be voting on their own version of the Farm Bill soon. As of press time, that version of the bill was free from harmful conservation riders. A conference committee between the House and the Senate will sort out the differences in the two Farm Bills.

We’ll need your voice to help ensure our National Forests and Roadless Areas remain protected during that collaborative process. Help us protect these places by speaking up for roadless! Use our map to find your favorite roadless area and then share your story, what roadless-ness means to you, and photos with the West Virginians for Public Lands communications team at dlillard@wvrivers.org.

Senators Secure More Funding for Canaan Valley NWR

Photo by the Parsons Advocate.

The Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, currently housed in a re-purposed restaurant, will finally get a dedicated building as a result of work by Senator Capito and Senator Manchin to secure $7 million for the project in the FY19 federal budget. Senator Manchin remarked that the new facility will “provide improved environmental education opportunities for those visiting from around the country to pursue the outdoor recreation and sportsmen’s opportunities the refuge has to offer.” Senator Capito shared that she will continue work to “ensure this project meets the goals and needs of West Virginians and anyone who enjoys and appreciates the natural beauty at Canaan Valley.”

Public Lands Business Alliance Spotlight: Cimarolli Forestry & Wildlife

Amy Cimarolli, owner of Cimarolli Forestry & Wildlife, offers consulting services for forestry as well as for land and wildlife conservation projects. Her goals are to advance the conservation of West Virginia’s forests and natural heritage resources by working with private landowners and conservation groups in the management and protection of these resources.

“We support public lands because they provide natural resource professionals — practitioners, researchers, and teachers — access to a wide range of places in which to learn, experiment, and teach about our state’s rich forest heritage,” said Amy.

“They are informing and educating future generations of landowners, foresters, loggers, ecologists, entomologists, and all others who learn in forests.”

WV Rivers Trains Public Lands Leaders

Six volunteers from around the state joined West Virginia Rivers Coalition in Charleston on June 9 to learn how to become leaders in the fight for our public lands. There was lots of experience and camaraderie in the room as the group worked through sessions on our public lands system, strategic campaign planning, organizing and communications tools, and honing their personal public lands “story.” And everyone appreciated the chance to cool off with free ice cream generously donated by Ellen’s Homemade Ice Cream.

If you or your organization or business is interested in hosting a public lands advocacy training, please contact mkearns@wvrivers.org

Friends of the Highland Scenic Highway Cleanup

WVPL Alliance partner Friends of the Highland Scenic Highway (FOHSH) had 23 volunteers attend their annual roadside cleanup on Sunday June 24. FOHSH was founded to mow along WV150 in Pocahontas County, better known as the Highland Scenic Highway, to eliminate the need to use potentially harmful herbicides that could run off into the headwaters of the Williams or Cranberry Rivers. Mac Gray, a founding member of FOHSH remarks that “if you have ever driven or cycled across the length of the Highland Scenic Highway, you will have a good understanding of the natural beauty of the area that I am fortunate to call home. If you have not, you should make it a point to visit.” Thank you to all Friends of the Highland Scenic Highway for your hard work!

Public Lands In the News

Gene Kistler, owner of Water Stone Outdoors shares what the Land and Water Conservation Fund has done for West Virginia’s outdoor economy.

The West Virginia Lands Trust’s Brent Bailey explains why the Land and Water Conservation Fund is so important for West Virginia.

Explore: Upcoming Outings and Events on Public Lands

July 6-8: Say hello to WVPL Volunteer Leader Matt Powell at Solar Fest!

July 10: The Cheat-Potomac Ranger District of the Monongahela National Forest is hosting an Open House in Circleville.

July 14: WVPL Volunteer Leader Frank Gifford and WVPL Partner Watoga State Park Foundation are leading an Old Growth Hike at 8am from the Anne Bailey Trailhead.

July 15: Another Old Growth Hiking opportunity with WVPL Alliance partner Friends of Blackwater and master naturalist Doug Wood.

July 26: WVPL Business Alliance Member and volunteers from the Fayetteville area are producing a public lands benefit concert at The Grove. Add it to your calendar and stay tuned for more!

August 8: Meet for a Public Lands “Lunch and Learn” at noon at the Wellsburg Public Library. Bring a bag lunch and hear about the threats facing our system of public lands.

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