West Virginians for Public Lands – June 2019
Meet WV Rivers’ Public Lands Coordinator, Rhea Mitchell
Welcome to the team, Rhea! If you’d like to send Rhea a welcome note, you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Senator Manchin Proposes New Bill to Fund Land and Water Conservation
This spring we shared the good news that Congress permanently reauthorized the Land & Water Conservation Fund. Now, Senator Manchin is working to make sure the program is fully funded. Last month, he introduced a new bipartisan bill that would appropriate $900 million in annual funding to LWCF. Learn more about Senator Manchin’s bill in an editorial by the Wheeling Intelligencer.
LWCF is an important program for West Virginia, to date the state has received $241 million from LWCF for conservation and recreation projects in 54 of our 55 counties. Learn more about LWCF here.
West Virginia Identifies Two Projects for 2020 LWCF Funding
Senator Manchin’s LWCF funding bill will make sure West Virginia’s public lands will receive a generous slice of the LWCF funding pie. West Virginia’s congressional delegation has prioritized two projects to receive LWCF funds in 2020.
In Pocahontas County, the US Forest Service has proposed to purchase 367-acres of land to expand the Monongahela National Forest. This land is located near the Gaudineer Scenic Area, a slice of old-growth forest. Read more here.
The second proposed project would expand sections of the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests which straddle the West Virginia and Virginia boarder.
In order to protect these special places we’re going to need your help to make sure a strong LWCF funding bill is passed by Congress. Stay tuned!
Local Climbers Encourage a Lifetime of Public Lands Stewardship Through (not)Work Week
Vista view of the New River National River from the (not)Work Week project. Photo by Jay Young, NRAC.
New River Alliance of Climbers (NRAC) board member and co-founder, Gene Kistler, had a vision for bringing climbing and trail stewardship together. In collaboration with the National Park Service at the New River National River, Gene and other local climbers drafted a plan and created the first (not)Work Week in 2015 to enhance access on pubic lands.
Why (not) work week you ask? Organizers chuckle when saying, “work + fun=not work”.
The weeklong project is held every May and draws volunteers from across West Virginia and surrounding states to improve trails within the New River National River boundaries. NRAC recognizes how important it is to have well maintained trails on public lands. Trails minimize impacts on the landscape and to promote sustainable recreation. Learn more about NRAC and (not)Work Week here.