Public Lands Update: New River Park & Preserve, Roadless Rule

 New River Gorge National Park and Preserve Proposal

New River Gorge National River Superintendent Lizzie Watts reviews maps of the proposed New River Park and Preserve. Photo by Chris Jackson, Register Herald.

On October 9, Senators Manchin and Capito and Congresswoman Miller held a public meeting in Fayetteville on a proposal to change the federal designation of the New River Gorge National River to the New River Gorge Park and Preserve. The Park and Preserve would create four areas designated as National Parks – Thurmond, Grandview, Standstone, and from Nuttalburg to Hawks Nest Dam. An additional 65,000 acres would be designated as Preserve land, which allows hunting. Review maps of the proposed Park and Preserve here.

During the meeting, WV Rivers asked how the designation change would affect visitor experience, environmental protection, and park funding. We’ll continue to closely follow the proposal and be the voice for public access and sound environmental management. Read more about the meeting here.

Crunch Time for the Land & Water Conservation Fund

We’ve been celebrating the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) all year, and now, it’s crunch time for this critical federal program to receive the funding it deserves! We have 30 days to get Congress to pass legislation that fully funds LWCF – take action here.

Full funding would mean that all projects identified to receive LWCF benefits in 2020 would receive the money they need. In West Virginia, this includes a project to expand the Monongahela National Forest, and a project that would expand the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests.

The Land & Water Conservation Fund is a powerful tool to acquire and support beautiful places for everyone to enjoy. We can’t let time run out on fully funding LWCF! Take action today!

Keep Our National Forests Wild — Comment on the Roadless Rule by December 17

Roaring Plains is one of the Monongahela National Forest’s wild roadless areas. Photo by Kent Mason.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is seeking public comment on a proposal to change the management of roadless areas in Alaska. If adopted, the proposal would exempt the Tongass National Forest from the 2001 Roadless Rule.

What is the Roadless Rule? The “Roadless Rule” was established by the US Forest Service in 2001 after an extensive inventory and mapping of undeveloped public lands. It prohibits road construction for logging and mining in designated backcountry areas. In West Virginia, there are 182,000 roadless acres throughout our three National Forests — 162,000 in the Monongahela National Forest, 15,700 in the George Washington National Forest, and 4,800 in the Jefferson National Forest.

If adopted, the changes to the Alaska Roadless Rule would set a precedent for other states to be exempt.  Share your comments with the USDA on why you love the remote areas of national forests and why they should remain roadless in all states!

National Public Lands Day Celebrate at Little Beaver State Park

WV Rivers’ West Virginians for Public Lands campaign and Conservation Legacy’s Stewards Individual Placement Program brought community members of all ages together in celebration of the places that make West Virginia Wild and wonderful, our public lands.

In honor of National Public Lands Day, September 28, community members spent the day at Little Beaver State Park doing trail maintenance and learning public lands conservation programs like the Land and Water Conservation Fund. With live music, great raffle prizes and even better company, our National Public Lands Day celebration left everyone feeling inspired to get outside and take part in caring for the land and water we share.

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