Finding Peace in Nature: Cacapon State Park

 “The river moves from land to water to land, in and out of organisms, reminding us what native peoples have never forgotten: that you cannot separate the land from the water, or the people from the land.” – Lynn Culbreath Noel, American Journalist

Dear Friend of WV Rivers,

Essential – this word seems to be coming up a lot these days. I hope this email finds you well, as personal health and well-being are essential.

As is being thankful.

We are immensely thankful for all of the positive messages we’ve received regarding our stories of finding peace in nature. From Yankauer Nature Preserve to Sam Michaels Park, from our outbox to your inbox, these stories have meant something to you, and that means everything to us. Your support is essential.

It is through this lens that we bring you this week’s story of finding peace in nature at Cacapon State Park.

Cacapon State Park, located a few miles south of Berkeley Springs, is the perfect get-out-of-the-house day trip. With over 6,000 acres to explore, this park features some of the best nature hikes in the area. (If you have kids, they’ll love this nature-based Scavenger Hunt!)

Speaking of essential, this park was developed using funds from one of the most important pieces of public lands legislation – the Land & Water Conservation Fund.

LWCF, as it’s commonly known, has funded more than 500 projects in 54 out of 55 West Virginia Counties, with a total of $241 million spent in our state since the program began in 1964. Already this year, nearly $200,000 in LWCF funds have been announced for public lands projects in Jefferson County.

LWCF is a resourceful program that uses royalties from offshore oil and gas production to provide funding to public lands maintenance and acquisition, but it has to be renewed each year. Right now, Congress has the opportunity to provide permanent full funding.

The funding bill is part of a historic public lands package called The Great American Outdoors Act. West Virginia’s Senator Manchin led the bill’s introduction to the Senate and is one of LWCF’s biggest champions. If passed, The Great American Outdoors Act would ensure the Land and Water Conservation Fund receives the funding it deserves.

WV Rivers’ mission of “Conserving and Restoring West Virginia’s Exceptional Rivers and Streams” is achieved in part by defending public lands and the policies that support them, like LWCF. To help ensure places like Cacapon State Park remain wild and wonderful, we coordinate West Virginians for Public Lands, a diverse alliance that works to enhance and protect our public lands and waters.

From our highest peak at Spruce Knob, to our lowest point at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park (both of which have received LWCF funds), and with every community in between, our land and water is what define us. They are our heritage. They are in every sense of the word, essential.

Land and water. Water and land. People. One.

Just as we cannot separate land from water, or people from the land, we cannot truly separate ourselves from each other. Despite our current social distances, we, too, are one, and oneness is (you guessed it), essential.

To clean water and clean hands,

Tanner Haid, Eastern Panhandle Field Coordinator

PS – when you go to Cacapon State Park, be sure to check their most recent travel alerts in response to COVID-19 and social distancing. Be mindful that all restrooms, cabins, and other amenities are closed, and “Leave No Trace” by cleaning up your trash, waste, and belongings before leaving the park.

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