WV Public Lands Update: December 2020

Climate Change and How Public Lands Can Help

When people talk about why they love public lands, few people mention the connection to climate change mitigation. Who knew we can help reverse climate change by preserving forests and waterbodies?

Protecting our wild lands and waters helps to mitigate climate change by storing and removing carbon through a process known as “carbon sequestration.” Essentially, by protecting natural outdoor spaces and resources, we are combating climate change. The more carbon that is stored and removed through natural processes, the less carbon dioxide will reach the atmosphere. This is considered a “natural solution” to climate change and helps slow down the depletion of the ozone layer.

Ultimately, reducing our dependency on fossil fuels is not enough to slow down the negative effects of climate change, such as incredibly severe storms, dangerous temperature fluctuations, and air pollution. However, academic literature suggests natural solutions can provide over one-third of cost-effective climate change mitigation needed by 2030. In June, the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis stated the need for natural climate solutions in a recent report called “Solving the Climate Crisis.”

Then, in August, a report from the U.S. Senate Democrats’ Special Committee on the Climate Crisis also referenced the need to protect wild lands and waters to fight climate change.

While West Virginia is one of the most forested states in the country, there is great potential here for natural climate solutions. Let’s hold our representatives accountable to these action plans. It’s time for national climate change policy that includes protecting wild lands and waterways. Sign our petition and tell Senator Manchin why addressing climate change is important to you.

Public Lands Business Alliance Spotlight: Pete Hobbie Woodworks

The West Virginians for Public Lands alliance is excited to announce one of our most recent business endorsers. Thank you Pete Hobbie Woodworks for supporting our work!

Pete Hobbie, of Hampshire County, is a woodworker with more than three decades of experience, ranging from traditional hand-carved utensils (treenware) to the hand-built mountain home he and his family live in. He builds custom acoustic instruments, specializing in guitars and banjos, as well as free-form, hand-carved custom furniture. All materials are locally sourced, sustainably harvested or upcycled from previous projects and other sources. Looking to support local businesses this holiday season? Check out his homemade spoons, bowls, and other goodies at https://www.petehobbie.com/

Endorsing West Virginians for Public Lands

Is your organization or business interested in endorsing the work of the WV Public Lands alliance? Here are a few things we’ve worked on lately:
  • We campaigned for the passage of the Great American Outdoors Act, which passed earlier this year!
    • Includes full and permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which means $900 million each year will go to support conservation and recreation projects on public lands.
  • We are working closely with the WV Development office on a guidance document (the Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan; SCORP) that explains how proposed public lands projects in WV are evaluated.
  • We’ve also been keeping a close eye on proposed Forest Service projects. For example, we evaluate environmental assessments and environmental impact statements.
  • We are advocating for the Public Engagement Opportunity on Public Lands Exploration (PEOPLE) Act of 2020.
    • This calls for more transparency and public engagement when it comes to decisions on how public lands are managed- more info HERE.
  • We are currently working on a Proactive Plan for the Monongahela National Forest.

There’s no cost or further obligation when endorsing the group. For more information, please contact Sarah Cross at scross@wvrivers.org.

New WV Rivers’ T-Shirt just in Time for the Holidays

Just in time for your holiday gifting are new WV Rivers’ t-shirts! Designed by West Virginia artist Rosalie Haizlett, the new t-shirts and stickers features the endangered candy darter. A tiny colorful fish found only in the New, Greenbrier and Gauley River watersheds. Stock is limited so snag your tee today! Buy your WV Rivers’ gear here.

All candy darter stickers and t-shirts will ship on December 18.  

Monongahela National Forest Access Updates

The Forest Service continues to provide guidance on use of developed recreational sites to keep visitors safe. You can find up-to-date information about access and restrictions within the Mon National Forest here.

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