Finding Peace in Nature: Shockey’s Knob

“The most important political office is that of the private citizen.”

–Louis D. Brandeis, Associate Supreme Court Justice 1916-1939

Dear Friend of WV Rivers,

Have you ever gotten cold feet?

You know, that feeling you get sometimes where you can’t take one more step, where you become immobilized by anxiety, or the fear of messing up, of doing something new and unknown.

Have you ever gotten cold feet…about getting cold feet?

A few weeks ago, we put our wool socks to the test and explored all possible interpretations of the term “cold feet” during a snow-bound hike to Shockey’s Knob.

Trudging through the snow on the back side of High Rock.

To hike to Shockey’s Knob, which is located at the far southern tip of Sleepy Creek Wildlife Management Area, you’ll park at the Brush Creek Access off Route 45 in Glengary. The full loop is about 7 miles total – 2.5 miles uphill and over a stream to High Rock; 2.5 miles south on the Tuscarora Trail to Shockey’s Knob; and 2 miles of downhill switchbacks and a stream crossing on the Millrace Trail back to the parking lot. (Please note – there is an active shooting range that runs parallel to the Millrace Trail. I personally recommend only accessing this trail during the range’s off hours.)

The views from High Rock into Berkeley County, and from Shockey’s Knob into Morgan County, are well worth the – you guessed it – cold feet. This is more of a challenging hike, so be prepared for a workout. You’ll warm up soon enough!

For additional great hikes in this area, check out other parts of Sleepy Creek WMA, including Devil’s Nose.

View from High Rock into Berkeley County.

View from the overlook south of Shockey’s Knob into Morgan County.

Just as you may get cold feet about hiking through the snow (literally and figuratively), you may at times find yourself getting cold feet about another topic – advocating for clean water.

What does advocacy mean, and why is it important?

Advocacy is simply embracing your role as a private citizen to express your voice and educate elected officials about what’s important to you. As a supporter of West Virginia Rivers Coalition, we know you share in our passion for protecting clean water through policy that protects streams and rivers and holds polluters accountable.

Here in the eastern panhandle, we’ve led two virtual meetings on citizen advocacy with local members of the Choose Clean Water Coalition.

On February 23, we hosted a community conversation to discuss WV Rivers’ water policy priorities. We were joined in that conversation by representatives from 15 organizations across West Virginia, as well as WV Delegates John Doyle, Evan Hansen, and Kayla Young.

On March 2-3, WV Rivers led a team of 10+ West Virginians in virtual meetings with our elected officials in DC to make federal appropriations requests. We thank Congressman Mooney and Senator Capito for meeting with us, and appreciate meeting with staff for Representatives Miller and McKinley and Senator Manchin.

Advocacy – private citizens educating elected officials about clean water policy – was at the core of these meetings, and it lives deep within our roots at WV Rivers. In early March, we hosted a statewide “People’s Public Hearing” on HB2598, a dangerous bill that exempts oil and gas tanks from the Aboveground Storage Tank Act. More than 30 citizens participated in the virtual People’s Public hearing and so far over 1,100 people have summited comments through WV Rivers digital advocacy tool on the bill. .

If you are interested in learning about the 2021 West Virginia legislative session head over to WV Rivers’ water policy webpage. There you’ll find opportunities for citizen advocacy and resources on the legislation that affects our water.

When we talk to people about being advocates for clean water, they sometimes take a step back. They become immobilized by anxiety, or the fear of messing up, of doing something new and unknown. They get cold feet.

I’m here to tell you that you shouldn’t step back from advocacy, but rather step up. Your role as private citizen – as a clean water advocate – is truly the most important political office you can hold. WV Rivers will be there to support you every step of the way.

So don’t get cold feet. Welcome to office, your term begins now.

To clean water and clean hands (and warm socks),

Looks like we’re on the right track…

Tanner Haid, Eastern Panhandle Field Coordinator

PS – if you haven’t already, sign-up to receive our weekly Water Policy Updates during the WV legislative session on policies that affect our water resources, and simple actions you can take to keep your water safe.

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