WV Public Lands: Mon Forest Report, July Event in Tucker Co.

New Report Summarizing Mon National Forest Listening Sessions

Hot off the press! We have the final report resulting from last Fall’s community listening project on the Monongahela National Forest.

The virtual and in-person listening sessions brought together individuals and groups who use the Mon Forest for hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, and other recreation activities. Participants discussed their ideas to improve the Mon Forest.

Common themes included assuring access for all abilities and communities not traditionally using public lands; enhancing trail maintenance and signage; and protecting wilderness areas within the Mon from overuse

In addition to access, overuse, and maintenance almost all participants were concerned about water quality. The rivers, streams, springs and wetlands in the Mon Forest are among the cleanest waters in West Virginia. Headwaters born in the Mon flow into major river systems like the Ohio and the Potomac. They are crucial for recreation, local economies, and drinking water. In fact, West Virginia is known as the “water tower of the east.” The streams born in our mountains eventually provide clean water to 9% of the nation’s population!

Now, we are hosting community meetings to further explore potential policies that would address these concerns, in particular the critical need to protect the abundant freshwater in the Monongahela National Forest. Watch upcoming issues of Public Lands News for more information.

If you would like to know more about this report, possible protections for Mon Forest headwaters, or would like us to talk to your group about the recommendations, please email Mike Jones.

Supreme Court Rules in West Virginia vs. EPA

Last week, the US Supreme Court ruled in a case called West Virginia vs. EPA. The case related to an Obama era rule aimed at limiting greenhouse gas emissions from powerplants. Although the rule was never enacted, it became a target of coal producing states.

In their ruling, the Supreme Court said that the EPA cannot regulate greenhouse gas emissions by ordering power plants to convert to renewable energy sources. Understanding the ruling and its potential repercussions can be confusing. Here’s a good article from ProPublica discussing the ruling and what it could mean for environmental law. We’re monitoring the ruling and what it could mean for clean air and water on our public lands and throughout West Virginia.

Meet Your Public Lands – National Heritage Areas

Twin Falls State Park is one of the beautiful destinations within the National Coal Heritage Area. Photo by WV State Parks. 

Our public lands are more than just wild places like National Forests, Parks or Wildlife Refuges. They celebrate our culture through National Heritage Areas. In fact, did you know West Virginia has three National Heritage Areas? There is the National Coal Heritage Area spanning 13 counties in Southern West Virginia, the Wheeling Heritage Area, and the Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area the most recently designated Heritage Area.

Like many federal designations, Heritage Areas do not affect privately owned lands. Heritage Areas bring tourism and economic benefits as they highlight areas “designated by Congress as places where natural, cultural, and historic resources combine to form a cohesive, nationally important landscape.” Learn more about Heritage Areas and make a plan to explore these special places!

Join the Fun at the Tucker County Rivers Celebration– July 23

We work hard. So, let’s have fun in Hendricks along the Black Fork of the Cheat. On July 23, join WV Rivers for a day of free family friendly activities. Enjoy the private swimming hole on site, try out river snorkeling, learn about mushroom foraging, and enjoy the beauty of Tucker County!

Before the activities get started, join us for FREE “Lunch & Learn” as we review the new Mon National Forest report. We’ll discuss the report, the policy recommendations and will have time for a Q&A. Sandwiches will be served. Sign-up for the “Lunch & Learn” and FREE activities!

In the evening, we’ll be hosting a ticketed after party featuring a buffet catered by White Grass Café, beer from Stumptown Brewery, and live music! Tickets to the after party are limited – don’t wait snag your tickets now! Free camping is available on site.

WVPL Celebrates Clean Water

Folks enjoy a pontoon boat tour during the Clean Water Act 50th Anniversary. Many thanks to WV Rivers board member Paul Breuer for being an excellent captain and tour guide!

West Virginians for Public Lands celebrated the beautiful Cacapon River during the First Annual Riverfest, June 17-18. We got to talk with a lot of folks about West Virginia rivers and the importance of our Public Lands. The Friends of the Cacapon are promising an event next year, and we’ll be there. Find out more about what they are doing to protect the Cacapon, and to keep WV Wild and Wonderful here. We also were a part of the 50th Birthday Celebration of the Clean Water Act, check out news coverage here.

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