Tell DNR What You Want in State Parks and Other Public Lands

Your advocacy worked! As you can read below, the State has rejected all the proposals for the Cacapon Resort State Park. Local folks and West Virginians statewide went to meetings, signed petitions, filed lawsuits, and sent emails. The State has now opened a survey where you can tell the Department of Natural Resources what you think should be in your WV State Parks and other state public lands.

Image of the Grist Mill on Glade Creek in Babcock State Park. The photo is taken from below the mill with the creek flowing below.

One question in the survey will have plenty of space for you to share all your ideas. Please include all your thoughts. Some ideas you might include are:

  • Stay true to the mission of State Parks: “promote conservation by preserving and protecting natural areas of unique or exceptional scenic, scientific, cultural, archaeological or historical significance.”
  • Our State Parks should not be profit centers for private developers for mega resorts or private amenities.
  • Recreation allowed in all state public lands should be nature-based and non-motorized.

Your efforts stopped the commercialization of Cacapon Resort State Park. But will your favorite State Park, Forest, or other public land be next? You can shape the future plans for our state lands by completing the survey. Please do this today. The survey closes soon! Have your voice heard.

Cacapon Park Saved: DNR Rejects All Mega Resort Proposals

There will be no mega RV park and private club amenities in Cacapon Resort State Park! The State canceled the April 18 public meeting. Days later, the State rejected all proposals. Local efforts and statewide public land supporters fought to keep Cacapon Park a unique and special WV place.

A bill passed in 2022, HB 4408, opened the door for private companies to develop projects and facilities in all state parks except for Watoga State Park. We are concerned that any project proposed under this new law is compatible with the purposes of public lands and is affordable for all West Virginians.

You may recall the Cacapon proposals included up to 350 RV slots with extensive amenities. One plan even included a “snowflex” clear-cutting a mountainside to create a year-round synthetic slide. Building a mega RV park and private amenities in Cacapon was a bad idea, negatively affecting existing road and wastewater infrastructure, causing substantial earth disturbance, and impacting the steep slope and mountain ridge top that makes Cacapon unique. Indian Run in Cacapon and the entire Sleepy Creek watershed were at risk.

This was the first test of last’s year new legislation allowing private development on our state lands. We are glad West Virginians said ‘no’ to this mega project incompatible with our Wild and Wonderful state public lands.

A bigger, better West Virginians for Public Lands

Members of the West Virginians for Public Lands met Thursday along the Shavers Fork of the Cheat River at the Mon Forest Stuart Recreation Area.

We discussed goals and policy objectives for public lands, how to build a larger network of groups and individuals all over West Virginia who love wild and wonderful public lands, and how to assure that all West Virginias have nearby access to the health and wellness benefits of nature-based, non-motorized recreation in our public lands.

Special shout out to local Elkins businesses: Tip Top for coffee and pastry treats; and lunch from Beanders.

We’ll be announcing policy priorities and new ways to get involved with the statewide group of folks enthusiastic about our local, state, and national public lands. In the meantime, feel free to email Mike Jones with your thoughts about how to build a network of public lands enthusiasts and what policies are important to you.

Charleston Public Lands Proposal

Several Charleston City Council members have filed a bill to ensure that Charleston plans for adequate public lands and spaces. The bill sets ambitious green space goals – having 75% of the people in Charleston within a 10-minute walk of a city park, keeping about half of Charleston’s public lands in its natural state for wildlife, and expanding Charleston’s public parks and lands to 5% of the total acreage of the city.

Studies show that urban parks and trees improve health outcomes and general quality of life.

Read the bill!

Image of the logo for the City of Charleston. It is a green circle with a tree in the center.

WV Rivers Seeking Ideas on Mon Forest Headwaters

West Virginia Rivers Coalition is asking West Virginians from all over the state to weigh in on how to best provide permanent safeguards to the Mon Forest headwaters. This ad will be appearing in the summer edition of Highland Outdoors.

This ad is a follow-up to the “Conversation on Headwaters” on March 23. Participants learned about the importance of Mon Forest headwaters, the efforts of the Forest Service, and discussed different ways to provide permanent safeguards for the Mon Forest headwaters. If you missed the presentation, or want to review it, here are the recording and the slides presented.

Folks all over the state can now give opinions for providing permanent safeguards to our Mon Forest Headwaters and what concerns you may have about new policies. Scan the QR code, fill out our survey, or click on the button below.

Image of an ad for a survey about the importance of the Mon. Forest Headwaters. There is an image of a waterfall and a lush green landscape in the background with the text "Why are the Mon. Forest Headwaters important." There is a QR Code and WV Rivers Logo on the ad.

Meet Your Public Lands – Babcock State Park

We started this newsletter with that iconic West Virginia photo. We all have it: the Gist Mill on Glades Creek. Did you know the mill was rebuilt from parts of three other local mills? It is still fully functional. You can even buy cornmeal at the giftshop ground at the mill.

Also iconic is Babcock State Park. Located just south of the New River Gorge, Babcock provides biking, boating, geocaching, and camping in more than 4,100 scenic acres. “Island in the Sky” trail (pictured with the trail along soaring cliff faces), “Skyline Trail” with its outlooks, and the “Wilderness Trail” are some of the hiking and biking trails in Babcock. Also, check out Boley Lake!

Babcock State Park is located at 486 Babcock Road, Clifftop, WV 25831.

Image of a rock formation at Babcock State Park

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