WV Public Lands: August 2023 Newsletter

WV’s Newest State Park: Summersville Lake State Park

We fully support additional public lands, especially in areas underserved and needing additional access to our wild and wonderful state parks, forests, rail trails, and wildlife management areas. Governor Justice signed legislation authorizing our newest state park: Summersville Lake State Park. Summersville Lake State Park is made up of 177 acres on the north shore of West Virginia’s largest lake. The park includes existing hiking and biking trails, picnic areas, and “Pirates Cove” which includes the waterfall shown in the picture from the state parks website.

West Virginia officials indicate that the park will include public/private development for climbing opportunities and water park facilities. We eagerly await an opportunity to review these plans. Any public/private plans must be compatible with the conservation purposes of State Parks. Fortunately, thanks to your advocacy in 2022 regarding HB 4408, the public has an opportunity to comment on the proposals. This was the process that helped defeat mega private RV park plans at Cacapon Resort State Park.

You can find out more about Summersville Lake HERE.

We are watching for the public notices and hearing date, and will let you know so you can see the plans for yourself. Until then we do have some questions that we will be asking on behalf of our State Parks:

  • What exactly is proposed?
  • What are the impacts? Is it compatable with what we want in WV State Parks?
  • Is it possible to conserve part of this new State Park for undeveloped, nature-based recreation?

Do you want to stay up to date on developments in Summersville Lake State Park? We invite you to sign up for our Public Lands Newsletter. Be sure to share this link with your family and friends who love our WV public lands.

Create the Mon: Celebrate Public Lands Days with Art in the Mon Forest

image of a dense forest of green trees

Calling all artists who love the Mon! Participate in an arts event for National Public Lands Day, September 23, 2023. We will feature your art, videos or photos, inspired by our forest or created in the Mon Forest on that day. This might mean setting up your easel by the Shaver’s Fork, reciting a poem under a stand of red spruce, or singing a song atop your favorite overlook. Artists may also share a piece of work inspired in some way by the forest that they’ve already created.

On September 23, 2023, we are asking creators to tag WV Rivers and West Virginians for Public Lands in their posts, use the hashtag #CreatetheMon. Submit your artwork/video/photos to be featured in a digital gallery and shared on WV Rivers and Public Lands social media.

Remember we are visiting the Mon Forest and the forest is home to many animal and plant species – some that live only in the Mon. Please do not move, rearrange, damage, or destroy any part of the forest or any element found in the forest.

Are you a forest inspired artist in any medium? Register HERE and together we will #CreatetheMon.

We Need You or Your Business to be Part of West Virginians for Public Lands

West Virginians for Public Lands (WVPL) is an alliance of organizations, businesses, and individuals advocating to protect and enhance West Virginia public lands for all. WVPL believes that West Virginia public lands, waters, and the wildlife that inhabit them are intrinsically valuable, and these special areas should be preserved, and where needed, restored.  WVPL has been working this year to expand its membership and focus. WVPL builds alliances to advocate for policies to conserve and enhance WV public lands for all. An alliance takes everyone. Yes, some WVPL members contact elected and agency officials, but others focus on a watershed, a region, or a forest – or the spiritual and mental health aspects of being one with nature – without getting into policy or contacting Charleston or Washington.

So, we want to share the vision of how our Wild and Wonderful public lands could be. WVPL envisions a West Virginia with:

  • Informed West Virginians passionate about the importance of public lands and waters, advocating to decision makers about public lands issues and protections.
  • Access for all people to public lands, especially for currently underserved communities.
  • Ecologically sustainable and connected public lands.
  • Full protections of biological diversity and unique areas.
  • Improved nature-based, non-motorized recreation opportunities compatible with conservation of public lands.
  • Robust funding for restoration, management, and acquisition of public lands.

Is this something that you believe in too? We’d love you, your business, or your organization to be a part of this vision. Sign up HERE. Click the button below for more information about WVPL or email Mike Jones at mjones@wvrivers.org.

DNR Public Lands Survey Still Taking Comments

As we discussed previously in the Public Lands News, West Virginians across the state attended meetings, signed petitions, filed lawsuits, and sent emails to stop a private mega RV resort at Cacapon Resort State Park. 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. There is still time to participate! Your efforts stopped the commercialization of Cacapon. But will your favorite State Park, Forest, Wildlife Management Area, or other public land be next? You can shape the future plans for our state lands by completing the survey. Please do this today if you haven’t already so that your voice is heard.

National Public Lands: Spotlight on Oil and Gas Leasing

Did you know that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) regulates the minerals found on most national public lands, even lands owned and managed by the Forest Service or the National Park Service?

Recent legislation changed the leasing and bonding requirements for new oil and gas leases on our national public lands. BLM has now issued a proposed rule for Fluid Mineral Leases and Leases Processes.

The national public lands oil and gas leasing programs were outdated, and reform is badly needed.

Public comments are due on September 22, 2023, and may be submitted on the eRulemaking Portal. This is your chance to let the BLM know your thoughts.

Be on the lookout for more information and an action alert in early September.

Meet Your Public Lands – Lost River State Park

How can we misplace an entire park? Don’t worry, we didn’t really lose it. Lost River State Park is right HERE.

Located in Hardy County in the Eastern Panahndle, Lost River State Park offers 3,900 acres of hiking and biking trails. The trail map is HERE. The park has tent camping, cabins, ‘glamping,” horseback riding, and swimming (in the summer). The State operates the Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee III cabin as a museum.

Lost River SP has a hidden jewel: the Cranny Cove Overlook. The trail is rated moderately difficult, but hikers are rewarded with a panoramic view of the five counties and two states. The Park is also near Smoke Hole and Seneca Rocks.

Lost River State Park is found at 321 Park Drive, Mathias, WV 26812.

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