WV Public Lands: September 2023 Newsletter
See the Capitol Hill Christmas Tree on its West Virginia Tour
The Monongahela National Forest is providing the Capitol Hill Christmas Tree this year. The theme this year is “Endlessly Wild & Wonderful” – a tribute to West Virginia. Our U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree has come from the Mon National Forest twice before. The first tree from the U.S. Forest Service came from the Monongahela National Forest in 1970. The Mon Forest also provided the Capitol Hill tree for our nation’s bicentennial in 1976.
You can follow the Christmas Tree across West Virginia as it makes its way to the U.S. Capitol. The tour kicks off on Saturday, November 4, 2023, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Elkins Depot Welcome Center (315 Railroad Ave, Elkins).
There are more events in Summersville (Nov 5); Marlinton (Nov 6); Beckley and Charleston (Nov 7); Huntington (Nov 8); Wheeling (Nov 9); Morgantown (Nov 10 & 11); Upper Track (Nov 12); Davis (Nov 13); Romney (Nov 14): and Harpers Ferry (Nov 25).
Details about each event are HERE.
The honor of providing the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, and these events all over the Mountain State highlight West Virginia’s Crown Jewel of public lands, the Mon National Forest. WV Rivers provides information about the Mon Forest and an opportunity to discuss the clear, cool headwaters in the Forest. The Mon Forest website also has information.
Here’s another fun way for children to support West Virginia’s contribution to our Capitol Christmas Tree. Fourth-grade students may submit a 500-word essay about why they love West Virginia’s forests and public lands, incorporating the 2023 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree theme, “Endlessly Wild & Wonderful.” Senator Manchin will select the winning essay! Essays should be typed or scanned. More information and the submission form is HERE. Essays must be submitted by September 26, 2023.
Create the Mon: Still Time to Make Forest-Inspired Art
It is not too late to celebrate National Public Lands Day (September 23, 2023) while we #CreateTheMon. 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, art creators may tag WV Rivers and West Virginians for Public Lands in their posts and 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.
Plans Still Not Announced for Summersville Lake State Park
We continue to watch for announcements for plans on Summersville Lake State Park and for the date and location of a public hearing. We will be sure to let you know about any plans or meetings. We want West Virginians, especially those in the Summersville area, to be fully informed – and have an opportunity to make their thoughts known about our newest public lands. In the meantine, read the Mountain State Spotlight’s recent article on Summersville Lake State Park.
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
Quick Takes on Our Public Lands – Get Involved with WVPL!
A hiker at Lindy Point watches the sunset over the WV Wilderness in Blackwater Falls State Park. Photo by Kent Mason.
Meet Your Public Lands – Can’t Go Wrong with Fall Leaves!
Fall means many things. One of the best parts of fall is leaf peeping! Our wooded and forested public lands, from the smallest city park to the Wild and Wonderful Mon National Forest, change from shades of green to vibrant reds, yellows, and oranges. Check out the map of when leaves are expected to change in your area.
Pick one (or more) of our unique and special local, state, or national public lands. Visit our West Virginia State Parks, Forests, and Rail Trials; a Wildlife Management Area; the Mon Forest; or America’s newest national park – and see the leaves for yourself!