Honoring the Life of Turner Sharp: A Guardian of West Virginia’s Rivers and Forests

It is with heavy hearts that we bid farewell to Turner Sharp, a cherished member of the West Virginia Rivers Coalition, who passed away this week. Turner was not just a board member; he was the very essence of our organization’s spirit, a stalwart defender of our waters, and an inspiration for all who had the privilege of knowing him.

For over three decades, Turner dedicated himself to the cause of river conservation, helping shape the West Virginia Rivers Coalition into the formidable force it is today. As our longest-serving board member, his wisdom, passion, and unwavering commitment were the bedrock upon which our organization stood.

Turner’s love for the wilderness was palpable. He reveled in sharing tales of his river expeditions, his eyes sparkling with the memories of adventures past with Susan and his many friends. His stories weren’t just about conquering rapids or navigating currents; they were about the profound sense of camaraderie shared with special people who encircled him.

But Turner wasn’t merely a storyteller; he was a doer, a tireless advocate for the protection of our natural heritage. He understood that our rivers were not just bodies of water but lifelines, repositories of history, culture, and biodiversity and his advocacy was fueled by a deep-rooted belief in stewardship.

As we reflect on Turner’s legacy, we are reminded of the countless lives he touched, the landscapes he safeguarded, and the rivers he loved so dearly. His passing leaves a void in our hearts, but his spirit will continue to animate our work, guiding us through the currents of uncertainty with the wisdom he so generously imparted.

Angie Rosser recalled her first finance committee meeting with Turner. Instead of the conventional boardroom, Turner insisted we convene under the shade of the Widen poplar, the tallest tree in West Virginia. This was quintessentially Turner: finding inspiration in the grandeur of nature, reminding us of the profound interconnectedness between towering trees and meandering rivers.

To Turner, every tree was a friend, every river a companion. As we mourn his loss, let us honor his memory in a manner befitting his spirit. Hug a tree, visit a river, and immerse yourself in nature.

Let us carry forward Turner’s legacy with the same ardor and tenacity that defined his life, ensuring that his vision of a world where rivers run free and wild remains alive in our hearts.

Turner, may your spirit continue to flow with the currents of the wild rivers you so passionately championed.

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