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Media inquiries contact:

Jessica Spatafore, Director of Development & Communications at (304) 413-0945 or email jessica@wvlandtrust.org

Adam Webster, Conservation & Communications Coordinator at (304) 413-0945 or email adam@wvlandtrust.org

West Virginia Land Trust receives $400,000 from Governor’s Office

WVLT_AML award_low
(Pictured above: Ted Armbrecht, WVLT Board of Directors; Brent Bailey, WVLT Executive Director; Ashton Berdine, WVLT Lands Program Manager; Larry Harris, WVLT Board of Directors)

Morgantown, WV – Monday, December 10 at the Courtyard by Marriott, Governor Jim Justice announced more than a dozen grants awarded to recipients in Northern West Virginia. These included two Abandoned Mine Land (AML) Grants, six Recycling Assistance Grants, and 11 Recreational Trails Program Grants.

“These grants are essential as we continue to grow West Virginia and provide programs that help our communities and citizens,” Gov. Justice said. “The multiplier effect on our return is at least eight times and many times it is more. As we move our state forward, and we are, the impact to our economy is substantial.”

The winter storm that affected Southern West Virginia prevented the Governor from attending the press conference. Bray Carey, Special Assistant to the Governor, attended on his behalf. Ed Maguire of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, which administers the AML program, announced the awards.

The West Virginia Land Trust was awarded a $400,000 AML grant to contribute towards the purchase and restoration of approximately 900 acres in Tucker County that include highly popular recreational trails that have become a regional destination for hiking and mountain biking. Upon purchase, the property will be called Yellow Creek Preserve, named after a tributary of the Blackwater River that flows through the property. The property also includes Moon Rocks, a rock formation that is a popular destination for hikers and mountain bikers.

“This group has already been fundraising and invested some of their own money into this campaign to purchase the property,” said Ed Maguire, Director of the office of the Environmental Advocate for the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. “That impressed us on the selection committee because this group put a lot of their own skin in the game,” Maguire said.

During the award presentation, Maguire recalled hiking the property and indicated that the property is a cornerstone for the recreation in the Canaan Valley area, which depends on tourism as an important part of its economy.

“This is an important piece of property that draws people to nearby communities and that we intend to make available to the public for recreation,” said Brent Bailey, West Virginia Land Trust Executive Director.

According to the land trust, the property is threatened by development, so they stepped in to see it protected.

“In recent years, parts of the property were being sold parcel by parcel into private ownership and that threatened public access,” Bailey said.

At the award ceremony, Maguire indicated that although the property sits in an area with abandoned mine lands, it still has significant recreational and conservation values. The property borders nearly 20,000 acres of other public lands that include the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge and Little Canaan Wildlife Management Area.

“It not only has tremendous recreation potential, it also includes unique upland and wetland habitats that create the iconic landscapes that draw people to the Canaan Valley area,” Bailey said.

To learn more about the project, visit www.BuyTheMoonWV.org or call (304) 413-0945.

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Join us for a Celebration of Needleseye Boulder Park!
Together, the West Virginia Land Trust and City of Oak Hill will host a community open house to celebrate the opening of Needleseye Boulder Park on May 19 from 12:00-4:00 PM. The celebration will take place in The Lost Paddle restaurant at ACE Adventure Resort, with ACE offering shuttles to the Needleseye Park trailhead every 30 minutes for guided hikes.

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A new destination for outdoor enthusiasts has just been permanently protected in Fayette County.

The West Virginia Land Trust has partnered with the City of Oak Hill to purchase 283 acres of land from the Berwind Land Company for public recreational use. This property will be the future site of the Oak Hill Needleseye Boulder Park, to include rock climbing, hiking trails and mountain biking.

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Morgantown Preserve Triples in Size!

Just south of Morgantown, near Little Falls, sits an 84-acre mature forest, known as Elizabeth’s Woods Nature Preserve. In 1995, Elizabeth Zimmermann donated the property to the West Virginia Land Trust (WVLT) to be managed as a natural area available to the public for hiking and nature study. More than 20 years later, the land trust is tripling the size of the preserve and eyeing a way to open the property to the public.

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Camp Bartow: A Civil War Site Protected

West Virginia Land Trust preserves site of Civil War battle, camp
News story by Rick Steelhammer, courtesy of Charleston Gazette.

The core section of Camp Bartow, a fortified encampment with still-visible earthworks built by 1,800 Confederate soldiers, has been preserved and will eventually be opened to the public following its recent purchase by the West Virginia Land Trust.

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Rare Habitat in Grant County Protected

“There’s more than meets the eye on this property,” said Ashton Berdine, Lands Program Manager for the West Virginia Land Trust, speaking about a Grant County property that the Land Trust recently protected.

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