Our Public Land

Check it out!

You can view this property from the Bickle Knob Fire Tower located on Stuart Memorial Drive, which is just minutes from Elkins, if you set out traveling on Route 33. Stuart Memorial Drive is a 10-mile drive through the Monongahela National Forest which encapsulates so much of what is unique and representative of these public lands – spectacular views from the Bickle Knob Observation Tower, unique limestone geology, trailheads into Otter Creek Wilderness Area, iconic red spruce forest, luxurious roadside rhododendron blooms, a quaint campground, the Bear Heaven rock house and boulders, and a rich Civilian Conservation Corps history with a monument dedicated to Franklin Delano Roosevelt. This place has it all!

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Historical Site Protected

Last fall, WVLT purchased a historic Civil War site in Pocahontas County, known as Camp Bartow. The property was the scene of the Battle of Greenbrier River in October 1861. The 14-acre property lies in the heart of the battlefield and was a campground of the 31st Virginia Infantry. As part of the first campaign of the Civil War, the battle proved instrumental in the creation of West Virginia in 1863.

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An 84-acre wooded sanctuary

The Elizabeth’s Woods Nature Preserve is located just south of Morgantown, W. Va. Trails and parking are currently being developed. Future developments will include improving parking and accessibility, extending trail networks, adding interpretive signs and planning educational programs.

The preserve was deeded to the WVLT in 1995. The WVLT manages the property under guidelines outlined in the deed which require keeping the property in its natural condition while accommodating hiking and nature study.

Volunteer Opportunity!
Get down and dirty with WVLT staff on Sunday, Oct 21 and/or Sunday, Oct 28!

We will be building and maintaining hiking trails and eager volunteers are needed to develop this public recreation asset. RSVP for your preferred date(s) using this link: http://www.volunteermpc.org/need/?agency_id=89768

 

 

Unique habitats for rare, threatened, and endangered plants and animals, including:

  • Federally-endangered Indiana and Virginia big-eared bats;
  • Eastern hellbender, a sensitive and large aquatic salamander;
  • One of the world’s largest known populations of Virginia spirea, a threatened plant;
  • Barbara’s Buttons, an imperiled and vulnerable plant species;
  • Diverse communities of migratory bird species, hawks, and other birds of prey.

The property links to other public lands, including the Gauley River National Recreation Area and Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park. It is historically unique as the location of a Confederate retreat during the Civil War.

The Gauley River National Recreation Area was designated as part of the National Park system in 1988. It contains 25 miles of the Gauley River and 5 miles of the neighboring Meadow River.

An Ancient Forest

In memory of John Paul Jones and Daniel & Isa Cox Hall

The Marie Hall Jones Ancient Forest Preserve is a 190-acre property in Doddridge County, which will be open to the public as a nature preserve in the near future, after parking and access have been developed.

Allen Jones donated the property to the West Virginia Land Trust (WVLT) in 2016, to uphold his mother’s wishes to see that this untouched forest be protected forever. The natural features include a seasonal stream and a 15-acre stand of old-growth trees, ranging from 160 – 300 years of age.

WVLT manages the property under guidelines outlined in the deed, which require keeping the property in its natural condition, while accommodating hiking and nature study.

A new destination for outdoor enthusiasts was permanently protected in Fayette County!

The West Virginia Land Trust partnered with the City of Oak Hill to purchase 283 acres of land for public recreational use. The future is exciting as Oak Hill prepares to open this “outdoor recreational mecca” for climbing, hiking, and mountain biking that will add yet another option for tourism in the New River Gorge Region. This property is packed with natural rock features, including a nearly 2-mile long rock wall, which makes this new destination worth the hike to visit.

Two Islands

Two islands in the Ohio River were donated to the West Virginia Land Trust and will be protected as essential habitat for years to come.

The shallow waters of the river can provide quality habitat for freshwater mussels, including endangered species, such as the pink mucket and fanshell. Bald eagles, peregrine falcons and Indiana bats also use islands along the river as habitat.

With much of the islands submerged underwater, WVLT will work with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other partners in upcoming years to stabilize stream banks and restore habitat. In addition to the long-term benefits to fish, wildlife, and other habitats, this land protection effort will also help improve water quality and maintain the ecosystems that offer public recreational opportunities for people in the Ohio River Valley.

Restoring floodplain forest

Floodplain forest species, including sycamores and cottonwoods, exist in narrow swaths along the preserve’s stream banks. Restoring and expanding them will contribute to improved water quality in the South Fork and the South Branch of the Potomac, which flank the property, as they flow to the Chesapeake Bay. As a recreational resource, the preserve has potential not only for the immediate community, but also for travelers who access the area from the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area via Corridor H.

With one of the few known barn owl nesting sites in West Virginia, as well as lowland fields, stream frontage, and wetland habitats, the Hardy County property easily lends itself to nature watching. The ‘sloughs’ (pronounced “sloos”) are an especially interesting feature of the Poppy Bean Preserve. As ‘off-channel habitat,’ these slow-moving backwaters provide an environment for smaller fish and other aquatic species to escape high flows and avoid predation in the main river.

Management plans are underway, so stay tuned!

Tom’s Run Preserve

Tom’s Run Preserve is made up of three different properties:
Elizabeth’s Woods (84 acres)
– Little Falls Preserve (174 acres)
– Morris Property (60 acres)

Elizabeth’s Woods was donated to the Land Trust in 1995 for the purpose of nature study and recreation. In 2017, the organization was able to purchase two neighboring properties expanding the preserve to 318 acres!

The property is a “work-in-progress” and we are planning to make it open and accessible to the public in the summer of 2019.

 

 

A 52-acre natural area

The Wallace Hartman Nature Preserve is a 52-acre natural area located minutes from downtown Charleston, W. Va. Trails are established on the property and are open to the public.

The preserve is owned by Kanawha County Parks and Recreation but is protected under a conservation easement held by the WVLT. The easement requires managing the property for recreational and educational opportunities, habitat protection, and scenic enjoyment.

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