Conservation Partnership Brings New Recreation Opportunities Along Shenandoah River
Charles Town, WV – Thanks to the generosity of the Moulton family, 82 acres of land have been added to Moulton Park along the Shenandoah River in Jefferson County, West Virginia. The family sold the property at less than fair market value, also known as a bargain sale, to achieve a conservation and recreation outcome for the community. Partners, including Chesapeake Conservancy, West Virginia Land Trust and Jefferson County Parks & Recreation Commission (JCPRC), worked together to secure public and private funds to support the acquisition of the property, including a significant grant from the West Virginia Outdoor Heritage Conservation Fund.
The Moulton family donated the original three acres of Moulton Park to JCPRC in 1976 to ensure ongoing public access and recreation. Almost 50 years later, the family’s generosity continued, and the June 2023 bargain sale of their adjacent 82-acre farm has now expanded Moulton Park. During this recent transaction, the West Virginia Land Trust also received a conservation easement on the property, which will protect it in perpetuity. This generation of the family added conservation goals, stipulating that the land be managed for watershed protection, education, native species protection and soil and forest regeneration, in addition to the family’s legacy of creating recreation opportunities and public access.
Following a formal planning process, the new parkland will include hiking trails, camping facilities and parking infrastructure to alleviate congestion and related issues along the Shenandoah River, one of 150 major rivers that flow into the Chesapeake Bay. These amenities will complement the existing outdoor pavilion designed and built by a family member in 2015.
“Four generations of our family have had the privilege of calling this beautiful piece of land home,” said Brucie Moulton. “We have all loved the place immensely and none of us could bear the idea of development, however profitable it might have been. We are grateful for the many partners who worked with us to craft a future for this property that emphasizes environmental protection and education—two core Moulton family values—and we are thrilled to know that the expanded Moulton Park will be enjoyed by the community for generations to come.”
“I’m thrilled to join the West Virginia Land Trust, Jefferson County Parks and Recreation and the Chesapeake Conservancy in celebrating the completion of the 82-acre expansion of Moulton Park,” said U.S. Senator Joe Manchin. “West Virginia is truly Wild and Wonderful, and this exciting expansion will promote outdoor recreation opportunities and boost tourism in Jefferson County and across the Mountain State. I can’t wait to explore the new parkland myself. I was proud to support this project, and as chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, I will continue working to ensure West Virginia’s public lands and parks are protected for generations to come.”
“Moulton Park outside historic Harper’s Ferry is an iconic location for both our residents and visitors, and I was proud to advocate for the park’s expansion that we are celebrating today. West Virginia is recognized across our country for the natural beauty and splendor of our land, and today’s announcement will help continue that tradition here in the Eastern Panhandle,” said U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito. “I’m thankful for the work of Jefferson County Parks and Recreation, West Virginia Land Trust, West Virginia Outdoor Heritage Conservation Fund, and Chesapeake Conservancy for helping make certain this park will be a staple of our state for generations.”
“The generosity of the Moulton family is truly a model example of how we, as a society, can achieve success in this era of conservation,” said Chesapeake Conservancy President and CEO Joel Dunn. “Governments and nonprofits can’t do it alone. Our society needs the support of private philanthropists, such as the extraordinary Moulton family, as we race against time to adapt to climate change and protect 30% of the Chesapeake Bay watershed by 2030.”
“This project illustrates the dedication of local and statewide partners, bringing organizational strengths and resources to achieve conservation success,” said West Virginia Land Trust Land Programs Manager Ashton Berdine. “It also illustrates how one family’s love of land and home can leave a lasting legacy for all the people of Jefferson County to enjoy. This is a tremendous gift that keeps on giving.”
“The entire board of Jefferson County Parks and Recreation is so excited to see the property acquisition come to fruition,” said JCPRC President Toni Milbourne. “The Riverside property will provide a much-needed addition to the river access of Moulton Park as well as provide beautiful passive recreation opportunities for the residents of and visitors to Jefferson County. We could not be more pleased and look forward to enjoying this park for years to come.”
The Moulton Family, Chesapeake Conservancy, Jefferson County Parks and Recreation, and West Virginia Land Trust wish to thank Hogan Lovells US LLP for their legal counsel and work on this transaction.
About Moulton Park
Moulton Park has become one of Jefferson County’s premiere parks, with a half-mile of river frontage featuring camping and other recreational opportunities. A new public boat ramp was installed in 2012 and allows access for fishing the Shenandoah River. The park has campsites, picnic tables, a boat ramp, fire pits and parking access.
The park is a haven for native flora and fauna. The park’s expansion increased not only its acreage but also its connection to a diverse ecosystem, offering refuge to vegetation and wildlife species. In 2021, the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources conducted a biodiversity survey on the family’s farm. The survey concluded that two specific, imperiled species would benefit from an expanded forested buffer—the halberd leaved rose mallow (hibiscus laevis) and the northern red-bellied cooter (pseudemys rubiventris).