PUBLIC NATURE PRESERVE
Toms Run Preserve — Toms Run Preserve originally came to WVLT as a land donation in 1995 by Elizabeth Zimmermann. The original 84 acres was referred to as “Elizabeth’s Woods” with the intent to create a public nature preserve. In 2017, we purchased two neighboring properties, expanding the preserve to its current size of 318 acres! The preserve offers hiking and nature enjoyment. Visit www.TomsRunPreserve.org for a map and driving directions.
Peuleche Organic Farm — This 110-acre organic farm is in the headwaters of the Elk River. A conservation easement protects the land from further residential development, maintains the unique agricultural qualities, and protects headwaters and riverbanks for an ecologically important river and trout fishery.
Needleseye Park — In 2017, we partnered with the City of Oak Hill to purchase 283 acres of land. The West Virginia Outdoor Heritage Conservation Fund provided a significant portion of the funding; West Virginia Land Trust and the City of Oak Hill also made contributions. Nearly two years after the purchase, WVLT transferred ownership to the City of Oak Hill, while retaining a conservation easement on the property. This public park is an “outdoor mecca” for climbing, hiking, and mountain biking – adding yet another option for tourism in the New River Gorge region.
Marie Hall Jones Ancient Forest Preserve — In 1972, Marie Hall Jones bid against timber companies on the Doddridge County courthouse steps to purchase a property with the dream of protecting it. Allen Jones donated the 190-acre property in Doddridge County to 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. We manage the property under guidelines outlined in the deed, which require keeping the property in its natural condition, while accommodating hiking and nature study.
LIFE ESTATE DONATION
Greenbrier River Preserve — Many paths can lead to permanent land protection and having a range of options for landowners to consider is essential to WVLT’s success. For one generous family with 67 acres bordering the Greenbrier River, the conservation mechanism of choice was a life estate… this was a first for us. With this transaction, the family members transferred ownership of their property to us but retained full use and enjoyment of their property during their lifetimes.
Working Farm and Forest — In Pocahontas County sits a 912-acre working family farm and forest owned by the Hevener family. The farm has been in their family since 1853. Placing a conservation easement on this farm protects it from being subdivided and developed, ensures the protection of a native brook trout stream, and provides for good agricultural use and properly managed forest for potential income.
Jefferson County Easements — Joining together with the Potomac Valley Audubon Society (PVAS) and a private landowner in the Eastern Panhandle, WVLT permanently protected an historic property with globally rare habitats under two conservation easements. PVAS manages the properties as the Cool Spring Preserve, which includes a nature center and trails that serve youth groups and the community. The easements are located within a drinking water protection area for Charles Town Utilities and protect water quality, a globally rare Shenandoah Wet Prairie Marsh, and exceptional bird and pollinator habitats.