Read an environmental commentary by VWC board member Chris Bolgiano about growing support for our Shenandoah Mountain Proposal and how designation of the area would permanently protect it from natural gas development by fracking, in Southern Maryland Online, April 1, 2014.
Signs of the past in Kimberling Creek Wilderness Area include huge stumps of trees cut circa 1900 and remnants of the narrow gauge railroads that carried them out. Signs of the future include a second-growth forest maturing into protected old growth and the evergreen promise of rhododendron. Nearly 6,000 rough and rugged acres west of Wytheville challenge those who seek wild nature.
Read more in Mark Miller's piece on Kimberling Creek Wilderness.
Students at Eastern Mennonite University photographed Virginia Wilderness and proposed Wilderness areas for a semester project and donated their work to the Virginia Wilderness Committee. The students were enrolled in Steven D. Johnson's Fall 2013 conservation photography class.
The students hiked into the wild with their cameras in hand and captured some great shots of wildlife, plants, water, scenic views, and people enjoying Wilderness. The Virginia Wilderness Committee will use these stunning photos on our web site, in our publications, and for the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act this year.
We are grateful to Professor Johnson for envisioning this project and to his students for their meaningful photos. These photos illustrate the beauty, biodiversity, and intrinsic value of Wilderness and will serve to teach and inspire all of us.
Below is a sampling of the students' work.
Building on a 45-year history of protecting Virginia's most special places, the Virginia Wilderness Committee is now actively working to protect three areas that lie within Ecological Cores identified by the Virginia Department of Conservation & Recreation: Beech Lick Knob, Shenandoah Mountain, and Rich Hole/Rough Mountain Wilderness additions. These are some of the Old Dominion's crown jewels when it comes to ecological diversity. Please go to our web site, join VWC, and help us protect these special places.
Note: Map generated from Virginia DCR data.
If you believe that small can be beautiful, consider Brush Mtn. East Wilderness: its 3,700 acres includes hundreds of acres of old-growth forest and more than a dozen splashing headwater tributaries to Craig Creek. An old 7.5 mile section of the Appalachian Trail (since rerouted) weaves in and out of steep, rugged drainages that offer solitude and solace wrapped in small, beautiful watersheds.
Read about Brush Mountain East Wilderness
Stone Mountain Wilderness offers scenic and spiritual respite from the coal-mined lands nearby. Explore its steep scarps and sparkling, famously biodiverse rivers to see how undisturbed natural systems provide clean water, air, wildlife and so many other benefits to all of society. Read Mark Miller's piece on Stone Mountain Wilderness
Proposed fracking in national forest meets broad opposition by Neela Banerjee
The U.S. Forest Service considers allowing hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in George Washington National Forest in Virginia, stirring concern about risks to drinking water in the Washington, D.C., area.
The GWNF Stakeholder field trip to the Slate Lick area scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 23 has been cancelled due to snow. The field trip will be rescheduled in a few weeks when the weather is better.
A hike in St. Marys Wilderness will reveal many of the “ecological, geological, or other features of scientific, educational, scenic, or historical value(s)” listed in the Wilderness Act as qualifications for the legal designation of Wilderness. The steep, narrow gorge cut through sandstone by St. Marys River is scenic as well as geologically and ecologically fascinating. Historically, the area was brutally timbered and mined a century ago, and today exemplifies what natural forces of regeneration can do when allowed to operate naturally. Come see for yourself!
This is Mark's second Wilderness visit in a series of 24 as VWC celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act in 2014.
The GWNF Stakeholders Collaborative in cooperation with the USFS is planning a field trip to the Slate Lick area near Fulks Run on January 23rd at 9:00 a.m.
The GWNF Stakeholder group was formed in 2009 to discuss forest planning issues on the GWNF. Those discussions resulted in a set of recommendations submitted to the FS planners in 2011. The plan has yet to be released, but project planning has continued to move forward. The intent is to plan projects that meet the goals of diverse interests, such as wildlife management, timber, recreation, and preservation of special places. If you have an interest in the Slate Lick area, whether it be fishing, hunting, hiking, horseback riding, or some other activity, please come and provide input.
The plan is to meet at 9:00 a.m. at the North River District office between Bridgewater and Mt. Crawford (address - 401 Oakwood Drive, Harrisonburg, VA) and then carpool to the Slate Lick site. Anyone who lives close to Slate Lick can join the group at the wildlife viewing platform at Slate Lick at 9:30.
Please contact VWC Field Director Mark Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org or (540) 464-1661 if you plan to attend. Based on weather conditions, Mark will confirm or cancel the field trip on Jan. 21. The alternate date is Jan. 30.