Saturday, June 29, 2013, 10 a.m
Dickerman Farm, 228 Old Parkersburg Pike, Swoope
Calling all Wilderness lovers! Celebrate VWC successes of the past year and help officers and board members plan for the next. Bring passion, good cheer, and a bag lunch. Don’t be left all alone in the wild – join us!
Southern Environmental Law Center just released "Fracking in the George Washington National Forest", which details many reasons why it's a bad idea. Learn more, and consider writing your own letter to the editor.
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The GWNF Warm Springs/James River Ranger Districts held the first public meeting to start working collaboratively on a 120,000-acre landscape level planning project in Bath and Allegheny Counties. The project could potentially involve repair of slope failures along Simpson Creek, dam removal to facilitate fish passage in Wilson Creek, timber management, road management (improvements and potential decommissioning), development of wildlife clearings and waterholes, control of invasive plants, prescribed burning, and trail improvements near Douthat State Park. The meeting was attended by landowners, game managers, hunting organizations, members of the Cowpasture River Preservation Association, and the Virginia WIlderness Committee.
District Ranger Pat Sheridan said that participants in this process will help determine which management activities will be proposed formally by the GWNF. Management activities that come out of this collaborative process could include a recommendation for expansion of Rich Hole and Rough Mountain Wilderness areas.
Seeking collaborative input from the public on a large landscape level is a new approach the GWNF is trying. Their hope is that this new process that engages stakeholders early on will be more efficient and effective in making projects happen on the ground.
Wayne and Jeff load the tools on the mules at the end of the day.
Hikers, horsemen and mountain bikers teamed up to work on the Carr Mountain section of the Great Eastern Trail on April 6-7. Fourteen volunteers, led by Tom Johnson, President of the Great Eastern Trail Association, assembled at Blue Hole and made their way to the German River trailhead near Criders. With the help of 4 mules who carried tools to a remote section of trail, the group was able to make substantial progress on digging sidehill.
Volunteers from PATC - Southern Shenandoah Valley Chapter worked alongside members of the North River Chapter of Backcountry Horsemen of Virginia and Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition.
The Carr Mountain section of the GET borders VWC's Beech Lick Knob Wilderness Proposal. The trail, which is nearly completed, will be open to hikers, horseback riders, hunters, and mountain bikers.
New section of Great Eastern Trail on Carr Mountain
The GWNF Warm Springs Ranger District has scheduled a public meeting to discuss the proposed 100,000 acre Lower Cowpasture Restoration Project on Monday, April 8, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Millboro Elementary School. This will be the first in a series of public workshops over the next nine months. The project area is located in eastern Alleghany and Bath counties.
According to VWC Field Director Mark Miller, "The Lower Cowpasture Project puts into practice the concept of integrated landscape management and restoration practices while at the same time recognizing Wilderness as an integral part of a forest mosaic."
GWNF stakeholders representing timber, game management, recreation interests, and wilderness preservation submitted joint comments on the draft forest plan in October, 2011, and pledged to move forward by working together on projects. The Lower Cowpasture Restoration Project presents stakeholders with their first opportunity to work collaboratively on a real, on-the-ground project.
Hooking up to loaded bucket. Photo by David Bennick
Acid rain in the St. Mary's River watershed has had a devastating impact on native trout and other sensitive aquatic life. To mitigate stream acidification of this popular trout stream, the George Washington National Forest contracted application of 230 tons of high calcium limestone sand by helicopter the first week of March. Two small helicopters dropped limestone in seven locations in St. Mary's River and its tributary streams. This is the third time limestone has been applied in St. Mary's Wilderness, following applications in 1999 and 2005. The staging area was on private land along the Blue Ridge Parkway. GWNF personnel routinely monitor the water chemistry of St. Mary's River and will take samples later in the spring to measure the effects of this treatment.