In celebration of Veterans Day this Thursday, November 11, Shenandoah National Park is offering a Fee Free Day. This is the last free day of the year. Go out and enjoy Virginia's public land.
Today, November 3, 2021, we advocate for older forest protections. We ask President Biden to follow through on the promise to “lead by our example at home” by protecting mature and old growth forests from logging on federal lands.
President Biden is currently attending the Glasgow Climate Change Conference, COP 26, in Glasgow, Scotland. Before he left, VWC, along with 127 other environmental groups, delivered a letter to the White House asking that the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management stop the logging of older forests and trees on public lands. The correspondence specifically asks for this commitment to be part of the United States’ larger climate goals.
“Advocating for Stewardship – Tips, Tools and Practical Techniques for the Wilderness Steward”
National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance Annual Conference
November 15 - 18
Over the course of a few days you can immerse yourself in wilderness learning, networking with the wilderness stewardship community, and exploring the mid-Appalachian country around Roanoke, Virginia.
Most importantly, you can hear presentations from some of the best in the field, including VWC's Executive Director, Mark Miller, former VWC President and current VWC board member, Lynn Cameron, and current VWC board member, Tom Engle.
To sign up and find out more about the conference, go to https://www.wildernessalliance.org/2021_nww
"During National Wilderness Month, let us strengthen our connection to the American wilderness areas, support their designation and protection, and work to preserve the stories they tell, the memories they create, and the heritage they reflect for all Americans for generations to come."
Thank you, President Biden!
Read the full Presidential Proclamation here: A Proclamation on National Wilderness Month, 2021 | The White House
Listen here: Shenandoah Mountain National Scenic Area Proposal - Part 2 - Allegheny Mountain Radio
This is part two of our story on the proposed Shenandoah Mountain National Scenic Area.
Friends of Shenandoah Mountain has created a proposal to designate the Shenandoah Mountain area, between Route 250 and Route 33, as a National Scenic Area with several Wilderness areas included. The proposal is 90,000 acres, in the George Washington National Forest, and it would protect the area from industrial development.
Lynn Cameron, the co-chair of Friends of Shenandoah Mountain, has more about the proposal’s creation.
“We’ve also worked closely with a whole range of forest users, including the timber industry, the game managers, hunting organizations,” says Cameron. “Our proposal was originally larger than the 90,000 acres, but after collaborating and compromising with these other groups we were able to come up with the current proposal that we have. Which is still very strong and, in fact, it’s made much stronger because more of the public can support it. Some of the game managers would like to see more early successional habitat. We support more early successional habitat. This area would not be available for commercial timber, but we support more timber cutting across the National Forest. And one thing that I think is real positive about our proposal, if you are looking at it from a hunting perspective, is there are multiple game clearings in the Shenandoah Mountain National Scenic Area proposal and all those will continue to be maintained and new ones will be added. And also prescribed burning will be allowed in the National Scenic Area.”
If the proposal is approved by Congress, the area will still be managed by the Forest Service and activities, such as firewood collection, will continue just as they are now.
“A Scenic Area, it offers a permanent protection of the area from industrial development but all the roads and camp grounds and picnic areas would remain as they are,” says Cameron. “No loss of any access or anything like that. A Wilderness Area is more protected, but the Wilderness boundaries were drawn carefully so that there are no roads in the Wilderness Areas that we propose. So, no roads are closed by the Wilderness. Nature is the dominant force in Wilderness, but in all three of these categories, National Forest, National Scenic Area and Wilderness, you can fight fire and pests and rescue people. There are some misconceptions about that. It’s possible to take dozers in the Wilderness, if necessary, to fight fire to protect private property. We don’t want to take access or anything away from people. So, I think what we would have will protect the area, but people can continue to enjoy it just as they have for decades.”
“I know there are a lot of misconceptions and some of those arise from misunderstandings about Wilderness,” says Cameron. “I’ve met with some people and have been really glad that I’ve had that opportunity. They just hear Wilderness locks it up completely, you can’t maintain trails, you can’t hunt and none of that is true. You can hunt all over it. Really, I don’t think people will notice the difference when it’s designated.”
You can learn more at www.friendsofshenandoahmountain.org
Listen Here: Shenandoah Mountain National Scenic Area Proposal - Part 1 - Allegheny Mountain Radio
In 2002, wilderness advocates and mountain bike enthusiasts began working together to protect the beauty and recreational opportunities of the Shenandoah Mountain area. By 2004, they had formed Friends of Shenandoah Mountain.
Lynn Cameron is the co-chair.
“Friends of Shenandoah Mountain is a coalition of organizations and businesses working together for a single purpose and that is to designate the Shenandoah Mountain area, between Route 250 and Route 33, National Forest land, as a National Scenic Area with several embedded wilderness areas,” says Cameron.
“The National Scenic Area Proposal is a 90,000 acre proposal, all in the George Washington National Forest, no private land,” says Cameron. “The National Scenic Area would protect the area from industrial development, like fracking for natural gas or mining or other industrial activities that would mar the natural character of the area. Within the 90,000 acres are several proposed wilderness areas that offer the strongest protection for the most remote areas, that are within the scenic area.”
Four hundred businesses and organizations have endorsed the proposal and resolutions of support have been received from Augusta County, Rockingham County, Harrisonburg and Staunton. Highland County is currently considering a resolution of support.
“We started out asking businesses if they’d like to endorse the proposal and for seventeen years we’ve gone around and spoken to organizations in all the counties that are affected,” says Cameron. “We built local support and then the next step was to go to the local governments and just show them what the citizens of their counties want. Then ask them if they will pass a resolution of support. After that we would be ready to go to Congress, both the Senate and the House, to ask for introduction of a bill. This requires federal legislation, so it literally takes an act of Congress. I’ve been asked about the permanence of this. It is intended to be permanent, but there is no guarantee that anything is permanent. You know, if something happened that down the road, this was unfavorable to the public interest, a future Congress might decide to un-enact it. I think that’s very unlikely, but it is possible.”
“Starting from Route 250, the proposal area includes the Confederate Breastworks,” says Cameron. “It includes the Reddish Knob area, the North River Gorge area, Hone Quarry, the High Knob area, Flagpole Knob. There are important water resources flowing off Shenandoah Mountain and that’s been a primary motivation for protecting the area. Some of the localities who passed resolutions of support have done so because they want their watershed protected from fracking or other industrial development, especially Harrisonburg and Staunton. “
For more information visit www.friendsofshenandoahmountain.org
Stay tuned for part two of this story on the Shenandoah Mountain National Scenic Area proposal.
Saturday, August 21 at 10am
Join Friends of Shenandoah Mountain for a summer hike led by a Virginia Master Naturalist and a nature photographer (John and Jeannie Holden) to see the many species of beautiful butterflies and wildflowers that make Shenandoah Mountain home.
Expect to walk about 2 miles round trip, over 2 hours on mostly level trails.
Bringing binoculars and cameras is strongly suggested.
Please dress for summer weather and bring plenty to drink in a day pack. Rainy weather would cancel the hike.
Registration is required.
There is no charge for these nature hikes, as they are intended to draw public attention to the treasures of Shenandoah Mountain and the need to preserve its amazing natural world.
Register here: www.friendsofshenandoahmountain.org/butterfly-walks.html
VWC invites all members to please
join us ONLINE for our 2021 Annual Meeting
Saturday, August 7, at 10am
The meeting will include the election of officers,
the annual report,
and updates on our Wilderness efforts.
Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org to receive your Zoom invitation.
We hope to see you then!
It is with great appreciation that we acknowledge and thank the Fund for Wild Nature for selecting VWC for their recent grand award. The Fund for Wild Nature invests in bold grassroots organizations that meet emerging needs for protecting biodiversity and wilderness. We are pleased that they recognize our work to achieve these goals.
The Fund for Wild Nature
One week from today marks the one year anniversary of Dominion Energy’s decision to end the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP). WMRA shared this conversation to commemorate it. We are grateful for the work of the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) in representing us and others in the lawsuits that led to the decision. To view the video and/or read the transcript of the conversation between Sarah Francisco (SELC) and Nancy Sorrells (Alliance for the Shenandoah Valley), click here.