Public Lands in West Virginia

A Treasure of Pocahontas County:
Public Lands

Pocahontas County and the surrounding region is among the most scenic, ecologically-rich, and unique places in the East. Our public lands showcase these treasures to the enjoyment of millions of residents and visitors. These lands, held in common by our citizenry and entrusted to the care of public officials, are an important way that our generation can bequeath a blessing to future generations. Such WV public lands include the Monongahela National Forest, small portions of the Jefferson and George Washington national forests, as well as state parks such as Watoga, and state forests such as Calvin Price and Seneca.

Pocahontas County is the third largest county in West Virginia at 942 square miles, of which approximately 2/3 is public land. This includes the largest acreage of the Monongahela National Forest, two state forests (Cal Price and Seneca), and five state parks (Watoga, Droop, Beartown, Cass, and Greenbrier River Trail. Much of the Cranberry National Wilderness is in Pocahontas County. All water in Pocahontas County flows out of Eight Rivers that birth in the county.

However, in recent years congressional legislation has been introduced that would turn over federal lands to states with the unspoken thought that fiscally-strapped states would sell off assets or even the land to private commercial interests. This is one reason why the Birthplace of Rivers National Monument was proposed, to build a deeper level of protection of our treasured landscapes.

Links for Public Lands Protection below:

West Virginians For Public Lands (under WV Rivers Coalition)

Birthplace of Rivers National Monument

Study of Economic Impact of Birthplace of Rivers National Monument

Keep Commercial Logging Out of WV State Parks!

In 2018, Governor Justice’s administration recommended commercial logging in Watoga State Park and five other state parks. SB 270 was introduced. A concerted campaign spearheaded by environmental groups stirred the West Virginia public to strong opposition. The bill was defeated and has not been tried since. Nonetheless, continued vigilance is important.

See these links for further information and updates on the legislation to log, go to the following links.

List of West Virginia State Parks

Facebook Site for Save Our State Parks

Bird Species decline in logged mature forest

Doug Woods comments (retired WVDEP Researcher)

Comments of Dr Steve Selin, Professor
Recreation, Parks, and Tourism at WVU

Justice administration defending logging on WV METRO NEWS

Jim Waggy’s Op Ed in Charleston Gazette-Mail

“In Defense of State Parks” article in Highlands Outdoors

Kent Leonhardt, WV Commissioner of Agriculture, speaks against logging in State Parks