Public Lands in West Virginia

Pocahontas County is Blessed

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’s 942 square miles is the third largest county in the state. Approximately 2/3 of that is public land. This includes the largest portion of the Monongahela National Forest along with much of the Cranberry National Wilderness in our county. Two state forests (Cal Price and Seneca) and five state parks are in Pocahontas (Watoga, Droop, Beartown, Cass, and Greenbrier River Trail). All water flows out of Pocahontas County as headwaters of eight rivers (Gauley, Williams, Elk, Cheat, Greenbrier, Tygart Valley, Cherry, and Cranberry).

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

Safeguarding Our Public Lands

In 2018, Governor Justice’s administration  recommended commercial logging in Watoga State Park and five other state parks. SB 270 was introduced. In response, environmental and civic groups across the state banded together to successfully oppose the proposed assault on our lands.

Nonetheless, citizenry needs to be vigilant in protecting our common-held public lands.

Below are some links to that fight in 2018 to protect our lands.


Facebook Site for Save Our State Parks

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