WVHC Highlands Conservancy 50th Anniversary Celebration and Conference

Celebrating 50 Years!

Planting the Seeds & Helping Them Grow
50 Years of Tending the Environment in West Virginia

The West Virginia Highlands Conservancy was officially founded in 1967 but the people and Groups that came together to form the organization actually began to meet in 1965 while the first issue of The Highlands Voice appeared in 1969. For many years we were THE environmental organization in the state and tackled issues as diverse in topics as in geography. Some of its major roles were defined early in its existence. Protecting Rivers, Coal Mining, the Monongahela National Forest and other public lands, Highways, Wilderness and Canaan Valley all have deep roots that permeate our history. We will be highlighting some of these issues, the places, and the people involved, in upcoming issues of The Highlands Voice. We’ll also be visiting some of these places throughout the year to see the successes, or sometimes failures, of our work. We’ll get together to celebrate and reminisce with each other at the Canaan Valley Resort State Park, September 15-17, 2017. Register here.

Honoring the Partnerships that formed the Highlands Conservancy in the first place and the ever expanding network of new citizen and environmental partners we’ve worked with through the past 5 decades.


Tentative Program – Details are still being finalized.  Please contact us if you would like to participate as a presenter, conduct an outing or workshop, or have a display to share. Register here.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Noon – Registration and Display set-up begins

1:00pm – Outings organize for departure

3:00pm Displays, Silent Auction, Photo-sharing, Story Telling, Meet & Greet, Workshops, presentations and Round Table Discussions

4:30pm Reception Begins

  • Conservation Leaders, Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow

6:00pm Panel Discussions

  • Canaan Valley – The Promised Land
  • Mon National Forest, Wild & Wonderful!
    Moderated by Dr. Mary Wimmer

8:00pm Keynote Speaker

  • Alan B. Mollohan, Former Congressman


  • Music
  • Stars & Salamanders with Frank Slider

Saturday, September 16, 2017

6:30am Bird walk

7-8:00am Continental Breakfast

8:00am Registration and display set-up (cont.)

8:00am Morning and all-day outings organize

11:00am Round Table Discussions

  • Poet’s Round Table

1:00pm Afternoon Outings Organize

1:30pm Workshops, round-table discussions

  • Partner’s Roundtables

4:00pm – A Celebration of the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy

5:00pm, evening reception/posters/displays

6:00pm, Dinner

6:45pm Almost Heaven Caught on Film
Photo Safari with Kent 

7:00pm, Panel Discussion/Keynote

  • Toxic Soup or a Hearty Broth?

9:00pm, Square Dance

  • Featuring Born Old with calls by Jackie Burns and Judy VanGundy
  • Stars & Salamanders with Frank Slider

Sunday, September 17, 2017

6:30am, Bird walk

7-8:00am, Continental Breakfast

8:00am, morning and all-day outings organize

9am Panel Discussion

  • Maintaining Sanity – In An Uncertain Future

11:00am Box lunches, afternoon outings

Contact us at; wvhc50@gmail.com


Program Highlights

Silent Auction – Consider donating an item.

Raffle – we’re open for suggestions.

Displays/Posters – We’ll have plenty of space for our partners to set up displays highlighting their organization, research, or projects.

Workshops – We’ll have time and space for talks, presentations or workshops.  We want to learn more about you or your organization.

Round Table Discussions – both structured and impromptu discussions around various topics.


Conservation Leaders, Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow

The past meets the future as conservation leaders from all generations gather to reflect on careers, successes & failures, perseverance, friendships, tomorrow, and that common thread that binds us all — our love and appreciation for this special place. Rather than a formal sit-down dinner, we’ll have a reception with plenty of fare.


Canaan Valley – Promised Land

Winning the battle against the Davis Power Project allowed for the creation of the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge. This panel discussion will recall some of our earliest struggles and the 50 years of work that manifests itself in the Nation’s 500th National Wildlife Refuge.


The Monongahela National Forest

Strong Forest Management Plans and Wilderness protection help to keep the Monongahela Wild and Wonderful. This panel, Moderated by Dr. Mary Wimmer, will recall citizen involvement with Forest planning and Wilderness designation.


A Celebration of the Highlands Conservancy

A celebratory reception honoring and recognizing our History, our Founders as well as our accomplishments.


Toxic Soup or a Hearty Broth?

Where Science, Litigation, Activism and Public Interest Intersect. A Moderated Panel Discussion/keynote address.


Maintaining Sanity – In An Uncertain Future

A panel discussion about Climate Change, renewable energy, and sustainability. What does tomorrow hold?

Square Dance Featuring Born Old

Born Old is Paul Gartner (banjo, guitar & vocals) and Doug Van Gundy (fiddle, guitar, mandolin & vocals). Making music together for over 19 years, they perform regularly throughout West Virginia and surrounding states, and have been featured at both the Appalachian String Band Festival (Clifftop) and Vandalia Gathering annually for over a decade.

The duo plays traditional old-time music from West Virginia, as well as early country classics from the great artists of the 78 rpm era, including The Carter Family, Charlie Poole, Uncle Dave Macon, and others.

Their performances are traditional and informative without sacrificing a very high energy, raucous, and fun factor.

Field Trips

Tentative – Details are still being finalized

Scenic Chairlift Rides, $7 adults

Highlands Car Tour, We’ll have a self-guided car tour highlighting regional attractions and scenic destinations.

Half-day outings
Abe’s Run Swamp hike
Canaan Valley and the Davis Power Project Canaan Valley State Park Hike
History of the ski industry in Canaan Valley Red Spruce tree planting and restoration tour

All Day outings
Caving – Sinks of Gandy, Stillhouse Cave
Canoeing/kayaking – Blackwater River Hike – Otter Creek, South Prong Trail
Bike – Blackwater Canyon Trail
White Water Paddling – Dry Fork River,

Stars & Salamanders with Frank Slider

Join longtime WVHC activist & Master Naturalist Frank Slider for a night time hike on Cabin Mountain. We will observe the newly arrived autumn constellations, weather permitting, from a dark sky site with little ambient light. While up in this high elevation habitat, we will discuss the threatened Cheat Mountain salamander (Plethodon nettingi) and how fragmentation of the red spruce habitat has exacerbated the salamander’s decline.

Help Us Celebrate!

Help us make the 50th Celebration extra special.

  •   Contact us with the names and contact information of people you know who have some connection with the Highlands Conservancy who may not still be engaged.
  •   Write about an issue that you know about, were involved with, or the success from our efforts you enjoy. Share your personal memories or experiences.
  •   Offer to lead an outing to one of the places we’ve fought to protect over the last 50 years.
  •   Share your stories or experiences working with, or even against, us on some issue.
  •   Clean out your closets for memorabilia, or other items to bring to the Canaan Celebration in September to share with us.
  •   Donate a silent auction or raffle item.
  •   Get out those old photo albums and bring them with you to Canaan for a photo-sharing display.
  •   But most of all, JOIN US September 15-17 at the Canaan Valley State Park to help us celebrate 5 decades of Fighting to Protect the Highlands!

Join Us!

Contact us at: wvhc50@gmail.com


Canaan Valley State Park, 800-622-4121

  •   WVHC 50th special rate of $119/night.
  •   Cabin Rentals available to sleep 4-12.
  •   Canaan Valley State Park Campgrounds, Paved, full hookups.

Register here.


2017-09-15 00:00 2017-09-15 18:00 America/New_York WVHC Highlands Conservancy 50th Anniversary Celebration and Conference

Celebrating 50 Years! Planting the Seeds & Helping Them Grow 50 Years of Tending the Environment in West Virginia The West Virginia Highlands Conservancy was officially founded in 1967 but […]

Canaan Valley Resort State Park WVHC50@gmail.com