As 2019 was coming to a close, my first thoughts were that the year went by in such a whirlwind, but also how it was a very successful, productive and active year for the Conservancy. The Board continued to be very active in the governance of the Conservancy and the Board’s committees were very busy doing their thing, bringing their findings and recommendations to the Board for approval and then reporting to the membership through The Highlands Voice.
The mission of the Conservancy is to promote, encourage and work for the conservation – including both preservation and wise management – and appreciation of the natural resources of West Virginia and the Nation. We focus primarily on the Highlands Region of West Virginia, but our work is for the cultural, social, educational, physical health, spiritual and economic benefit of both present and future generations.
While the issues might be different from year to year, our methods remain fundamental. With members’ help and support, we are able to expose problems, educate the public and policy makers, research better alternatives, and use our collective Voice, our historic record of successes, and our vision for the future, to continue our efforts on behalf of what we all have grown to love, respect and appreciate.
Our record of successes over the past 50+ years is a testament to our tenacity and willingness to tackle tough environmental issues. Thanks to our continued membership support, we can continue projects such as opposing mountaintop removal mining, opposing natural gas pipeline construction across our national forests, conservation of rivers and streams, providing protection for Wilderness Areas and activities on public lands, restoring the red spruce eco-system. We continue, as well, to engage State and Federal lawmakers, and inform the public about important issues such as climate change, Marcellus Shale drilling, proposed power lines, proposed mega gas lines, acid mine drainage, energy production in the highlands, threats to public lands, river clean-up plans and clean water issues. The list continues to grow and grow.
I hope that you have been following our activities in each month’s issue of The Highlands Voice and have found the Voice to be informative and useful for you to understand the threats as well as the opportunities we are facing.
We have also enjoyed together the lands and waters we work so hard to protect. Whether it’s the vast Monongahela National Forest, the spectacular Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge or other highlands locations. I hope that you can get out, or join us at one of our Reviews, outings, workshops or public meetings.
WVHC’s mission is even more urgent than ever before. Threats to our highlands, clean air and clean water are increasing at an alarming rate. In our 50+ years, we have found that when it comes to protecting and preserving the highlands, fearlessness and persistence pay off and our pledge is to continue the fight.
Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous 2020!