Maybe a New Acquisition for the Monongahela National Forest?

            The United States Forest Service has an opportunity to acquire a 367 acre tract known as the Hooke Property.

The property has high recreational value because it lies directly in the viewshed of the popular overlook on Gaudineer Knob.  This parcel is surrounded by National Forest land, so it presents an opportunity to ensure that potential future land uses are compatible with the scenic view and other management goals of the National Forest.

The Hooke property also lies within the historic range of the red spruce ecosystem that crowns the highest elevations of the Allegheny Mountains.  The property presents opportunities to restore red spruce habitat as part of the Forest Service’s landscape-scale spruce ecosystem restoration efforts, in which the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy and many other organizations are partners.  This property has the potential to form a connection between red spruce restoration sites in the upper Greenbrier River watershed and existing mature spruce forests on top of Shaver’s Mountain.

Forest Service management of the Hooke property would have the potential to enhance habitat for the West Virginia northern flying squirrel, a Regional Forester’s Sensitive Species, and possibly other rare species.

Whether or not the Forest Service acquires the property is largely a matter of money. The supply is not unlimited and there are always multiple interests competing for it.

The West Virginia Highlands Conservancy has written a letter supporting the acquisition.