Thoughts From Our President

By Marilyn Shoenfeld

As July flows into August and the temperature rises, the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy continues its mission to protect and preserve the highlands. Our summer Board of Directors meeting was held virtually on July 16, and all committees reported actions and movement on their respective goals. I am awed by the level of knowledge and experience we have on our board and the cooperation between all participants. 

The sad news is that Cindy Rank has retired from the board. She has served for 45 years—yes, that is 45. She will continue to chair the Extractive Committee, but her wisdom and common sense will be sorely missed. There are two new board members—Ashton Berdine and Andrew Young. Both bring excellent qualifications to our group and will be valuable members.

The Highways Committee, now chaired by Hugh Rogers, had its first article in the Voice relating to Corridor H in 1972—how many years is that? The committee has been reactivated by the West Virginia Division of Highway’s push to complete the section of Corridor H from Parsons to Davis. Their preferred route goes between Thomas and Davis and over the Douglas Falls area. This would divide the two towns that have been working together for over 20 years. The committee is part of a larger group that is having some success in getting the West Virginia Division of Highways to consider a northern route. 

Our Grants Committee has filed for two grants and is looking at other sources of lending. Led by Luanne McGovern, this, our newest committee, is off to a roaring start.            

The Futures Committee is working on ways to attract new members and partners. This committee is leading the way for the Conservancy to set new goals and achieve new heights in environmental activism.

Larry Thomas is leading the Public Lands Committee, which is involved with the United States Forest Service in many areas. All projects in the Monongahela National Forests are subject to their scrutiny and comments—both positive and negative!        

The Dolly Sods Wilderness Stewards program is expanding. Training has been held for new members. More members are needed. There is an opportunity to participate in the Dolly Sods Wilderness Training on August 26 at the Seneca Rocks Discovery Center. There are more details and an opportunity to sign up on page 6.

This is just a fraction of what our committees do; please consider volunteering for one or more of them. We always need new folks and look to our membership for support.

Our Fall Review is being held on Oct. 13-15 at the Canaan Valley Resort and State Park. On Friday night, there will be a meet and greet. On Saturday will have a day full of a wonderful program of talks and outings. It will be a “weekend of education, environmental activism and fellowship.” The theme is water—covering local and global issues. We hope you join us.

The Outings Program has a mushroom meander scheduled for Sept. 10. It will be a short hike through Canaan Valley State Park, led by local fungi expert Kristen Wicket.

Remember to volunteer and email me with any questions. Would the gentleman who emailed me about volunteering for the board please email me again? I cannot find your email. 

Thanks for reading!