Thoughts From Our President

By Marilyn Shoenfeld

Another month has flown by, and we are heading into fall. We have all been busy. The Legislative Committee is developing a set of legislative priorities for the West Virginia Environmental Council in preparation for the next session of the legislature. These priorities will include the protection of West Virginia’s public lands, keeping Off-Road Vehicle’s out of state parks and other public lands, protecting our water, and commemorating the ten-year anniversary of the Elk River disaster in Charleston with other environmental groups. We would appreciate any suggestions from our members.

Our Fall Review at Canaan Resort State Park is coming up soon and is scheduled for the weekend of October 13-15! The theme is Water; there will be speakers and panels on all things water, including legislative updates, panel sessions with local water officials, a tour of the CVSP water treatment facility, sedimentation and the candy darter, PFAS and lead contamination, and much more. Our keynote address will be given by Dr. Nicolas Zegre, associate professor of forest hydrology at West Virginia University and the director of the Mountain Hydrology Lab on Water Justice.

On Saturday, there will also be an opportunity to network with other environmental groups in West Virginia and learn about the important issues we are facing in the pursuit of conservation and preserving our public lands for generations to come. 

A bird walk is scheduled for Saturday morning, and a mindfulness walk on Sunday to start your day. Our Annual Meeting of Membership and Quarterly Board of Directors Meeting will take place on Sunday morning as well. You can view the full schedule of events and RSVP at

In other news, we are working in partnership with the Friends of Blackwater, who are sponsoring a “Go North” campaign to advocate for a reroute of the Parsons to Davis section of Corridor H. 

There has been good news lately in that the proposed “Go North” route, advocated by the Go North Alliance, will be included in upcoming highway studies. On the front page of this issue, Hugh Rogers expands on the recent developments that put the alternate route back on the table. The Go North Alliance, of which the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy is a part, is an alliance of environmental groups, business owners, and residents in Hardy, Tucker, Randolph, and nearby counties advocating for a route that best serves our communities and imparts the least harm on these environmentally sensitive and unique areas of West Virginia. 

While this is good news concerning the consideration of the northern route, the issue is far from resolved, and Friends of Blackwater are hosting the Go North House Party Fundraiser at the home of Bruce and Andrea Dalton, at 333 Buck Run in Timberline. The house party will take place from 2-5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 9. 

We invite you to come enjoy food, drinks and live music from David and Cindy Proudfoot! There will also be a range of silent auction items, including bike rentals from Blackwater Bikes, a four-night stay in a Canaan Valley house, a basket from Wild Ginger & Spice, local art and a lot more. For more information and to RSVP visit the Go North website.

If you cannot attend but would still like to support the cause, you can still donate on the Go North website. Funds from the event will contribute to legal fees and an independent engineering report on the routes studied by the West Virginia Division of Highways and help the Go North Alliance reach their goal of $50,000.

Thank you all for reading and remember that suggestions and comments are always welcome.