Lawsuit Launched to Protect Endangered West Virginia Species from Coal Hauling

Candy darter, bats, mussels imperiled in Upper Gauley watershed FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEApril 25, 2023 RICHWOOD, W.Va.— Conservation groups notified the U.S. Forest Service today they intended to sue over the agency’s failure to protect endangered species from the harmful effects of coal hauling in the Monongahela National Forest. Today’s notice asserts that the Forest Service violated the Endangered Species [...]

Julian Martin, Mountain Defender

The West Virginia Highlands Conservancy is mourning the loss of our longtime friend and board member Julian Martin, who recently passed away on March 24. In tribute, we present this collection of words of praises, a bit of biography and some of his own words.  Julian served on the boards of the Conservancy, the Kanawha [...]

Thoughts from our President

By Larry Thomas April found Old Man Winter once again still wasn’t quite ready to leave the highlands. We had heavy winds and freezing temperatures that continued to do significant damage. Even so, signs of spring are everywhere you look. What a wonderful time of the year Mother Nature is providing.  The Administration Announces New [...]

Why Is It So Important to Use a Bear Canister on the Trail?

By Chloe Lindal, Leave No Trace The Appalachian Trail Conservancy has a new policy in place requiring thru hikers bring a bear canister with them as one of their vital items. The Appalachian Trail has become increasingly popular in recent years with a massive influx of visitors exploring one of the longest most beloved trail [...]

Water Quality Certification Vacated

Mountain Valley Pipeline Hits Another Bump in the Road By John McFerrin The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has invalidated a critical certification that would have allowed the Mountain Valley Pipeline to cross streams and wetlands in West Virginia. Background (stop me if you’ve heard this one) The Mountain Valley Pipeline [...]

Coal Not the Only Thing Hurting Environment 

Robert Beanblossom Before I retired, West Virginia state code made the director of the Division of Natural Resources or his designated representative an ex officio member of the board of directors of the Hatfield-McCoy Regional Recreation Authority. I served as that designated representative for several years. It was frustrating to participate in board meetings and [...]

A Little Update on Leaky Gas Wells

The February 2023 issue of The Highlands Voice reported on a new proposal by the United States Environmental Protection Agency to limit methane leaks from oil and gas operations. The industry opposes the proposal. In 2022 the oil and gas industry spent just over $124 million lobbying on this and other issues. The West Virginia Highlands Conservancy [...]

Conservancy Challenges Forest Service Project in the Upper Greenbrier River Watershed

By Rick Webb With the assistance of Appalachian Mountain Advocates, the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy has asked a United States District Court to require Forest Service compliance with National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review requirements before proceeding with the Greenbrier Southeast Project, a Monongahela National Forest management proposal involving extensive steep-slope earth disturbance and commercial clearcutting in [...]

Dolly Sods Wilderness Stewards Update

The gates on the roads to Dolly Sods are open now, and we can expect the number of visitors to begin building up to Memorial Day weekend, which unofficially kicks off the busy season. The Dolly Sods Wilderness Stewards have been planning for this and will be continuing our tried-and-true previous programs as well as [...]

The Cost of Renewables Versus the True Cost of Coal

By Perry Bryant Last year, Charlette Lane, Chairwoman of the state’s Public Service Commission, wrote an op ed in the Charleston Gazette-Mail claiming that burning coal is cheaper than installing renewables such as wind and solar. That really depends on what costs are included, and Chairwoman Lane failed to include the harm that burning coal [...]

Board Highlights

By John McFerrin The Board of Directors of the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy met on Earth Day, 2023 (aka April 22). It was some of the same old, same old with a strong dash of the new. We had some new board members: Ashton Burdine. Many may know Ashton from his work with the West [...]

Welcoming a New Member to Our Board!

At the quarterly Board of Directors meeting held in April, the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy welcomed Ashton Berdine, lands program manager at the West Virginia Land Trust, to the board as an organizational director representing the Brooks Bird Club. Family and neighbors sparked Ashton Berdine’s interest in the outdoors at an early age by offering [...]