Forest Watch Coalition Meeting and Workshop

By Jim Sconyers

The Forest Watch Coalition meets October 20 - 22 at Shot Cherry Cabin (near Spruce Knob) and Seneca Rocks. There will be two phases. Both are open to anyone interested in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) or the future of the Monongahela National Forest.

Part 1 will be a GIS workshop by Canaan Valley Institute (CVI). This half-day session familiarizes us with what GIS is, how it can be used as a planning tool for conservation, and how to get the necessary hardware and software to use GIS. The workshop also previews full GIS training that CVI will offer later.

Part 2 is a working session on planning for the upcoming revision of the Monongahela National Forest Plan. We will work on areas of concern in the Mon; examples of recovery of the mighty forest; what to keep and what to change in the existing Plan; and more. We will have the Indiana citizensí plan for the Hoosier National Forest to review.

The Forest Service will be starting to work on Plan revision in 2001, and this is our chance to prepare for meaningful involvement in the revision process.

Schedule:

Friday, October 20 - Meet at Shot Cherry Cabin. Arrive any time after 4:00 PM to meet, have supper (BYO/brown bag), network with others interested in the Mon, and read the Hoosier National Forest Plan as an example of a citizensí plan. Shot Cherry Cabin is near Spruce Knob (see directions below). It is a rustic but comfortable log cabin with bunk beds, full kitchen and bathroom facilities, in a beautiful mountain setting. Overnight at the cabin.

Saturday, October 21

7:30 AM Breakfast (provided). Then we travel to Seneca Rocks Discovery Center for the GIS workshop, with presenter Paul Kinder of the Canaan Valley Institute.

10:00 AM - 2:00 PM GIS Workshop in the Seneca Rocks Discovery Center(directions included). Presenter Paul Kinder is a GIS specialist for CVI. Lunch: brown bag/BYO.

3:00 PM Return to Shot Cherry Cabin to begin first Mon Plan revision session. Focus on the existing Mon Forest Plan, and the Hoosier Forest Plan as an example of a citizensí plan.

6:00 PM Supper (provided).

7:00 - 9:00 PM Continue Mon Plan revision session. Review and feedback on Vision for the Mon Plan revision; develop a framework building on the Mon and Hoosier plans and/or other models. Overnight at the cabin.

Sunday, October 22 - Shot Cherry Cabin

8:00 Breakfast (provided).

9:00 AM - 1:30 PM Continue Mon Plan revision work, including science standards, protection criteria, restoration, and more. Wrap-up, summarize, identify and assign tasks, establish timelines. Depart after lunch (provided).

Arrive Friday night or Saturday morning at Shot Cherry Cabin, come directly to the GIS workshop at Seneca Rocks on Saturday, or join us Saturday afternoon at Shot Cherry.

Directions to Shot Cherry Cabin

Shot Cherry Cabin is near Spruce Knob Lake Campground just east of Forest Road (FR) 112 on the road to Woodlands Institute (new name is Mountain Institute in case signs have changed). If you go through Seneca Rocks, stay on Route 28 through Judy Gap and Cherry Grove. About 4 miles south of Cherry Grove, turn right on Sawmill Run Road (sign for Spruce Knob Lake and Woodlands Institute). (If you are coming from the south on Route 28, Sawmill Run Road is a left turn about 5 - 6 miles from the Pocahontas/ Pendleton Co. line.) Go 3 miles to T, turn left on gravel road, continue 7 - 9 miles to driveway on left. If you come to intersection with FR 112, turn around and go back about 1/2 mi. to driveway on right. If you know the way through Whitmer on back roads, go around Spruce Knob Lake, turn right on FR 112, go about 1 mi., turn left (sign says to Woodlands Institute and Route 28), go 1/2 mi. to driveway on right.

Directions to Seneca Rocks Discovery Center

From the West: Take US 33 east through Elkins and Harman to Seneca Rocks.

From the North: Take I-68 to US 219 South. Take US 219 South to Thomas, WV. In Thomas, take WV 32 south to Harman, WV. From Harman take US 33 south to Seneca Rocks.

From the East and South: Seneca Rocks is at the junction of US 33, WV 28, and WV 55.

To the Seneca Rocks Discovery Center: In Seneca Rocks, at the three-way stop, go south on WV 28 and US 33 a short distance. Turn at the Seneca Rocks Discovery Center sign.

Logistics

The cost to use Shot Cherry Cabin is $10 per night.

Meals: Saturday breakfast and supper, and Sunday breakfast and lunch, will be provided (vegetarian meals). We will "pass the hat" to cover costs of those meals. Other meals are BYO/brown bag. Please bring your own snacks, beverages, etc.

For information and to register, please contact Beth Little/FWC, HC 64 Box 281, Hillsboro, WV 24946. Phone: (304)653-4277, e-mail blittle@citynet.net