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On July 30, 2010, the United States Forest Service issued a Record of Decision, ruling that the historic Blackwater Canyon Rail-Trail will not be turned into an industrial logging road.

Eight dramatic years of unrelenting citizen effort, led by Friends of Blackwater, have paid off -- for West Virginia, for America, and for our public lands. This ruling is a victory for good science, for good public policy, and for people power!

A copy of the entire Forest Service decision may be seen here. And we'll have full details about the decision in our next Friends of Blackwater newsletter.

Additionally, you can read the Final Environmental Impact Statement here.

Winning this battle to save the 120-year-old Canyon Trail was not easy. Citizens filed over seventeen thousand comments with the Forest Service. We endured endless comment periods, studies, and trips to Washington. Go here to see some of the images from this campaign. What a story!

We who love the Blackwater Canyon and West Virginia’s Highlands say today, to the men and women of the Forest Service, "Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for doing the right thing." And we must especially thank West Virginia Congressman Alan Mollohan for his five years of sustained effort to protect our public lands.

And of course, we all have to say to each other, loudly: “Thank you, thank you, for pulling together for so long and hard to win this victory! Hooray!"

Protecting the historic Blackwater Canyon Rail-Trail is so important because the Trail and the Canyon are a “jobs engine” for the West Virginia Highlands' recreational and tourism economy.

And now, let's keep the momentum going!

We need to build on this victory, and we can, if we continue to work together. You can make a difference today by going here to send an e-mail message -- telling West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin to protect the remaining private land in the Canyon. It's time!

Finally -- what better way to celebrate this victory than to donate to support Friends of Blackwater's work? Our mail address is 501 Elizabeth St, Charleston WV 25311. You can donate securely online by PayPal or credit card here.

This Canyon Trail victory was not a fluke. It occurred because people like you joined together to make a difference. We need your support now to protect the entire Blackwater Canyon, "Ginny" the West Virginia northern flying squirrel, and to wage our other campaigns.

Thank you, thank you, and thank you. Hooray!

Judy Rodd, Director

P.S. To get details on how you can hike or bike our newly protected Blackwater Canyon Trail, call Athey Lutz or Lori Halderman in our Davis Office, at 304-259-5600 or e-mail Athey at