2000 - 2004
December 2000: Friends of Blackwater (”FOB”) was formed to coordinate the Campaign to move 2,700 acres of the Blackwater Canyon threatened by logging and development into public ownership. FOB opened its office in Asbury Methodist Church in Charleston and developed a website, e-mail alerts, and quarterly newsletters. Click here to view newsletters.
January 2001: In State of the State address incoming West Virginia Governor Wise committed to preserving special places like Blackwater Canyon.
May 2001: FOB received National Wildlife Federation grant to protect rare butterflies in Blackwater Canyon.
November 2001: Friends of Blackwater kicked off the “Special Places Campaign" with mass mailing, e-mail, and TV ads. 3,000 postcards were sent to Governor Wise to nominate Blackwater Canyon as the most special wild place in West Virginia
January 2002: In a deal brokered by FOB, Governor Wise bought 500 acres along the Blackwater River from Allegheny Power to add to Blackwater Falls State Park. Click here to view the 500 acre addition.
March 2002: FOB’s North Fork Watershed Project began with an office in Tucker County. The Project’s goal is cleaning up acid mine drainage in the North Fork of the Blackwater River. Click here to visit the North Fork website.
June 2002: United States Forest Service received a request by Allegheny Wood Products (AWP) to turn the public Blackwater Canyon Trail into a logging haul road.
November 2002: FOB spearheaded a Campaign to stop AWP from turning the Blackwater Canyon Trail into a logging road. 10,000 comments were sent to the Forest Service. FOB got support from The Wilderness Society, American Rivers, American Lands, American Hiking Society, Canoe Cruisers Association, Endangered Species Coalition and many West Virginia groups.
June 2003: The FOB JR Clifford Project began with a Labor History Workshop in Thomas funded by the West Virginia Humanities Council. JR Clifford was West Virginia’s first African American Attorney whose nationally significant civil rights case came from the “Coketon Colored School” in Blackwater Canyon.
August 2003: The US Forest Service agreed to do a full Environmental Impact Statement on AWP's proposal to turn the public Blackwater Canyon Trail into a logging road.
January 2004: Friends of Blackwater launched the Blackwater Election Petition to make sure West Virginia political candidates made Blackwater Protection part of their political platform and fifteen candidates running for statewide political offices issued public statements proclaiming their support for protection of West Virginia's Blackwater Canyon.
April 2004: First reenactment of an 1898 "separate, but equal" case argued and won first in Tucker County, and again in Charleston at the State Supreme Court by West Virginia's first African-American lawyer, John Robert Clifford. The casewas titled “Carrie Williams vs the Board of Education.
July 2004: Blackwater Falls State Park was named a "21st Century American Heritage Place" by Americans for Our Heritage and Recreation after being nominated by FOB. Blackwater Falls was chosen for the national award because of the Park’s ability to provide close to home recreation and a variety of recreational opportunities like hiking, fishing, swimming and horseback riding.
September 2004: Friends of Blackwater hosted "Visioning Blackwater Canyon National Park" conference.
October 2004: Friends of Blackwater -- backed by coalition of five other groups -- notified Allegheny Wood Products (AWP) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“Service”) of AWP’s violations of the Endangered Species Act in an attempt to save the critically imperiled Indiana bat and Cheat three-toothed snail from AWP’s logging and road building in Cheat River Canyon.
October 2004: Friends of Blackwater joined Citizens for Responsible Wind Power in seeking a moratorium on the construction of any industrial wind facilities in the state until the General Accounting Office (GAO) did a study of the effects of these huge projects on the Allegheny Mountains. The GAO study was called for by Congressman Allan Mollohan and by Congressman Nick Joe Rahall.