We just found out that the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge will not be moving forward with commercial timbering. Thank you to everyone who participated in the comment period!
The press release we put out on this good news is below. You can also read the Refuge’s response to comments here.
The Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge in Tucker County, West Virginia has cancelled plans for commercial timbering in the Refuge, according to the conservation group Friends of Blackwater, which mobilized hundreds of public, legal, and scientific comments opposing the timbering plan.
Judy Rodd, director of the Friends group, said, “We are very happy that endangered species habitat will be protected using non-commercial forest management to promote a diversity of habitat types on the Refuge.”
Rodd said that the Refuge intends to use “experimental habitat plots” to provide the Refuge with data that will determine whether commercial timbering is desirable.
“We appreciate the Refuge’s willingness to listen to public input and adapt their management approach,” Rodd said. “Thank you to everyone who participated in the comment period for the commercial timbering proposal. Many commenters wrote about their love of Canaan Valley and the unique ecology of the Refuge. Your voices made a difference! Thanks also to the West Virginia Sierra Club, the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy and Defenders of Wildlife for sending in comments.”
Canaan Valley is an iconic natural area in West Virginia’s Allegheny Mountains. Located in the highest wetland valley east of the Mississippi River, the Valley contains the main headwaters of the Blackwater River and is the second-largest inland wetland in the United States. The Valley floor is at 3,200 feet with surrounding mountains reaching 4,200 feet.
Canaan Valley is home to 54 rare plants, the federally listed Cheat Mountain salamander, the rare West Virginia flying squirrel, and the Indiana and northern long-eared bats. Devastated by logging and fires at the turn of the last century, 16,000 acres of Canaan Valley were designated a National Wildlife Refuge in 1994 with a goal of restoring the forest and boreal wetlands that had been degraded by logging and skid roads.
You can also read the Post-Gazette’s coverage here.