Citizens Object to Plan for Commercial Logging in Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge
The West Virginia conservation group Friends of Blackwater has filed a comment letter with the Fish and Wildlife Service challenging a proposal to commercially log 1,600 acres in the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge near Davis, West Virginia. The West Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club and the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy also signed the letter, and 300 individuals sent in their own letters during a comment period that ended on September 11, 2018. The national conservation group, Defenders of Wildlife also sent a letter questioning the proposed logging.
Canaan Valley is an iconic natural area in West Virginia’s Allegheny Mountains. Located in the highest valley east of the Mississippi River, the Valley is 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 designed 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.
“We were shocked to learn that the managers of the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge were planning to bring commercial logging into the Valley for a long-term logging project. This seems to go against the recovery goals on which the Refuge was founded. The Refuge also failed to follow federal procedures for involving the public in decision making on our public lands,” said Judy Rodd, Director of Friends of Blackwater.
Learn more about this subject on our blog. You can also read comments submitted by Friends of Blackwater and the West Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club here or read comments submitted by Defenders of Wildlife here.