Lands Along Historic Civil War Route Protected (WV)

A portion of a scenic, Civil War-era corridor above Bartow has been protected and added to the Monongahela National Forest, The Trust for Public Land announced today.

The 448-acre property is located on a bluff adjacent to a stretch of the historic Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike, a heavily traveled route over the Allegheny Mountains during the Civil War. The property’s turnpike route extends from the base of Allegheny Mountain at Staunton, Va. over the mountain into W.Va. to the Ohio River in Parkersburg, W.Va. The Turnpike, a designated National Scenic Byway, links battlefields at Rich Mountain, Cheat Summit, and Camps Allegheny and Bartow, and is promoted through the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike Alliance. The Alliance preserves Turnpike history and promotes tourism and visitors to the area.

The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national conservation organization, conveyed the property to the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) as an addition to the Monongahela National Forest. In partnership with the USFS, TPL has helped protect more than 72,000 acres in the Monongahela over the last two decades for outdoor recreation, habitat, and water quality protection.

“This land will enhance an already remarkable natural and historic experience for West Virginians, adding a scenic bluff overlooking Deer Creek Valley to the Monongahela National Forest, while also helping to protect an important Civil War route,” said Lynda Frost, TPL project manager.

The $900,000 purchase price was entirely funded by an appropriation from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), secured with the support of members of the West Virginia congressional delegation, led by U.S. Congressman Nick Rahall, Chairman of the House Natural Resource Committee and U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd, a leading member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Efforts are underway in Congress now to permanently fund the LWCF at its fully authorized annual level of $900 million.

“Adding this historic Civil War corridor to the Monongahela National Forest will help boost tourism and create economic opportunities in Pocahontas County,” said Chairman Nick Rahall. “I will continue to lead efforts in the Congress to fully fund the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, which stimulates local economies while preserving West Virginia’s rich natural, cultural, and historic heritage for future generations to enjoy.”

“We are pleased this property is now available for the public to use as part of the Monongahela National Forest, and appreciate the efforts of the many people who worked to complete the transaction,” said Clyde Thompson, Forest Supervisor for the Monongahela.

“We are thrilled that this section of this historic corridor is being preserved through the addition of the land to the Monongahela National Forest, a natural asset that West Virginians are most proud of,” said Mary Rayme of the Staunton-Parkersburg Alliance.

The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since 1972, TPL has helped protect nearly 3 million acres nationwide, including more than 73,000 acres in West Virginia.