48 Hours in Tucker County, West Virginia

In the northeast corner of West Virginia nestled between mountains, lakes, and rivers lies the tiny, quaint county of Tucker. Though the county has a small population of under 5,000, the large sense of community has helped create one of the most beautiful, booming outdoor areas in the United States. Winters filled with an abundance of snow have created a serene mountain...

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How hiking with my autistic son reminded me of the best of WV

By Scott Finn It started out of desperation. Winter is a hard time for my son, Max. He has autism, which means he hates any break in routine — and winter has a knack for screwing up schedules. And not unlike most 10-year-old boys, Max is a tightly-wound ball of kinetic energy. He literally bounces off the walls during the winter. Sometimes, we get in the car and drive...

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Welcome to West Virginia: The Birthplace of Rivers

One-thousand feet deep, Blackwater Canyon, in the heart of West Virginia includes public, state and private land. The canyon is home to the cheat mountain salamander and the West Virginia flying squirrel. Outdoor enthusiasts and history buffs follow the historic railroad grade through the canyon from Thomas to the Limerock trail, seven miles away and beyond. A lush...

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Scientists Just Pinpointed Another Example Of Fracking’s Environmental Impact

A dumping site for fracking fluids long suspected to be leaching into Wolf Creek, a West Virginia waterway with ties to a county’s water supply, has indeed contaminated the creek with multiple chemicals, a new U.S. Geological Survey study has found. The “study demonstrates definitively that the stream is being impacted by [unconventional oil and gas extraction]...

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Honor 100 years of National Park Service with WV hiking challenge

Celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service by hiking 100 miles or more on trails in the New River Gorge National River and Bluestone National Scenic River in 2016. The 100 Mile Challenge is the first of many local events during 2016 to celebrate this landmark anniversary, according to the National Park Service. All challenge participants that hike 100...

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History, beauty, and hiking in Harpers Ferry

Built at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers, Harpers Ferry, WV has become America’s chronicler of centuries of confluences: of a coastal collection of states and a people striking out across a continent, of freedom and shackles, of North and South. The town, of course, was seared into our nation’s consciousness by the failed slave insurrection here in...

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West Virginia Power Company Admits Coal Is Doomed

In front of a roomful of energy executives, the president of Appalachian Power declared that the war on coal was over, and coal had not emerged victorious. This is in West Virginia, a state where coal mining is the largest industry and employer. Charles Patton, president of Appalachian Power, told energy executives that coal consumption is likely to remain stagnant...

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Wildflower Weekend Coming To New River Gorge National River In West Virginia

If, after the long, snowy and cold winter, you’re ready for some colorful spring wildflowers, consider heading to New River Gorge National River in West Virginia this weekend, April 24-26, 2015, for the 12th Annual New River Gorge Wildflower Weekend. This three-day event showcases the biologically diverse southern Appalachian forest at New River Gorge National...

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WV walking, hiking trails ready for spring traffic

The first rays of sunshine have burst through the clouds to melt the snow, and people and animals are emerging from a sleepy winter. While many walking and hiking trails carved through northern West Virginia are well known, such as the Panhandle Trail, Montour Trail and Mingo Creek County Park trails, others are hidden treasures. Enlow Fork is tucked away in Greene...

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New Analysis Shows West Virginia’s Chemical Spill Traveled Into Kentucky

The chemical that contaminated West Virginia’s drinking water supply last year traveled father and lingered longer than had been previously recorded, according to a new study by U.S. Geological Survey researchers. Published online in the journal Chemosphere, the peer-reviewed research shows that the chemical — 4-Methylcyclohexanemethanol, also known as crude MCHM — was...

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On The Anniversary Of The Elk River Chemical Spill, West Virginians Tell Their Stories

January 9, 2015 marks the anniversary of the West Virginia chemical spill in the Elk River, in which thousands of gallons of a toxic chemical used to process coal spilled upstream from a water treatment plant serving the state capital, Charleston, and surrounding areas. Around 300,000 West Virginia residents were left without potable water as officials scrambled to purge...

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Pipeline Plan Sparks National Forest Concerns

Conservationists are worried about plans to run a huge gas pipeline through national forests in Virginia and West Virginia. It’s still in the early stages, but Dominion Transmission Inc. wants to put the 42-inch Atlantic Coast Pipeline through the Monongahela and George Washington forests. Ernie Reed, president and conservation director with Wild Virginia, says it...

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Allegheny Trail started in a parking lot

The idea behind the creation of West Virginia’s longest footpath – the 330-mile-long Allegheny Trail – can be traced to a late-night conversation in a Charleston parking lot. “Sometime in about 1972, I was attending an Izaak Walton League meeting in Charleston, where I was living at the time, when I met Bob Tabor, who had recently moved here from...

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Historic Federal Decision Finds West Virginia Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining Companies Guilty of Damaging Streams

Believe it or not, no federal court in the U.S. had ever ruled that high conductivity discharges from coal mines were harmful to streams until this week. Everything changed with a historic decision in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia that found two companies guilty of violating clean water protections. The decision was a result of a...

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The men who poisoned Charleston’s drinking water now have a “new” business

Freedom Industries, the company whose chemical leak contaminated the tap water of 300,000 West Virginians, will cease to exist once it goes through bankruptcy, but that doesn’t mean its executives are out of the chemical business. Lexycon LLC, a chemical company whose characteristics are strikingly similar to Freedom Industries, registered as a business with the West...

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Group works to create national monument in Monongahela forest

Several organizations are working to establish a national monument in the Monongahela National Forest of West Virginia aimed at preserving about 123,000 acres. The proposed Birthplace of Rivers National Monument in and around the Cranberry Wilderness would include the headwaters of the Cranberry, Williams, Cherry, Greenbrier, Gauley and Elk rivers. Groups working on the...

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New Trails For Hikers Approved For New River Gorge National River

New trails are coming to New River Gorge National River in West Virginia that will appeal to hikers, mountain bikers, and even climbers. “The public expressed a great deal of interest in developing additional trail opportunities for both hiking and bicycling within the park and developing additional segments of the Through Park Connector trail,” said...

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Want To Hike Naked? West Virginia’s Avalon Resort Has Trails For You

June 21st marks the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, the first day of summer and, of course, Hike Naked Day. While not recognized or celebrated by every nudist group, Hike Naked Day takes place on the Summer Solstice each year. According to a press release from the Avalon Resort in Paw Paw, W.Va., “hikers and backpackers nationwide celebrate by hitting...

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The West Virginia Highlands Conservancy Initiates a New Public Lands Outing Program

This Land is Your Land, a new Highlands Conservancy program, will be spending a day or more each month in 2013 to explore, and learn more about our public lands. The West Virginia Highlands Conservancy has a long and rich history of advocating for the protection and wise management of our public lands. That history is equally as rich in giving back to these lands through...

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Storm leaves mark on national forest

Lingering late-season snow is keeping work crews from making repairs to a number of Superstorm Sandy-damaged Monongahela National Forest campgrounds, trails and recreation areas popular with hikers and spring trout anglers. “This is the time of year many people start to think about fishing,” said Eric Sandeno of the Monongahela National Forest headquarters...

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First Great Eastern Trail hikers halfway

Snow clung to the hilltops lining the Tug Fork Valley surrounding them, but at river level, it was a rare snow-free day on the trail for Joanna Swanson and Bart Houck as they walked across the bridge separating McCarr, Ky., from the Mingo County town of Matewan. Their walk into West Virginia marked the fifth state that Swanson and Houck have entered since beginning what...

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The Mountain State is a forest state too

West Virginia is known as the Mountain State, but what do people know about the trees covering those mountains? There are seven state forests and one national forest in West Virginia. The state forests are Seneca State Forest, Kumbrabow State Forest, Greenbrier State Forest, Coopers Rock State Forest, Camp Creek State Forest, Calvin Price State Forest and Cabwaylingo...

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Prepping for the AT 2,184 miles to be ‘in the moment’

During the next several weeks, thousands of people will leave from Springer Mountain in Georgia and begin the 2,184-mile trek to Maine along the Appalachian Trail. For some, the trip is a lifelong dream. They have meticulously planned what to bring, where to stop, how many miles they want walk each day. They have queued up their own resupply boxes, packed with fresh...

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$9 million coming for W.Va. trail, streetscape projects

Grants totaling more than $9 million for a variety of recreational trail, streetscape and sidewalk projects across the state were announced Monday by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. The 22 projects receiving a total of $1.2 million in Recreational Trails Program grants ranged from a $22,500 handicap-accessible upgrade of half-mile Whispering Spruce Trail at the summit of Spruce...

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Great Eastern trail first thru hike attempt set for next month

Hiking enthusiasts are hoping to connect a new trail system that would span from Alabama to New York. The Great Eastern Trail is set to blaze through more than 110 miles in Southern West Virginia. The concept behind the Great Eastern Trail is based on the iconic Appalachian National Trail which runs more than 2,100 miles from Maine to Georgia. While hundreds of AT miles...

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Notice to Hikers and Other Users of the 8th Edition of the Monongahela National Forest Hiking Guide

Allen de Hart is hiking the new trails and re-hiking some of the old trails for the 9th Edition of the Monongahela National Forest Hiking Guide. If readers know of any changes, or re-routing, or corrections needed for the 9th Edition, please contact him at, Telephone: 919-496-4771 or Email: [email protected], or postal mail to 3585 US-40l South, Louisburg, NC 27549 no...

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Saving Hemlocks In West Virginia

Among the oldest, most majestic trees in our forests are the hemlocks. Isolated stands of them date back 500 years or more. For decades, hemlocks in eastern states, most notably in the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains, have been under assault by an invasive species, the hemlock wooly adelgid. The tiny insect has devastated some hemlock forests, and it has made its way...

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Climate change resilient landscapes IDd in Va, WV

Vast national forest areas and scattered pockets of undeveloped lands in West Virginia and Virginia are among the regions that would be resilient to drought, rising temperatures and other threats associated with climate change, according to a study released by The Nature Conservancy. The study identifies “strongholds” that could provide habitat to a variety...

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Appalachian Trail Conservancy Visitor Center Hosts Hiking Season Kickoff

On Saturday, May 5th, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) will host an event to celebrate the arrival of the spring hiking season at the ATC’s Visitor Center in Harpers Ferry, WV. Admission is free and all are welcome to attend. The beginning of May marks the arrival of northbound thru-hikers in HarpersFerry, the psychological half-way point of...

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Ticket to Ride

This spring, thousands of students will get the chance to visit national parks around the country as part of the National Park Foundation’s new Ticket to Ride program. Kids will learn about the benefits of healthy living by studying the lifestyles of the historic Timucuan Indians at Timucuan Ecological and Historic National Preserve, realize the achievements of...

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