The West Virginia Land Trust (WVLT) was awarded a $400,000 Abandoned Mine Land grant as a contribution toward their goal of purchasing Vandalia owned property off Camp 70 in Davis.
The Yellow Creek Preserve, as WVLT refers to the property, is approximately 900 acres that includes popular recreational trails and hunting opportunities. The infamous mountain biking destination Moon Rocks resides within the 900 acres.
On Monday, December 10 Governor Jim Justice announced more than a dozen grants awarded to recipients in Northern West Virginia. These included two Abandoned Mine Land (AML) Grants, six Recycling Assistance Grants, and 11 Recreational Trails Program Grants.
“These grants are essential as we continue to grow West Virginia and provide programs that help our communities and citizens,” Gov. Justice said. “The multiplier effect on our return is at least eight times and many times it is more. As we move our state forward, and we are, the impact to our economy is substantial.”
“This group has already been fundraising and invested some of their own money into this campaign to purchase the property,” said Ed Maguire, Director of the Office of the Environmental Advocate for the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. “That impressed us on the selection committee because this group put a lot of their own skin in the game,” Maguire said.
“This is an important piece of property that draws people to nearby communities and that we intend to make available to the public for recreation,” Brent Bailey, WVLT executive director, said.
According to WVLT, the property is threatened by development, and they want to step in to see it protected. “In recent years, parts of the property were being sold parcel by parcel into private ownership and that threatened public access,” Bailey said.
At the award ceremony, Maguire indicated that although the property sits in an area with abandoned mine land it still has significant recreational and conservation values. The property borders nearly 20,000 acres of other public lands that include the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge and Little Canaan Wildlife Management Area.
“It not only has tremendous recreation potential, it also includes unique upland and wetland habitats that create the iconic landscapes that draw people to the Canaan Valley area,” Bailey said.