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Contact: David Bieri, 304-465-2516
Glen Jean, West Virginia, April 1, 2015—In April, four West Virginia forests will be added to a growing list of forests included in the Old Growth Forest Network. The first West Virginia forest to be dedicated into the network will be an old growth forest located in the federally protected New River Gorge National River. On April 15 at 10 am, a group will gather at the trailhead at Stone Cliff for a brief dedication ceremony. After the dedication there will be a hike into one of the few old-growth forests that remain in West Virginia. The dedication and hike are free and open to the public.
The Old-Growth Forest Network is the first national organization working specifically to designate ancient forests for the enjoyment of present and future generations. In counties capable of supporting forest growth, they identify at least one forest that has been protected from logging and open to the public. The organization then helps families connect with those forests. The result will be a national network of treasured forests where all generations can experience native biodiversity and the beauty of nature. States that already have forests in the network include New York, Massachusetts, California, Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Colorado, Hawaii, Michigan, Virginia and Florida. Other old growth forests that will be added to the forest network in West Virginia include Cathedral State Park, Pierson Hollow of Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park, and Gaudineer Scenic Area in Monongahela National Forest.
Dr. Joan Maloof, founder and director of the Old-Growth Forest Network, will be present for trailhead dedication ceremonies at each forest. Also present will be the Old-Growth Forest Network's volunteer county coordinators. The Network relies on volunteer county coordinators to help identify the best representative forests for each county and coordinate the people and information needed for these forests to become included in the Network. Dr. Maloof stated, "We look forward to adding more West Virginia counties to the Network in the future. We depend on a volunteer in each county to help us identify candidate forests". Interested volunteers are welcome to contact the Old Growth Forest Network through their website: www.oldgrowthforest.net.
To reach the Stone Cliff trailhead from Beckley, take Route 19 to the Glen-Jean-Thurmond exit and turn right towards Glen Jean. Take an immediate left and go 0.5 miles to Glen Jean. Turn right and follow the signs for Thurmond (WV Route 25). Continue for 6 miles to a three-way intersection. Bear right and go 1.5 miles on this road. Take a right on the gravel road, just before the bridge crossing the New River. Continue past the boat launch to the parking area.
About the National Park Service
More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 407 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov. Learn more about parks near you;find your park and share your park stories at www.FindYourPark.com.