Partnership Funds Cheat River Canyon Conservation Project

The Nature Conservancy, The Conservation Fund, and the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources announced on Sunday that Cheat Canyon will be protected as part of a massive conservation partnership.

The partnership has acquired on 3,800 acres on a seven mile stretch of the Cheat River.  The Nature Conservancy retained 1,300 acres as a nature preserve from a donation from Charlotte Ryde. This stretch of land will be renamed as the Charlotte Ryde Nature Preserve.

The remaining land will be transferred to the WVDNR as a place for public recreation on the lower lands of Cheat River.

The project will cost $7 million, but will conserve the Canyon not included in Cooper's Rock State Forest and Snake Hill Wildlife Management Area. This will make public access to the area for fishing, hunting, white water rafting, and hiking more available to the public.

"This is one of the most beloved landscapes in West Virginia. It is, in many ways, the New River Gorge of northern West Virginia," said Rodney Bartgis, state director of The Nature Conservancy in West Virginia. "We're looking forward to this project fulfilling the hopes of so many outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. The substantial investment the Conservancy is making in this project reflects our commitment to this landscape."

The Conservation Fund negotiated the purchase from the Forestland Group, a timber investment firm.  The Nature Conservancy provided $3 million to make the deal.  This was all made possible by private funding and from money dedicated for conservation from the West Virginia Outdoor Heritage Fund, the Land and Conservation Fund through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund, and the WVDEP In Lieu Fee Program.

You can learn more about the Cheat River Canyon conservation purchase by clicking here.



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