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Agreements Protect More Than 400 Acres of WV Forest

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Agreements protecting more than 400 acres of mountain forest along Mount Porte Crayon were announced Friday during an event along the ridge-top property about 25 miles east of Elkins, according to a news release from Randy Edwards, of the Nature Conservancy.

The 415 forested acres, that will become a part of the Monongahela National Forest, is protected for future generations through a partnership involving the Nature Conservancy, the U.S. Forest Service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

"This area will be a wonderful addition to the National Forest system," noted Monongahela National Forest Supervisor Clyde Thompson. "Connecting high elevation habitats and providing additional land available to the public is a winning combination, and we've been extremely fortunate to have The Nature Conservancy as a partner to make this a reality."

Officials said the property includes 300 acres that will be sold to the U.S. Forest Service using funds from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, and 115 acres that will be purchased through a grant from the W.Va. Northern Flying Squirrel Conservation Fund, which is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

This transfer helps the Nature Conservancy to near the "culmination of a 10-year project aimed at protecting nearly 2,000 acres of former timber company land in a wide swath of red spruce and hardwood forest not far from the Dolly Sods and Roaring Plains wilderness areas and the Conservancy's Bear Rocks nature preserve," according to the news release.

The project is located in the Central Appalachian Forest, which spans across Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia into Kentucky and Tennessee, officials said.