WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) announced Friday that a project to add a 367-acre parcel of land to the Monongahela National Forest, has received high priority status.
The project, which is referred to as “Hooke Brothers”, was ranked by the U.S. Forest Service as the 14th highest priority land acquisition project in the country among hundreds of projects that were considered. The parcel is located near the Gaudineer Scenic Area in Pocahontas County, near the Randolph County line.
“The Monongahela National Forest is a West Virginia treasure and a national treasure. The Land and Water Conservation Fund made many of our wild and wonderful corners of West Virginia possible and this is no exception. This expansion and investment in the Monongahela will ensure generations to come will continue to explore and enjoy our national forest,” Senator Manchin said.
When Congress allocates funding for Fiscal Year 2020 for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, this will likely be among the projects funded, according to a news release from Manchin’s office. The authorization for the Land and Water Conservation Fund expired last fall, but Senator Manchin led a bi-partisan effort to permanently reauthorize it.
The parcel of land is owned by a local timber company and is within the Monongahela National Forest’s boundaries, known as an “inholding.”
When the land becomes federal property, it will help connect existing trail systems in the area, including one that currently runs along the Shaver’s Fork River, Manchin’s office said.