COLLISON CREEK FOREST – 614 +/- ACRES

Agent Contact:
Richard Grist, 304.645.7674

Collison Creek Forest is a 614 acres +/- multi-use property located in the heart of the New River Gorge recreational mecca, giving access to unlimited recreational opportunities.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Contiguous 614+/- acre multi-use parcel 10 minutes to the 3000 acre Summersville Lake
  • Superb recreational opportunities in the heart of the New River Gorge water sports mecca
  • One million-acre Monongahela National Forest nearby
  • 5 rivers and two lakes are within an easy one hour’s drive. These include the New River, Gauley River, Cherry River, Greenbrier River and Bluestone River
  • Collison Creek, a blue line stream, flows through the property for 2 miles
  • 6 dashed line tributary streams of Collison Creek are within the forest
  • 3 miles of internal graveled roads, plus miles of forest trails, offer excellent access to a large portion of the forest
  • Perfect for shooting sports, ATV riding, horseback riding, hiking, camping, hunting and nature viewing
  • The 3,000-acre Summersville Lake and the City of Summersville are within a 10-minute drive
  • High percentage of commercially – operable ground supporting forestry, recreation and potential for numerous future cabin sites
  • 15 minutes to Summersville Airport
  • Elevations range from 1870 ft. to 2204 ft. +/-
  • Potential conservation value
  • Low taxes, low population density, little or no light pollution
  • Great fishing is found in the 5 rivers and both lakes. Species include small and large mouth bass, crappie, catfish, muskie, walleye, pike and bluegill
  • All rivers and lakes are ideal for swimming, canoeing, fishing, kayaking, tubing, snorkeling, paddle boarding and windsurfing
  • Forest is a steady producer of life-giving Oxygen and silently works to sequester carbon
  • Over 40 years of professional forest and wildlife management
  • Harvest-ready hardwood timber available to offset holding costs
  • Jet airports 90 minutes away

DESCRIPTION

Collison Creek Forest, with 614 acres+/-, shares the regional area with several public lands’ giving  access to over one million acres of managed wilderness and parks.

Area National and State recreational properties include:

  • Summersville Lake
  • Summersville Wildlife Management Area
  • New River Gorge National River Park and Preserve
  • Babcock State Park
  • Beury Mountain Wildlife Management Area
  • Monongahela National Forest

LOCATION

Google Coordinates: 38.178494°(N), -80.841460°(W)
Address: Old Nicholas Road, Mt. Nebo, WV 26684; No 911 address is assigned to property without structures.
Elevation Range: 1870 ft. to 2204 ft. +/-

WATER

There are about two miles of Collison Creek, a blue line stream, that begins and lies within the forest. Additionally, there are 6 dashed line tributary streams of Collison Creek within the forest, which should be active during periods of rainfall or snow melt.

MINERAL RESOURCES

Various mineral rights have been either reserved or conveyed by prior deeds of record, and the property is being sold SURFACE ONLY.

BOUNDARIES AND SURVEY

Property boundaries are painted in red paint.  The property is being sold by the boundary and not by the acre.

UTILITIES

Water: Pubic water is nearby
Sewer: Septic systems would need to be installed
Electricity: Available nearby
Telephone: Available nearby
Internet: May be available through cable, satellite or cell phone
Cellphone Coverage: Excellent with 4G

ACCESS/FRONTAGE

About 3 miles of internal graveled roads, plus miles of forest trails, offer excellent access to a large portion of the forest.  A dedicated – deeded right-of-way provides access to Old Nicholas Road RT 13.

ZONING

Nicholas County has no zoning regulations in effect other than that which is enacted and enforced within the city limits of Summersville and Richwood.  All prospective purchasers are encouraged to contact the Nicholas County Health Department and the Nicholas County Flood Zone Administrator regarding installation of septic systems, water wells, and flood insurance requirements.

Nicholas County ordinances and contact information can be found at the following website:
http://www.nicholascountywv.org/ordinances/default.aspx

PROPERTY TYPE/USE SUMMARY

The property has various ages of forestland, from areas of fairly recent harvest to full canopy stands.

(This summary is an estimation of current property use as determined from aerial photography. It is made subject to the estimation of property boundaries and any errors in the interpretation of land use type from the aerial photography utilized.)

DEED AND TAX INFORMATION

Deed Information: DB 502 Pg. 455
Nicholas County, West Virginia
Acreage: 614 acres +/-
Real Estate Tax ID/Acreage/Taxes:
Nicholas County (34), West Virginia
Wilderness District (9)
TM 14 Parcel 83, TM 15 Parcels 5 and 61; Class 3

2020 Real Estate Taxes: $1847.38

PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Nicholas County School District

Public Elementary School:
Mt Nebo Elementary School

Public Middle School:
Summersville Middle School

Public High School:
Nicholas County High School

Nicholas County Career and Technical Center

RECREATION AT COLLISON CREEK FOREST

The Collison Creek Forest offers many recreational opportunities. Numerous soft recreational activities are anchored by the proximity to the recreation mecca of the New River Gorge.

Nature viewing –   Attentive wildlife management has been geared not just to game animals. Equal consideration has been extended to increasing the numbers and diversity of species including neo-tropical songbirds, butterflies, turtles, frogs, rabbits, chipmunks, dragonflies, owls, hawks.

Stargazing-Planet Observation-Astrophotography-Starwalking
Complete to semi-complete darkness can be still be found on most of the property, thereby affording the opportunity to view the night sky in all its brilliant wonder.

Water-sports enthusiasts will find the nearby Summersville Lake, Gauley River, New River, and Cherry River ideal for swimming, canoeing, fishing, kayaking, tubing, snorkeling, paddle boarding and windsurfing. 3000 acre Summersville Lake is within a 10-minute drive.  The 5 rivers and the 2000 acre Bluestone Lake are all within an easy one hour’s drive. Great fishing is found in the 5 rivers and both lakes. Species include small and large mouth bass, crappie, catfish, muskie, walleye, pike and bluegill.

Shooting-sports devotees find all the land and privacy needed to enjoy:

  • Paintball-Airsoft-Laser tag-Archery tag
  • Shotgun sport shooting including Skeet, Trap, Double Trap and Sporting Clays
  • Rifle & Handgun shooting: bullseye, silhouette, western, bench rest, long-range, fast draw
  • Archery and Crossbow competition shooting
  • Plain ole’ plinking: Grandpa’s old 22 single shot rifle and a few tin cans make a fun day

All Terrain Motorsports
Collison Creek Forest has several forest trails that are perfect for experiencing the property from an ATV or UTV, and Rock Crawlers. These exciting machines handle the wide variety of the forest’s terrain.

Dirt bikes can also be a lot of fun and they come in all sizes and horsepower to fit anyone who enjoys being on two wheels.

Mountain Biking, Horseback Riding and Hiking
Along with ATV riding, existing forest trails may be used for conventional and mountain biking, hiking or horseback riding.

Hunting is a first-class experience. White tail deer, black bear, red/gray fox, bobcat, wild turkey, grouse, duck, squirrel, raccoon, fox and rabbit make up the resident wildlife population. It is hard to find a property that has a better mix of wildlife.

ALL ABOUT SUMMERSVILLE LAKE

Superb water quality and sheer sandstone cliffs make the 3000 acre Summersville Lake a unique place to visit. West Virginia’s largest lake; Summersville Lake has over 28,000 acres of water and 60 miles of shoreline. Boating, water-skiing, swimming, fishing for large- and smallmouth bass, walleye, panfish, and catfish, (trout are stocked below the dam in the spring and fall) scuba diving, picnicking, hunting, and biking are the favorite activities enjoyed by nearly one million visitors annually. Technical rock climbing and whitewater rafting are available year round, with scheduled whitewater releases below the dam on the world class Gauley River in September and October. Adjacent to the lake is Mountain Lake Campground with cabins, camping & RV hookups and many other conveniences for guests. Sarge’s Dive Shop and the lake’s marina are located on the lake with grocery stores, restaurants, and service stations located nearby in Summersville.

Boating

Launch ramps for the boating enthusiasts and fishermen are located at Battle Run, Salmon Run, Long Point Area and Picnic Area. There is a $3.00 Day Use fee for boat launching. Frequent boat launchers may purchase an Annual Day Use Pass. Golden Age and Golden Access passports may be used for a 50% discount at all Federally operated areas where a fee is charged.

Camping

Camping at Summersville Lake is restricted to developed camping areas only – there is not random camping. Battle Run Campground is a class A Corps operated campground which has day use facilities, a boat launching ramp, access to fishing, showers, trailer waste disposal facilities, playground, universally accessible restrooms, parking, swimming and picnic areas. Battle Run Campground is now part of the National Recreation Servation System. Reservations can be made by dialing 1-877-444-NRRS or on the web at ReserveUSA.com. For more information during recreation season call the campground at (304) 872-3459.

Handicapped Access

Universally Accessible Facilities are provided at the Project Office, Dam site and picnic area, Battle Run Area, and Long Point Area.

Hiking

Foot trails (Hiking) are located at Battle Run, Salmon Run, and Long Point.

Marina

Summersville Lake Marina is located at the Long Point Area. The marina number is (304) 872-1331. Additional information can be found at Summersville Lake Marina & Sarge’s Dive Shop. There is a $5.00 Day Use fee for boat launching.

Swimming

A swimming beach is located at the Battle Run Area. Lifeguards are not provided. Swim at your own risk. Swimming is prohibited on launch ramps.

Visitor Center

A Visitor Center is located at the Information office.

SUMMERSVILLE

Summersville is the county seat of Nicholas County, West Virginia. Summersville was formed in June 1820, and was primarily a farming community. During the winter of 1864-65, both Union and Confederate armies were encamped in Summersville or nearby. It was during that winter that the town and all its buildings were burned to the ground. Although the war ended soon after, the destruction of the town was discouraging, and citizens were very slow to return and rebuild. By 1884, Summersville was again home to over 100 citizens, and slowly became the commerce center of the county.

Centrally located in the mountains of West Virginia, Summersville offers endless opportunities for fun-filled days enjoying beauty, adventure, history and relaxation. There are a host of festivals in the summer and fall and check out the event schedule at the Summersville Arena & Conference Center. Summersville is easy to navigate and offers a large selection of lodging to match any budget. Restaurants range from fast food to fine dining. Winter, spring, summer or fall, Summersville has something to offer couples, families, adventure seekers, historians, or just those seeing relaxation
Summersville has many quaint shops that are ideal for browsing and finding the perfect gift or souvenir. There are many primitive shops, specialty shops, antiques, sporting goods, department stores, and collectibles and food items unique to the area. Summersville also offers several “big box” stores including Big Lots, Lowes, Peebles, Sears, Grand Home Furnishings, and Walmart.

Summersville also offers the Summersville Arena & Conference Center, which is a 73,000 square foot multi-use facility constructed jointly with the City of Summersville and the West Virginia Army National Guard. The facility offers a 24,000 sq. ft. arena, 2,000 seats for events such as basketball games, an additional 2,400 seats available for a “staged” event, and a 3,600 sq. ft. convention area. Summersville has a public library.

There is also a modern hospital and all attendant medical facilities. Summersville Regional Medical Center is located on Route 19 in Summersville, West Virginia. In operation since 1968, SRMC has served Nicholas County and the surrounding area for over four decades and is the second largest employer in the county.

FIVE RIVERS AND TWO LAKES (within an hour’s drive)

The New River Gorge was a vast and largely unsettled wilderness until the C&O railroad was built on the eastern side of the river in the 1880’s. The railroad opened up the rich coalfields and virgin timber stands of the region. Early “mountaineers” settled the area and soon were carving out mountain farms and raising families.

All rivers and lakes are within an easy one hour’s drive from the property: Collison Creek Forest is located in the heart of the recreational mecca area encompassing the Gauley River, New River, Greenbrier River, Cherry River and Bluestone River. Within this vast watershed lies the 3000-acre Summersville Lake and the 2000-acre Bluestone Lake.

Great fishing is found in the Greenbrier River, New River, and both Lakes with small and large mouth bass, crappie, catfish, muskie, walleye, pike and bluegill present in good numbers.

The New River is the second oldest river in the world, preceded only by the Nile; it is the oldest river in North America. The New River is unique because it begins in Blowing Rock, N.C. and flows north through Virginia into West Virginia. The Nile and Amazon are the only other major rivers that also flow north. Year after year, it produces more citation fish than any other warm water river in WV. Smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, crappie, catfish, sunfish, hybrid striped bass, and muskie are all common species of fish found in the New River and Bluestone Lake.

Bluestone Lake is over 2000 acres at summer pool and is the state’s third largest body of water. Great hunting and fishing opportunities abound at the 17,632-acre Bluestone Wildlife Area adjacent to the park and nearby Camp Creek State Forest. Summersville Lake is over 3,000 at summer pool and is the state’s largest body of water.

CARBON SEQUESTRATION

Collison Creek Forest is a tremendous producer of Oxygen and Carbon Sequester. Carbon Sequestration is the act of processing carbon dioxide through sinks and stores and releasing them into the atmosphere as oxygen. With 614 +/- acres, the vigorously growing forest is sequestering approximately 10,000 tons of Carbon Dioxide each per year.

On average, one tree produces nearly 260 pounds of oxygen each year. Since there are estimated to be some 100,000 growing in the forest, there could be over 13,000 tons of Oxygen being produced each year. The forest may be supplying the needs of some 16,000 of the world’s citizens.

FOREST/TIMBER RESOURCES

The property has various ages of forestland, from areas of fairly recent harvest to full canopy stands. The distinguishing features of Collison Creek Forest’s timber resource is its unusually high hardwood pre-commercial and pole stocking with a solid basal area per acre. This stocking is well above average for the region. This well managed timber resource can provide a great deal of flexibility to the next ownership in terms of potential harvest revenue and can be managed to provide cash flow opportunities to offset holding cost and long-term asset appreciation.

Capital Timber Value and a forest-wide timber inventory have not been established by the owner at this time.

The forest’s predominately well-drained upland terrain has led to a resource dominated by hardwood species. Overall, the species composition is highly desirable and favors Appalachian hardwood types, consisting primarily of White Oak/Chestnut Oak, Red Oak Group, Poplar/Cucumber/Basswood, Sugar Maple/Soft Maple and a host of associate species.
Stocking, Stem Quality, and Forest Structure:

Forest-wide, most stands are fully stocked, providing the next ownership with a great deal of flexibility in shaping their own silvicultual legacy. Stem quality forest-wide can be considered excellent with the forest containing an abundant future veneer source.

The Collison Creek Forest timber component has been professionally managed over many decades and generally consists of two age classes managed using even-aged silvicultural guidelines. The predominant timber stand of the forest and contains 2-35 year old stems ranging in size of 2-12” dbh. Some of this stand is comprised of long ago abandoned farm fields and a small contour mine site that have naturally been restocked with pioneer species of poplar, locust and hickory. This stand is on the cusp of graduating into higher-value sawtimber diameter classes over the next 30 years.

The second distinct stand is comprised of 80+ year old trees that represent mature forest stands scattered throughout the boundary along the creeks and streams.

Diameters are well represented across the commercial and pre-commercial spectrum with a notable mature size class, as well as abundant pole size timber and growing stock. Average diameter with all products combined has not been determined.

Some trees are well over 150 years old and classify as “Heritage Trees”. These amazing trees have withstood the test of time and lend an air of grace and permanency to the property.

The forest is healthy and there are no signs of pest infestations of Gypsy Moth. The Emerald Ash Borer and the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid are present and the majority of the Ash and Hemlock trees are severely stressed and will die out over the next decade. There have been no forest fires in the recent memory.

WILDLIFE

The mix of mature timber, emerging forests, linear food plots, creeks and streams creates the perfect wildlife habitat. It is hard to find a property that has a better mix of wildlife and there has been intense game management for many years. The abundance of wildlife can be fully appreciated by spending a few hours hiking, looking and listening for all the forest has to offer.

The forest produces tons and tons of acorns, hickory nuts, walnuts, wild grapes, blackberries, beechnuts, poplar and maple seeds. Because there is such an amazing food source, there is a variety of wildlife, including wild turkey, white tail deer, black bear, raccoon, opossum, rabbit, grouse, coyote, squirrel, chipmunk and bobcat.

Many species of songbirds and woodpeckers thrive in the special habitat that large older trees and younger emerging stands create and make their home in this special forest environ. It is exciting to see and hear the large and very vocal Pileated Woodpecker, with its bright red crest dressed in a black and white tuxedo, sweep through the tall canopy in search of a morning snack.

The section of dense forest, with its closed canopy, is home to a variety of songbirds, owls, ravens, buzzards, woodpeckers and hawks. Many of these birds nest in the “den trees”, which are full of holes and cavities. The birds feed on a variety of insects, including hundreds of thousands small caterpillars that inhabit the upper reaches of the canopy.

A number of Bald Eagles have been spotted up and down the New River and are a thrill to see with wingspans of 6-7 feet.

A wide variety of insects, reptiles and amphibians are represented across Nature’s spectrum.

The nearby Summersville Lake, Gauley River, New River, Greenbrier River, Bluestone River, and Bluestone Lake are major contributors to the local ecosystem richness and diversity for both plants and animals. There are many animals that live year-round and at other times in the water and around the edges of the rivers/lake, including beavers, otters, minks, raccoons, opossums, blue herons, Canada geese, wood ducks, mallards, king fishers, minnows, native fish, turtles, salamanders, newts, crayfish, muskrats, bull frogs, eagles, owls, hawks and redwing blackbirds.

Great fishing is found in the Greenbrier River, New River, and both Lakes with small and large mouth bass, crappie, catfish, muskie, walleye, pike and bluegill present in good numbers.

FOREST FARMING

The most common crops are medicinal herbs and mushrooms. Other crops that can be produced include shade-loving native ornamentals, moss, fruit, nuts, other food crops, and decorative materials for crafts. These crops are often referred to as special forest products.

Here are some specific examples of crops

  • Medicinal herbs: Ginseng, goldenseal, black cohosh, bloodroot, passionflower, and mayapple
  • Mushrooms: Shiitake and oyster mushrooms
  • Native ornamentals: Rhododendrons and dogwood
  • Moss: Log or sheet moss
  • Fruit: Pawpaws, currants, elderberries, and lowbush blueberries
  • Nuts: Black walnuts, hazelnuts, hickory nuts, and beechnuts
  • Other food crops: Ramps (wild leeks), maple syrup, and honey
  • Plants used for decorative purposes, dyes, and crafts: Galax, princess pine, white oak, pussy willow branches in the spring, holly, bittersweet, and bloodroot and ground pine (Lycopodium)

SELF-SUSTAINING LIFE OFF THE GRID

  • Just like 150 years ago, when the first mountaineers settled the area, the property would be self-sustaining in times of necessity – even without electricity
  • Fresh water for drinking and cooking would come from mountain springs
  • The forest would provide fresh food (deer, and turkey)
  • The flat to rolling land could be cleared for agricultural land raise livestock, vegetable gardens, berry patches, fruit orchards, and row crops of corn, oats and barley
  • Beehives would provide honey and beeswax for candles
  • The forest would provide firewood for heating and cooking, lumber for building, maple syrup and pounds of nuts (walnuts, beechnuts and hickory nuts)

BENEFITS OF LIVING IN NICHOLAS COUNTY

  • 4 season climate, the fall of the year is spectacular and summers warm and breezy
  • Water sports: 3000-acre Summerville Lake, Gauley River, New River
  • Outdoor recreation: Hiking, rock climbing, white water rafting, snow skiing
  • Historic Route 60 is the ancient Midland Overland Trail (buffalo, Native American, Pioneers)
  • New River Gorge Bridge is the western hemisphere longest arched bridge
  • Monongahela National Forest and New River Gorge National River Park are nearby
  • Babcock and Hawks Nest State Parks
  • Nicholas County Veterans Memorial Park
  • Summersville arena and convention center
  • I-79 30 min to the north
  • I-77 40 min to the south
  • I-64 40 min to the south
  • Major shopping Beckley- 30 min, Charleston- 80 min Clarksburg- 90 min.
  • Modern schools
  • Rich logging and mining history
  • Modern hospital at Summersville

PUBLIC LANDS NEARBY

Beury Mountain Wildlife Management Area –

Beury Mountain Wildlife Management Area is located on 9,232 acres near Babcock State Park and New River Gorge National River in Fayette County, West Virginia. Beury Mountain’s sloping terrain is covered with mixed hardwoods and oak-hickory second growth woodlands overlooking New River Gorge. Beury Mountain Wildlife Management is comprised of large and broad mountaintop plateaus. Its gently sloping ridges and logging trails make foot travel easy. Wildlife abounds with grouse, deer, turkeys, squirrels and bears. Fishing for brook trout is available in Buffalo Creek. Camping is not allowed at Beury Mountain WMA, but is available at nearby Babcock State Park.

New River Gorge National River Park And Preserve

One of the most exciting destinations for hiking, biking, climbing, and paddling in the eastern U.S., the New River Gorge National River was established by the National Park Service in 1978 and includes more than 80,000 acres in and adjacent to the New River Gorge and the valley of the New River. More than a million visitors annually climb rocks along the rim of the gorge near Fayetteville and paddle its whitewater runs on the New and its tributaries. Countless miles of hiking and biking trails wander the park and climb into the surrounding mountains. The nearby Gauley River National Recreation Area likewise attracts thousands of tourists annually, notably rafters during “Gauley Season” in autumn when the river runs strong.

Babcock State Park –

Babcock State Park and its 4,127 acres of rhododendron-lined trails and rippling, rock-strewn streams is one of West Virginia’s most iconic locations. Located 20 miles south of the New River Gorge Bridge, the park is most known for the Glade Creek Grist Mill, a fully functional replica of the original Cooper’s Mill, located nearby. Babcock State Park campground has 52 single-family campsites for tents, trailers or RVs. The campground has 28 sites with electric hookups for trailers and RVs. Visitors can enjoy hiking the many trails through the mountains, canyons and along the river. Outdoor recreation includes hiking, biking, fishing, wildlife viewing and exploring historic sites like the Glad Creek Grist Mill.

Boys Scouts of America  

Across the New River Gorge from the Babcock State Forest is some 1200 wildland acres belonging to the Boy Scouts of America Summit Bechtel Reserve. The BSA property is part of “The Summit”, a 12,000 acre Scouting and adventure center for the millions of youth and adults involved in the Boy Scouts of America. The Summit is home to the National Scout Jamboree and upcoming 2019 World Jamboree.

SURROUNDING AREA

Collison Creek Forest is located in one of the most popular outdoor-recreation destination areas in West Virginia — a paradise of natural and cultural amenities found in few other places in the eastern U.S. More than a million visitors toured the region in 2017, according to the National Park Service, climbing rocks, paddling streams, and hiking, biking, and running miles of scenic trail. As a result of unrivaled access to recreation, the Boy Scouts of America established its national Jamboree site here. Winter in the mountains nearby attracts yet another recreational clientele — skiers bound for the slopes at Winterplace, a drive of 40 minutes to the south, and Snowshoe Mountain, a drive of two-and-a-half hours to the northeast.

Nearby is Adventures on the Gorge (https://www.adventuresonthegorge.com/), one of the most enduring and popular adventure resorts in the U.S., a pioneer in the whitewater rafting industry that has helped set the stage for high-end economic development in the region.

As a result of its burgeoning tourism market, the area also enjoys more than its share of singular shops and restaurants, many of which cluster around Fayetteville, a drive of five minutes from the villa. Other exceptional eateries and retail destinations are located an hour west at Charleston, the state capital, and an hour east at Lewisburg, one of the most livable small towns in the U.S., according to National Geographic. The region is also renowned for great golf, and more than a score of courses are located within a drive of just more than an hour of the villa, including three at The Greenbrier, home of the PGA tour, and Oakhurst Links, the first course built in the U.S.

The region is easy to access. As remote as the region may seem, an expressway courses through its center, spanning the gorge by way of the New River Gorge Bridge only two miles away. Interstates 77 and 64 are only a 40-minute drive to the south and I-79 is a half hour’s drive to the north. Amtrak passenger stations on the Chicago-New York route are located a half-hour’s drive south near Beckley and an hour’s drive east and west at Charleston and White Sulphur Springs. Airports are located 15 minutes to Summersville, 40 minutes to the south at Beckley and a little over an hour away at Charleston and Lewisburg.

Town of Fayetteville
Fayetteville’s historic district is both charming and one of the most attractive locations for outfitters shops, boutique shops, and specialty restaurants in West Virginia. More than a dozen antiques shops were operating in the Fayetteville area in summer 2017, and five independent restaurants in the district were offering an outstanding selection of unique cuisine. Fayetteville is central to the travel-destination area as well as the legal center of the Fayette County. Its population in 2014 was estimated at 2,892. Bridgeview Estates is with Fayetteville’s corporate boundary.

City of Oak Hill
Oak Hill is Fayette County’s largest municipality and its economic center. Its population in 2010 was estimated at 7,730. Plateau Medical Center, the largest hospital in the county, is located off the US-19 expressway on Main Street in its downtown. The city has recently increased its investment in recreational and quality-of-life improvements and has acquired land for the new outdoor-adventure park approaching the edge of the New River Gorge.

The Summit: Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve
The Summit Bechtel Reserve is the home of the National Scout Jamboree and recently hosted the World Jamboree in 2018.  Furthermore, it is the national leadership center for the Boy Scouts of America as well as one of the organization’s five high-adventure bases. More than 60,000 visitors attended the World Jamboree in 2018.

Hawks Nest State Park
Nestled in the heart of whitewater rafting country, Hawks Nest State Park is a 270-acre recreational area with a nature museum, aerial tramway, jetboat rides, hiking trails and one of the most challenging whitewater boating waterways in the nation. The park’s clifftop overlook along U.S. Route 60 provides a scenic vista of the New River, some 750 feet below. Its 31-room lodge offers luxurious rooms, dining and spacious conference and meeting facilities. Located near Ansted in Fayette County, about 10 miles north of the New River Gorge Bridge, Hawks Nest is known for its scenic overlook, which provides a bird’s eye view of the rugged New River Gorge National River.

Camp Washington Carver
Camp Washington-Carver is a beautiful retreat listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This Fayette County complex is a group of buildings and facilities that have achieved exceptional importance within the past 50 years as the focus of cultural activities and events significant in West Virginia’s black history. Originally named The Negro 4-H Camp when it was dedicated in 1942, Washington-Carver served from 200 to 1,600 black youth in vocational agriculture, soil conservation, home economics and 4-H standards. Camp Washington-Carver, a Mountain Cultural Arts Center located at Clifftop in Fayette County, West Virginia, programs a summer season of events from music concerts to theater. The facility may also be rented for family reunions, company picnics, weddings and other private activities.

AREA HISTORY

The earliest people in the New River area were the generations of the American Indians; believed to be the Shawnee, Cherokee, and Delaware tribes. In the 1750s and early 1800s, settlers made their way into the area. In the middle 1800s, the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad made its way into the New River Gorge, making a major travel corridor along the river.

Half way down the side of the gorge was a thick seam of bituminous coal of such high grade it was considered to be smokeless because of the very low content of impurities and burned clean. The existence of this and other coal seams throughout the region made coal a “King” industry in the state of West Virginia for many years. Coal was mined in the gorge, taken down to the river, loaded in train cars for shipment or placed into the many beehive ovens along the railroad tracks to make coke. The very high-grade coal burned with great heat. The coal that was shipped out was highly desired to heat homes in the northeast United States, use in the steel making industry, and fire boilers in ships throughout the world. The coke that was made by the beehive ovens in the gorge had very low levels of impurities and produced very high temperatures when burned in the United States steel-making industry. Some trains leaving the gorge carried only the smokeless bituminous coal while others carried only the highly needed coke.

During the 60 some years of active coal mining and coal coking in the gorge, from the late 1800s through the 1940s, there were over 20 active communities spaced about ¼ mile apart along the New River in the gorge. Most were accessible only by railroad. To travel from one town to the next, folks either caught one of the many train trips or walked the railroad.

Most of the coal miners and their families lived in the towns along the railroad by the river. Those families depended on daily living supplies as brought in by train and sold at the company stores. However, some miners and their families lived on the flat land at the top of the gorge where they could travel by road and could farm the land.

These neighboring lands and towns were named for large and important people and companies in the history of the area, such as Beury Coal and Coke Company, Joseph L. Beury, who started mining operations in the New River area in the 1870s, the mining town of Beury, West Virginia, and Sewell Lumber Company. A little distance away was the community of Nuttallburg, associated with John Nuttall, one of the earliest mining pioneers, who came to the New River area in the 1870s. The Nuttall mine was sold to the Fordson Coal Company, owned by Henry Ford. The Nuttallburg area is a current scenic attraction. Much of the property in the area still remains in the Nuttall family.

THE MONONGAHELA NATIONAL FOREST

The Monongahela National Forest is located in the Allegheny Mountains of eastern West Virginia, USA. It protects over 921,000 acres of federally owned land within a 1,700,000 acres proclamation boundary that includes much of the Potomac Highlands Region and portions of 10 counties.

Geography

The Monongahela National Forest encompasses most of the southern third of the Allegheny Mountains range (a section of the vast Appalachian Mountains range) and is entirely within the state of West Virginia. Elevations within the Monongahela National Forest range from about 900 feet at Petersburg to 4,863 feet at Spruce Knob. A rain shadow effect caused by slopes of the Allegheny Front results in 60 inches (1,500 mm) of annual precipitation on the west side and about half that on the east side.

Headwaters of six major river systems are located within the forest: Monongahela, Potomac, Greenbrier, Elk, Tygart, and Gauley. Twelve rivers are currently under study for possible inclusion in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. The Monongahela National Forest includes some major landform features such as the Allegheny Front and the western portion of the Ridge-and-valley Appalachians. Within the forest are most of the highest mountain peaks in the state, including the highest, Spruce Knob (4,863 ft), also the highest point in the Alleghenies. Approximately 75 tree species are found in the forest. Almost all of the trees are a second growth forest, grown back after the land was heavily cut over around the start of the 20th century. Species for which the forest is important include red spruce, balsam fir, and mountain ash.

The Monongahela National Forest includes eight U.S. Wilderness Areas and several special-use areas, notably the Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area.

Ecology

The forest is noted for its rugged landscape, views, blueberry thickets, highland bogs and “sods”, and open areas with exposed rocks. In addition to the second-growth forest trees, the wide range of botanical species found includes rhododendron, laurel on the moist west side of the Allegheny Front, and cactus and endemic shale barren species on the drier eastern slopes.

There are 230 known species of birds inhabiting the Monongahela National Forest: 159 are known to breed there, 89 are Neotropical migrants; 71 transit the forest during migration, but do not breed there, and 17 non-breeding species are Neotropical. The Brooks Bird Club (BBC) conducts an annual bird banding and survey project in the vicinity of Dolly Sods Scenic Area during migration (August – September). The forest provides habitat for 9 federally listed endangered or threatened species: 2 bird species, 2 bat species, 1 subspecies of flying squirrel, 1 salamander species, and 3 plant species. Fifty other species of rare/sensitive plants and animals also occur in the forest.

Larger animals and game species found in the forest include black bear, wild turkey, white-tailed deer, gray and fox squirrels, rabbits, snowshoe hare, woodcock, and grouse. Limited waterfowl habitat exists in certain places. Furbearers include beaver, red and gray fox, bobcat, fisher, river otter, raccoon and mink. Other hunted species include coyotes, skunks, opossums, woodchucks, crows, and weasels. There are 12 species of game (pan) fish and 60 species of nongame or forage fish. Some 90% of the trout waters of West Virginia are within the forest.

Recreation

The Monongahela National Forest is a recreation destination and tourist attraction, hosting approximately 3 million visitors annually. The backwoods road and trail system is used for hiking, mountain biking, horse riding. There are many miles of railroad grades that are a link in the recreation use of the forest. (The longest is the Glady to Durbin West Fork Railroad Trail which is 23 miles long.) Recreation ranges from self-reliant treks in the wildernesses and backcountry areas, to the challenges of mountain climbing, to traditional developed site camping. Canoeing, hunting, trapping, fishing, and wildlife viewing are also common uses.

Commercial Resources

The forest administration maintains wildlife and timber programs aimed at managing a mix of tree species and ages. About 81 percent of the total forest area is closed canopy forest over 60 years of age. The tree species most valuable for timber and for wildlife food in the Monongahela National Forest are black cherry and oaks. The forest’s commercial timber sale program averages 30 mbf (million board feet) of timber sold per year with a yearly average value of $7.5 million. A variety of cutting techniques are used, from cutting of single trees to clearcutting blocks up to 25 acres in size. Regeneration cuts (clearcuts or other treatments designed to start a new timber stand) occur on approximately 1,300 acres yearly out of the more than 909,000 acres forest total.

Mineral resources located in the Monongahela National Forest include coal, gas, limestone, and gravel; but not oil. Sheep and cattle grazing occurs on about 7,000 acres.

Receipts for timber, grazing, land uses, minerals, and recreation use averaged $4,840,466 annually between FY92 and FY96, and 25% of that (an average of $1,210,116 per year) was returned to counties that include Monongahela National Forest lands. This money is intended for use by local schools and for roads. The remaining 75% each year is returned to the U.S. Treasury.

NEIGHBORING FAYETTE COUNTY

Recreation is a high income producer for Fayette County and the bordering counties of Nicholas, Summers and Greenbrier, located in southern West Virginia, renowned for its dramatic landscapes, small communities, and outdoor recreation amenities. White water rafting, the 80,000 acre New River National Park, 4,000 acre Babcock State Park, 9,000 acre Beury Mt. Wildlife Management Area, 14,000 acre Boy Scout High Adventure Camp, ACE Adventures OTG and many other attractions bring the out-of- area and out-of-state population to the area. Along with this, many people want to have a vacation spot, recreation home or other tie to the area. Hunting and fishing is very popular as well as ATV adventuring on the Hatfield-McCoy Trail.

 

REGIONAL INFORMATION

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