LICK CREEK FOREST – 501 ACRES

Outstanding timber and recreational investment

Agent Contact:
Richard Grist, 304.645.7674

OVERVIEW

501 +/- acre outstanding timber investment and multi-use recreational property with nearly two miles of mountain stream flowing along and through the property. Located near the 70,000-acre New River Gorge National Park and Preserve plus several more state parks.

$600,000.00 estimated Capital Timber Value available for immediate harvest.

Lick Creek Forest’s ecological and conservational values are extensive and provide many essential ecosystem services including rainwater filtration, sequestering carbon dioxide, producing oxygen, enhancing wildlife habitat, and providing excellent recreation opportunities.

HIGHLIGHTS & ATTRIBUTES

  • $600,000.00 estimated Capital Timber Value available for immediate harvest
  • 501 +/- acre multi-use recreational forest with large stream and numerous cabin sites
  • Thirty minutes to the New River, Bluestone River, Greenbrier River and 2000-acre Bluestone Lake – perfect for anglers and all water recreation enthusiasts
  • Snow Skiing is just 45 minutes away at Winterplace Ski Resort located in Ghent WV
  • Superior access with state road frontage
  • Nearly two miles of Lick Creek and Dry Fork Branch flow along and through the boundary
  • Historic Hinton, the gateway to water recreation, is just a thirty-minute drive
  • Views of distant mountains with striking sunrises and sunsets
  • Responsible wildlife management coupled with outstanding long-term forest stewardship
  • Awesome rock outcrops, ledges, boulders, cliffs for a great onsite climbing experience
  • Exceptional regional wildlife populations of white tail deer, wild turkey, black bear, eagles, beaver, otter, mink, heron, duck raccoon, butterflies, muskie, bass & pike
  • Creeks, streams, flat benches and razorback ridges create a diverse and interesting topography
  • Strong potential for Forest Farming and Self-Sustaining Lifestyle – Off – Grid living
  • Interior hiking trails and many established wildlife trails
  • Hatfield and McCoy Trail is just an hour’s drive for ATV enthusiasts
  • Dark skies with little light pollution for star and planet gazing
  • Elevations range from 1636’ to 2542’
  • Located in popular Summers County 30 min to Hinton & Princeton with town-city amenities
  • Low taxes, low population density
  • Charleston WV (State Capitol) 90 min, Charlotte 3 hrs, Roanoke 2 hrs, DC 5 hrs
  • Jet service with daily flights to major hubs available within 1-2 hour drives
  • Lick Creek Forest’s Forest is much more than real estate; it is an opportunity for adventure.

DIRECTIONS

Driving Destination Google Coordinates: 37.487449°(N), -80.922417°(W)

From Lerona, WV: 9.9 miles +/- (approximately 20 minutes)

From the Lerona Post Office, drive Rt. 20 North for 1.2 miles; turn right onto Indian Ridge Road Rt. 26; travel 5.4 miles to the intersection of Salt Wells Road Rt. 26/1 on the left and Lick Creek Road on the right; turn right onto Lick Creek Road Rt. 26/2 (after a short distance, stay to the right to continue on Lick Creek Road Rt. 26/2 as Rt. 26/3 goes left); travel 2.4 miles; turn right onto Dry Fork Run Road Rt. 28/2; travel 9/10 mile along the bottomland passing a road that goes up the hill to the right; just after Dry Fork Run Road makes a sharp curve to the left and there is a field on the left, the property field is on the right.

LOCATION

Google Coordinates: 37.487449°(N), -80.922417°(W)
Address: Dry Fork Run Road Rt. 28/2, Lerona, WV 25971. A 911 address is not assigned to a property without structures.
Elevation Range: 1636 ft. to 2542 ft. +/-

The area is known as “The Gateway to Water Recreation”. The property is located near Hinton and the unincorporated community of Pipestem, in the scenic, mountainous region of southeastern West Virginia. The surrounding Summers County landscape is part of the southeastern Ridge and Valley Region, a scenic tapestry of elongated hardwood Allegheny and Appalachian mountain ranges. Much of Summers County remains undeveloped and is characterized by its scenic farm valleys, small communities, and large expanses of hardwood forest.

30 minutes to I-77
20 minutes to Concord University at Athens
30 minutes to Princeton
60 minutes to Beckley
60 minutes to Raleigh County Memorial Airport
1 hour 15 minutes to Virginia Tech at Blacksburg
2 hours to Roanoke
Only minutes to the Bull Falls Camping Area on the upper waters of Bluestone Lake
20 minutes to Pipestem Resort State Park
30 minutes to Hinton and the dam of Bluestone Lake
40 minutes to Camp Creek State Park & Forest
45 minutes to Winterplace Ski Resort

WATER

Dry Fork, a blueline stream that should have waterflow year-round and a tributary to Lick Creek, forms a section of the western boundary of the property for about 4/10 mile. Then, Dry Fork continues into and runs through the property for an additional 1.4 miles. There are an additional 30 plus seasonal – intermittent streams – hollows.

MINERAL RESOURCES

A title search for mineral rights ownership has not been conducted. The owner’s deed states that the coal underneath the property has been excepted. All other rights the owner has will convey with the property. A mineral title search could be conducted by a title attorney at the same time when the surface title search is being conducted.

BOUNDARIES AND SURVEY

The property is comprised of four adjoining tracts of land. Each of the tracts has a metes and bounds description in the owner’s deed. The property is being sold by the boundary and not by the acre.

DEED AND TAX INFORMATION

Deed Information:
Summers County, West Virginia: DB 273 Pg. 511, Tracts One, Five, and Six
Mercer County, West Virginia: DB 1099 Pg. 615, Tract Fifteen

Acreage: 501 acres +/-
Real Estate Tax ID/Acreage/Taxes:

Summers County (45), West Virginia
Pipestem District (6)
Tax Map 20 Parcels 1 & 3; Tax Map 21 Parcel 1; Class 3
Summers County 2021 Total Real Estate Taxes: $3348.70

Mercer County (28), West Virginia
Plymouth District (9)
Tax Map 9 Parcel 5; Class 3
Mercer County 2021 Real Estate Taxes: $159.78

2021 Total Real Estate Taxes: $3508.48

UTILITIES

  • Water: A water well could be drilled
  • Sewer: A private septic could be installed
  • Electricity: May be possible along Indian Ridge Road – Not readily available on Dry Fork Road
  • Telephone: May be available along Indian Ridge Road – Not readily available on Dry Fork Rd
  • Internet: Satellite Coverage for Internet is common in this area.  May be available along Indian Ridge Road – Not readily available on Dry Fork Road. Cellphone Coverage: Excellent on the ridgetops along Indian Ridge Road – Poor to none in the deep hollow along Dry Fork Road

ACCESS/FRONTAGE

Indian Ridge Road Rt. 26 runs through the northern portion of the property. It appears that Dry Fork Run Road Rt. 28/2 runs with the southeastern portion of the property.

ZONING

Summers County currently has no known zoning or subdivision regulations. However, all prospective buyers should consult the County Government and also the Health Department for any changes and details regarding zoning, building codes, and installation of water wells and septic systems.

PROPERTY TYPE/USE SUMMARY

This property has a 2-acre field along Dry Fork that is mown for hay There are two sections of open-area powerline right-of-way comprising a total of about 9 acres. The balance of the property been used as forestland.

(This 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.)

PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Summers County School District

Public Elementary School:
Hinton Area Elementary School

Public Middle School:
Summers County Middle School

Public High School:
Summers County High School

FOREST/TIMBER RESOURCES

The Capital Timber Value at that time was estimated to be $600,000.00. A forest-wide timber inventory was conducted in August of 2017. There has been no timber harvested and has been growing since the inventory was completed in 2017. It is thought there has been no timber harvest at all for the past 100 years.

2017 Timber Inventory:
Timber data in this report are based upon a 2017 timber inventory that was conducted for the ownership by an outside professional forestry consultant. Points were sampled on a grid system using a 10 factor prism resulting in a total property-wide sawlog on 438 acres with a volume of 2,000,000 +/- Board Feet Doyle scale with 20,348 +/- pulpwood tons. Details of the timber inventory report are available in the Lick Creek Inventory Report under Maps and Documents section.

Capital Timber Value of the timber and pulpwood has been estimated by a professional forester to be approximately $600,000.00 as of August 2017.

Species composition:

The forest’s predominately well-drained upland terrain has led to a resource dominated by hardwood species, hemlock and white pine. Overall, the species composition is highly desirable and favors Appalachian hardwood types, consisting primarily of:

  • 43% White Oak/Chestnut Oak
  • 20% Red Oak Group
  • 16% Poplar/Cucumber/Basswood
  • 5% Hickory/Sugar Maple/Soft Maple
  • 12% White Pine
  • 1% A host of associate species

See report for details.

The property has various ages of forestland, from areas of 50-year-old forest naturally regenerated in the old farm fields to 100 year old full canopy stands of mature forest. The distinguishing features of Lick Creek Forest’s timber resource is its unusually high 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.

The forest’s predominately well-drained upland terrain has led to a resource dominated by hardwood species, white pine and hemlock. 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.

Lick Creek Forest’s timber component has been well managed over many decades. The predominant timber stand of the forest is 50 to 120 year-old stems ranging in size of 12” to 40” dbh. Little, if any of this stand has been selectively harvested in the last 60 years. Some parts of this stand are comprised of long-ago abandoned farm fields that have naturally been restocked with pioneer species of poplar, white pine, and hickory. This stand is considered to be high value sawtimber and veneer.

Some inaccessible areas along the Lick Creek Forest canyon have not been harvested and represent a stand of mature and old growth timber.
Diameters are well represented across the commercial and pre-commercial spectrum with a mature size class, as well as abundant pole size timber and growing stock. Average diameter with all products combined has not been determined.

There are some trees well over 200 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. Emerald Ash Borer and the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid is present and most of the Ash and Hemlock trees are severely stressed and will continue to decline over the next decade. There have been no forest fires in the recent memory.

RECREATION AT LICK CREEK FOREST

Lick Creek Forest offers unparalleled recreational opportunities. Numerous soft recreational activities are anchored by the Greenbrier River, New River, Bluestone Lake and Summersville Lake.

Water-sports enthusiasts will find the three rivers and the 2000-acre lake ideal for swimming, canoeing, fishing, kayaking, tubing, snorkeling, paddle boarding and windsurfing. Great fishing is found in all the rivers and lake, with small mouth bass, crappie, catfish, muskie and bluegill present in good numbers. Ice skating is occasionally a fun activity during the winter months.

Nature viewing is first in line of recreational activities. Attentive wildlife management has been geared not to just larger 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, eagles and hawks. 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.

Stargazing-Planet Observation
Total or near total darkness can be still be found on the property, thereby affording the opportunity to view the night sky in all its brilliant wonder.
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
The property is perfect for experiencing the property from an ATV or UTV. Riders are welcome to ride all public roads that do not have a painted dividing line and there are miles and miles of open roads in the area. 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
The gently laying land may be used for conventional and mountain biking, hiking or horseback riding and the area offers several state and national parks geared for these activities.

Snow Skiing is just 45 minutes away at the Winter Place Ski Resort in Flat Top WV.

WILDLIFE

The three nearby rivers and a 2000-acre lake are major contributor 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 and 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.

The miles of “edge effect” created between the area’s rivers, lakes, ponds, forests, and fields benefit all the resident wildlife. In addition to those listed above, white tail deer, black bear, wild turkey, squirrel, rabbit, bobcat, fox, chipmunk, and many species of songbirds make up the resident wildlife population.

Of equal importance, there is the insect and microscopic world including butterflies, dragonflies, water skaters, water beetles, damselflies, hellgrammites, tadpoles and various insect larve.

Great fishing is found in the Greenbrier River, New River and Bluestone River, and 2000-acre Bluestone Lake, with small mouth bass, crappie, catfish, muskie and bluegill present in good numbers.

The creeks, and their surrounding aquatic plant life, create a water a water-supported community with a wide variety of wildlife. Some of their margins are fringed by wetlands, and these wetlands support the aquatic food web, provide shelter for wildlife, and stabilize their shores. The plant life associated with the wetland includes rushes, sedges, cattails, duckweed, bee balm and algae.

The hardwood forest of the surrounding mountains provides the essential nutrient source and produces tons of hard mast including acorns, hickory nuts, beech nuts and black walnuts. Soft mast includes stag horn sumac, black cherry, tulip poplar seeds, maple seeds, autumn olive berries and blackberries.

Wildlife management practices have created the ideal wildlife preserve. Early on, management goals promoted overall wildlife health, facilitated the observation of game, developed wildlife viewing areas, increased carrying capacity, and increased species diversity

THE NEW RIVER GORGE NATIONAL PARK and PRESERVE

The 70,000-acre New River Gorge National Park and Preserve is a unit of the United States National Park Service (NPS) designed to protect and maintain the New River Gorge in southern West Virginia in the Appalachian Mountains. Established in 1978 as a national river, the NPS-protected area stretches for 53 miles from just downstream of Hinton to Hawks Nest State Park near Ansted. The park was officially named America’s 63rd national park, the U.S. government’s highest form of protection, in December of 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic as part of a relief bill.

West Virginia is home to parts of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, a foot path that stretches more than 2,100 miles between Maine and Georgia; the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail, which cuts through 16 states for 4,900 miles; the Bluestone National Scenic River; and Harpers Ferry National Historic Park. Now, over 70,000 acres of land, bordering 53 miles of the gorge, has earned the government’s protection.

The New River Gorge National Park and Preserve is rich in cultural and natural history and offers an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities. New River Gorge is home to some of the country’s best whitewater rafting, mainly from the Cunard put-in to the Fayette Station take-out and is also one of the most popular climbing areas on the East Coast.

Home to the New River, which drops 750 feet over 66 miles, with its Class V rapids, has long drawn adventuresome rafters and kayakers to this whitewater area. The New River, which flows northward through low-cut canyons in the Appalachian Mountains, is actually one of the oldest rivers on the planet.

Rock climbing on the canyon walls, mountain biking and hiking on trails that flank the river, and wildlife viewing—bald eagles, osprey, kingfishers, great blue herons, beavers, river otters, wild turkeys, brown bats, snakes, and black bears—are all popular activities within the park.

The New River Gorge Bridge is a work of structural art. Construction of the bridge began in 1974, and was completed in 1977. The Bridge spans 3,030 feet in length and is the third highest bridge in the U.S., at 876 ft. During Bridge Day, an annual one-day festival celebrating the construction of the Bridge, BASE jumpers launch off the 876-foot bridge and parachute down to the New River. New River Gorge is the only national park in the U.S. that permits this extreme activity.

President Jimmy Carter signed legislation establishing New River Gorge National River on November 10, 1978 (Pub.L. 95–625). As stated in the legislation, the park was established as a unit of the national park system “for the purpose of conserving and interpreting outstanding natural, scenic, and historic values and objects in and around the New River Gorge, and preserving as a free-flowing stream an important segment of the New River in West Virginia for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations.” The New River Gorge National Park and Preserve Designation Act was incorporated into the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, changing the designation to New River Gorge National Park and Preserve. Less than 10% of the original national river was re-designated as a national park, where hunting is no longer permitted, while the remainder is a national preserve with little change.

NEW RIVER REGION OVERVIEW

The New River is shared by boaters, fisherman, campers, park visitors and local neighbors. The waters of the New River system contain a mosaic of hydrologic features and aquatic habitats that support a highly productive aquatic ecosystem that includes distinct populations of native fish, mussels, crayfish, and a broad array of other aquatic life, including rare amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals.

The 320-mile New River rises in the Blue Ridge region of North Carolina and flows northeastward through the Appalachian uplands to Radford, Va., where it turns northwestward and passes through a series of narrow valleys and gorges into southern West Virginia. It ends where it joins the Gauley River to form the Kanawha River. In WV, the New River is entrenched in a steep and narrow valley, the most narrow part of which is known as the “New River Gorge.”

In 1998, because of historical, economical, and cultural importance, President Clinton signed into law the New River as one of the very first American Heritage Rivers. Much of the river’s course through West Virginia was designated as the New River Gorge National River. In 2021, the area was designated as the United States’ newest National Park.

The New River is recognized as the “second oldest river in the world” and is estimated to be between 10 and 360 million years old. Its headwaters begin near Blowing Rock, NC, and is one of the few rivers in North America that flows northerly.

Class I, II, III, IV and V rapids dot the entire 320 miles of New River making it a great paddling, tubing, and white rafting adventure. Beautiful cliffs, bluffs, and mountain views make it one of the most scenic rivers on the east coast.

New River Gorge National Park includes 53 miles of free-flowing New River, beginning at Bluestone Dam and ending at Hawks Nest Lake. The New River typifies big West Virginia style whitewater. Within the park it has two very different characters. The upper (southern) part of the river consists primarily of long pools, and relatively easy rapids up to Class III. It is a big powerful river, but very beautiful, always runnable, and providing excellent fishing and camping. There are a number of different river access points, and trips can run from several hours to several days.

The lower (northern) section of river is often referred to as “the Lower Gorge.” In a state that is justifiably renowned for colossal rapids, the Lower Gorge has some of the biggest of the big with rapids ranging in difficulty from Class III to Class V. The rapids are imposing and forceful, many of them obstructed by large boulders which necessitate maneuvering in very powerful currents, crosscurrents, and hydraulics. Some rapids contain hazardous undercut rocks.

Prior to the rise of the Appalachian Mountains, the New River cut its bed at a time when the land sloped to the northwest. Amazingly so, as the Appalachians gradually rose around the river, the New River wore away the bedrock at the same rate the mountains formed, leaving behind towering cliffs and prominences that hover hundreds of feet about the water level.

Accounts claim that Indians referred to the New River as the “river of death,” however this origin story is likely legend. Native Americans and early European settlers regarded the New and Kanawha rivers as being one single waterway. The name “New” may have been derived when the river upstream was discovered by European explorers as the first “new” river found flowing westward.

Native American Indians used the New River as they traveled west years before the pioneers arrived. In the 1600s explorers navigating the New River thought they were close to the Pacific Ocean because of its westerly flow.

In 1671 the Batts-Fallam expedition, by way of the New River, came through to the Lurich area and ended there because the Indian guides refused to take them any farther. They carved their initials in a tree and claimed the territory for King Charles II of England. This was the first proclamation of English territory west of the Alleghenies making the New River the first gateway into the west.

Fast water, big rocks and lazy/slow stretches are features of the New River. Water sports enthusiasts will find the New River ideal for swimming, canoeing, fishing, kayaking, tubing, snorkeling, paddle boarding and windsurfing. Great fishing is found in the New River with bass (largemouth, smallmouth and rock), flathead catfish, channel catfish, muskie, walleye and bluegill present in good numbers. Year after year, it produces more citation fish than any other warm water river in WV.

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.

The gorge was practically impassible before completion of the New River Gorge Bridge, near Fayetteville, WV, in 1978. The river within its gorge is one of the most popular whitewater rafting destinations in the eastern U.S. Much of the New between Hinton and Gauley Bridge is managed by the National Park Service as the New River Gorge National River.

Principal tributaries of the New in West Virginia include, from south to north, the East River, the Bluestone River, and the Greenbrier River.
Many former mining communities located on the New River in its gorge have since become ghost towns. These include Sewell, Nuttalburg, Kaymoor, Fayette, South Fayette, Hawks Nest, Cotton Hill, and Gauley, Beury and Claremont.

THE SURROUNDING AREA

Amidst the beautiful scenery of southern West Virginia lies the long, narrow 2,000-acre Bluestone Lake. This reservoir, the third largest lake in West Virginia, is popular for its fishing and other recreational activities. Bluestone Lake was formed by a concrete dam built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers across the New River to reduce flooding. Although the dam was started in 1941, its construction was delayed because of World War II, and it was not fully completed until 1952. The lake is nearly eleven miles long, with an area of 2,040 acres during summer pool, though the water level does change frequently. Water levels are drawn down four feet in winter to make room for melting snow and spring rain.

Bluestone Lake, Greenbrier River, Bluestone River, and the New River are great places for fishing, and it is said that New River is the best warm-water fishery in the state. Some of the species of fish available in the lake and river are bluegill, catfish, crappie, muskellunge, and various types of bass. New River bass have set some West Virginia state records.

In addition to fishing, Bluestone Lake is fantastic for enjoying all sorts of water activities, including boating, canoeing, water skiing, and wake boarding. The lake has several boat ramps and a commercial marina for the boater’s convenience, and there are no limits to the size of boats or motors that can be on the lake.

Bluestone Lake is part of the Bluestone Wildlife Management Area, which covers an area of 18,019 acres. The Wildlife Management Area is known for having some of the best hunting in the area, and hunters and trappers will be able to catch a variety of game including white-tail deer, turkey, fox, and other animals.

One great place to enjoy the lake is at Bluestone State Park. The park has ample accommodations for those who want to stay overnight. There are a variety of camp sites – or, if you prefer a more comfortable stay, there are 26 cabins with TV’s, showers, and other modern conveniences. Park visitors can take a walk on the hiking trails, play in the swimming pool, or rent game equipment to play croquet or horseshoes. The park also has weekly events with lots of fun activities.

In addition to all the fun activities on the lake, there’s plenty more to do in the surrounding area. There are several other parks nearby, where you can enjoy all sorts of outdoor activities. You can experience some great whitewater on the New River. And the New River Gorge is well-known as a great place for rock climbing, with its many hard sandstone cliffs. If you want a break from outdoor activities, the nearby town of Hinton has many attractions. There are a variety of restaurants, shops and antique stores to browse, and museums to visit.

Historical and recreational interest located in the Bluestone area includes the outdoor musical dramas “Hatfields and McCoys” and others shows performed at Grandview Park, near Beckley. Pipestem Resort with its myriad recreational facilities is only nine miles to the south and the 80,000 acres New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, center of some of the state’s best whitewater rafting and canoeing plays an integral part of the area. Of special note are Sandstone Falls and the Visitor Center, just north of Hinton; and Bluestone National Wild and Scenic River, which flows into Bluestone Lake within the park boundaries.

THE GREENBRIER RIVER

The lower Greenbrier River possesses the excitement of life on one of the nation’s great wild rivers. The focus of a vast outdoor-recreation destination, it flows untamed out of the lofty Alleghenies, attracting anglers, paddlers, and naturalists from across the globe.

At 172 miles long, the Greenbrier drains over 1.5 million acres and is the longest undammed river left in the Eastern United States. It is primarily used for recreational pursuits and well known for its fishing, canoeing, kayaking and floating opportunities. Its upper reaches flow through the Monongahela National Forest, and it is paralleled for 77 miles by the Greenbrier River Trail, a rail trail which runs between the communities of Cass and North Caldwell.

It has always been a valuable water route, with the majority of the important cities in the watershed being established river ports. The river gives the receiving waters of the New River an estimated 30% of its water volume. Over three-fourths of the watershed is an extensive karstic (cavern system), which supports fine trout fishing, cave exploration and recreation. Many important festivals and public events are held along the river throughout the watershed.

The Greenbrier is formed at Durbin in northern Pocahontas County by the confluence of the East Fork Greenbrier River and the West Fork Greenbrier River, both of which are short streams rising at elevations exceeding 3,300 feet and flowing for their entire lengths in northern Pocahontas County. From Durbin the Greenbrier flows generally south-southwest through Pocahontas, Greenbrier and Summers Counties, past several communities including Cass, Marlinton, Hillsboro, Ronceverte, Fort Spring, Alderson, and Hinton, where it flows into the New River.

Along most of its course, the Greenbrier accommodated the celebrated Indian warpath known as the Seneca Trail (Great Indian Warpath). From the vicinity of present-day White Sulphur Springs the Trail followed Anthony’s Creek down to the Greenbrier near the present Pocahontas-Greenbrier County line. It then ascended the River to the vicinity of Hillsboro and Droop Mountain and made its way through present Pocahontas County by way of future Marlinton, Indian Draft Run, and Edray.

THE NEW RIVER

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.

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 fishery.

CARBON SEQUESTRATION

Lick Creek Forest’s 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. The vigorously growing forest is sequestering thousands of tons of Carbon Dioxide each per year and producing thousands of tons of Oxygen as well.

SELF-SUSTAINING LIFE OFF THE GRID

Just like 200 years ago, when the first mountaineers settled the area, the property can be self-sustaining in times of necessity – even without on-grid electricity.

  • Hydropower from the creeks could provide a supply of off grid electricity.
  • Fresh water for drinking and cooking could come from drilling a well (hand drawing water from the well using a cylinder well bucket) and developing mountain springs.
  • The nearby rivers, creeks and forest would provide fresh food (fish, deer, and turkey).
  • The 2 acre hay field could be used to raise livestock of all kinds (chickens, pigs, cows, sheep, goats, rabbits etc.) and could be farmed with horse drawn equipment. The land would support 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 and pounds of walnuts.

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 in each category.

  • 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)

WINTERPLACE SKI RESORT

Winterplace Ski Resort is located in Ghent, West Virginia on Raleigh County’s Flat Top Mountain, just five minutes off of I-77 at Exit 28 . The southernmost ski resort in West Virginia, Winterplace is a popular attraction to skiers from VA, NC, KY and OH, due to its proximity to Interstate 77. It operates in conjunction with The Resort at Glade Springs, a four season golf resort and spa. Winterplace Ski Resort is the most accessible skiing area in West Virginia, even during heavy snowstorms. The Resort features 12 lifts, 27 trails, two terrain parks and WV’s largest snowtubing park, offering 16 lanes of fun, and much more.

The Resort at Glade Springs is located eight miles north of Winterplace in Daniels, West Virginia, near the intersection of I-77 and Interstate 64. It operates a spa and three golf courses. The Cobb Course and the Stonehaven Course have been rated among the top five courses in West Virginia by Golfweek Magazine; the Cobb Course, designed by George Cobb, was rated West Virginia’s best golf course in 1995. Glade Springs is also the home course for the WVU Tech men’s and women’s golf teams Glade Springs also offers horseback riding and whitewater rafting on the New River.

BLUESTONE LAKE

Bluestone Lake is the state’s third largest body of water and is a flood control reservoir located on the New River near Hinton, West Virginia. At its normal pool level, Bluestone Dam impounds a 10.7-mile stretch of the New and its tributary, the Bluestone River. Normally approximately 2,040 acres in size, the lake can grow to over 36 miles long at flood control pool. At higher water levels, the lake extends into Giles County, Virginia. The lake’s Catchment Area is 4,565 square miles.

The lake is nearly eleven miles long, with an area of 2,040 acres during summer pool, though the water level does change frequently. Water levels are drawn down four feet in winter to make room for melting snow and spring rain.

Bluestone Lake, New River and Greenbrier River are great places for fishing, and it is said that New River is the best warm-water fishery in the state. Some of the species of fish available in the lake and river are bluegill, catfish, crappie, muskellunge, and various types of bass. New River bass have set some West Virginia state records.

In addition to fishing, Bluestone Lake is fantastic for enjoying all sorts of water activities, including boating, canoeing, water skiing, and wake boarding. The lake has several boat ramps and a commercial marina for the boater’s convenience, and there are no limits to the size of boats or motors that can be on the lake.

BLUESTONE LAKE MARINA

Bluestone Lake Marina offers guests lake opportunities for water-oriented recreation. Depending on lake conditions, it is open from April 15th through October 15th.

At the marina you can rent fishing boats, pontoon boats, kayaks, canoes and slip rentals as well as cabin rentals conveniently located near Bluestone Lake and Bluestone State Park. Fuel, bait and snacks are available for purchase.

BLUESTONE STATE PARK

Bluestone State Park was established in 1950 and is named after the Bluestone National Scenic River, which flows into the New River at the park. Bluestone State Park encompasses over 2,100 acres of rugged, heavily forested, mountainous terrain, and provides a variety of water-oriented activities for guests and residents of southern West Virginia. This park is five miles south of Hinton, WV.

Classic Cabins at Bluestone State Park are available for rent year-round. The campgrounds, although seasonal by nature, are popular campsites with visitors. Hiking and the opportunity to view eagles makes Bluestone a neat area to visit.

Bluestone State Park has 26 modern, fully furnished cabins with kitchens, showers, linens, towels, cooking utensils, dishes, tableware and modern appliances. Each cabin also has a stone fireplace, grill, picnic table and campfire ring. Cabins are available for rent year-round and accommodate two to eight people. Select cabins are pet-friendly. Guests also have access to nearby Pipestem Resort State Park’s indoor facilities including an indoor pool and sauna for some more rest and relaxation.

Bluestone State Park has four campgrounds with 120 campsites. The Meador Campground has 32 sites open to RVs and tents with electric and water available at seven of the sites, electric at 15 sites, and a central bathhouse also on-site. The Tent Area Campground has five rustic sites and is designed for group camping. Old Mill Campground, open to tents and RVs, has 44 rustic campsites and a central bathhouse. East Shore Campground has 39 primitive sites accessible by boat only. The campgrounds are open mid-April through late October. Campground reservations are available from Memorial Day through Labor Day each year. Campgrounds are open on a first-come, first-serve basis through October 31. A campsite reservation application is available here.

An extra plus is that Bluestone Park is adjacent to Bluestone Lake, the state’s third largest body of water. Due to this sizeable lake, boating and fishing are naturally an important part of the recreational opportunities at the park. The addition of hiking trails, a swimming pool, game courts, and a seasonal nature/recreation program creates a well-rounded array of activities. The proximity of Bluestone to Winter Place ski area makes the park’s rental cabins affordable accommodations for ski groups and winter vacations.

Nearby is “The Year-Round Crown Jewel of West Virginia State Parks,” Pipestem, is known for its scenic overlooks and an aerial tram ride into the Bluestone Gorge. Park amenities include an 18-hole, par 72 championship golf course with several restaurants and snack bars.

BLUESTONE WMA

Bluestone Wildlife Management Area offers visitors a variety of outdoor recreational opportunities on 17,632 acres. Being adjacent to Bluestone Lake, the state’s third largest body of water, the area offers guests boating, canoeing and fishing opportunities. Hunting is offered due to the wildlife management area status, and Bluestone has over 330 primitive campsites and picnic sites. Avid fishermen can enjoy float fishing and stocked trout fishing in Indian Creek. Hiking and equestrian trails are also popular.

Bicycles are permitted on main roads, day use areas and campground areas. Many of the roads leading to Wildlife Management area campgrounds are dirt roads which provide an experience similar to off-road bicycling.

BLUESTONE DAM

Bluestone Dam, located at Hinton, is one of the major flood control dams in West Virginia. It has the largest drainage area and flood storage capacity of any dam in the state. It is built across New River, one mile above its junction with the Greenbrier River and two miles below the confluence of New River and Bluestone River. Prior to the construction of the Bluestone Dam, flooding was a major problem on this great river system.

Bluestone Dam was authorized in 1935 by an executive order issued by President Franklin Roosevelt. Construction on the project began in 1942, but work was suspended in 1943 because of World War II. Work resumed in January 1946, and the dam was completed for operational purposes in January 1949, and totally completed in 1952. The approximate cost was $30 million.

With a drainage area of 4,565 square miles Bluestone Dam controls 44 percent of the river flow through the populous Kanawha Valley, which is downstream. It is a concrete gravity dam 165 feet high and 2,048 feet long, administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Normal release of water from the Bluestone Lake is accomplished through 16 sluices in the base of the dam. The 790-foot spillway has 21 flood gates. There are also six sluiceways for hydroelectric power that have not been used in the early decades of the dam’s history. The maximum discharge capacity is 430,000 square feet per second.

The dam contains 942,000 cubic yards of concrete and 7,800 tons of steel. Its lake has a summertime surface of 2,040 acres and is very popular with boaters, skiers, and fishermen. Bluestone State Park, located on the Bluestone River about three miles above the dam, provides lodging, camping, a restaurant, and recreational facilities.

The Bluestone Dam celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1999, when the Army Corps of Engineers estimated that the dam had prevented more than $1.6 billion in flood damages. Bluestone ended its first half-century with important improvements under way. The lake became a major supplier of public water in 1997, serving Hinton and Princeton and a large area between and around those two communities.

Reinforcements were added to the dam under the federal Dam Safety Assurance program, with raising the dam by 8 feet, installing anchors and thrust blocks to tie the dam into bedrock, spillway improvements and other work. The second phase, installing bedrock anchors, is underway and three additional phases remain to be constructed. Simultaneously, work began to add hydroelectric capacity to the dam, in a partnership between Hinton and other communities and private industry.

Hydroelectric Power Generation Project: Bluestone Dam was originally designed for Federal hydropower and six penstocks were constructed through the east abutment. During World War II, construction activities were delayed, during which time interest in Federal hydropower declined.

The Water Resources Development Act of 2000, authorized Tri-Cities Power Authority (TCPA) to design and construct a hydropower generating facility at Bluestone Dam. TCPA is made up of the West Virginia cities for Hinton, Philippi and White Sulphur Springs.

Until the early 2000’s the penstocks were capped and never modified. Between 2001 and 2017, the Corps modified the penstocks to create an auxiliary spillway as a required Dam Safety Action.

The Corps and TCPA initiated negotiations for the installation of a non-federal hydropower facility at Bluestone Dam but these negotiations were put on hold as the Corps advanced required dam safety actions so TCPA could re-assess the project. Bluestone State Park was established in 1950 and is named after the Bluestone National Scenic River, which flows into the New River at the park. Bluestone State Park encompasses over 2,100 acres of rugged, heavily forested, mountainous terrain, and provides a variety of water-oriented activities for guests and residents of southern West Virginia. This park is five miles south of Hinton, WV.

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.

THE DYNAMIC WETLAND

In earlier times, before the environmental and societal value of wetlands was discovered, the property’s little, but dynamic wetland, was commonly called a “swamp”. This enchanting area is biologically rich and wildlife diverse, being akin to the world’s largest swamps found in the Florida Everglades and the Amazon River Basin. This small, but mighty wetland works to provide “ecosystem services”—non-monetary benefits like clean water, clean air, carbon sequestration, hunting, and eco-recreation.

The wetlands are the best of both worlds. A visit begins with hiking down off the ridge to to the upper side of the pond and watch for deer, squirrels, raccoon, and turkey while exploring for butterflies, turtles, frogs, crawdads, songbirds, salamanders, newts, and a host of other aquatic invertebrates, migratory birds, reptiles, and amphibians.

Wetlands are a very productive part of our environment; more productive of vegetation, in fact, than some agricultural soils. This vegetation serves important purposes. It shelters and feeds many wildlife species that cannot survive elsewhere. Almost 35 percent of all rare and endangered species depend, in some way, on wetlands. More common wetland species provide enjoyment to many by serving educational, research and recreational needs. Waterfowl and many furbearers such as beaver, mink and muskrat provide both consumptive and no consumptive recreation and are dependent on wetlands. Many fringe wetlands provide the food that young fish need to survive. By slowing the flow of water, wetlands help keep banks from eroding and they trap and settle suspended silt before it smothers fish eggs and covers the insects and other animals that fish eat.
Wetlands add visual diversity to everyone’s lives. The wetlands offer an opportunity to see many different plant and wildlife species seen nowhere else on the property. Spending time in the wetlands habitat is a relaxing and rewarding experience.

ARCHEOLOGY AND GEOLOGY

The property is nestled between the folded Ridge and Valley Province to the east and the younger Allegheny Plateau to the west. The Greenbrier River flows 172 miles southwest through numerous mountain valleys and empties into the world’s third oldest river, the New River, just a few miles downstream.

The area’s rich bottom land farmland is made fertile by nutrient rich topsoil being deposited by eons of flood waters laidened with limestone leached from the Greenbrier Limestones, known locally as the “Big Lime”. These limestones were formed from shallow seas some 350 million years ago during the Mississippian geological period. The quarrying of limestone for dimension stone, fill-rock, construction aggregate, riprap, sand, and agricultural lime is an important industry in the area.

The area has many interesting “riches from the earth” in the form of sandstone, limestone, agates, fossils, geodes, caves and curious rock outcrops. The river’s bottom and banks have numerous types, ages and classes of rocks that originate from several diverse geological regions along the 172 mile long river basin draining about 1.5 million acres.

The Droop Sandstone, a very hard, quartz-rich rock originally deposited as sand beaches along an ancient shoreline, is especially prominent in the area. Numerous sheer rock cliff formations are created by the erosion-resistant Droop Sandstone. Locally, the Muddy Creek Mountain quarry produces decorative sandstone from the Droop that is known worldwide for its beauty and durability.

The area is well known for the healing waters of the numerous “Sulphur Springs”. During the 1800’s and early 1900’s, several “Sulphur Springs Resorts” flourished in the area. Most notably and still in existence are White Sulphur Springs, Warm Springs, and Hot Springs. Others included, Sweet Springs, Blue Sulphur Springs, Red Sulphur Springs, Green Sulphur Springs, Salt Sulphur Springs, Pence Springs and, Sweet Chalybeate Springs.

LOCAL COUNTY OVERVIEW

Historic Summers County
Hinton, the county seat of Summers County is a 30 minute drive. Hinton, founded in 1871, grew rapidly as the hub of a growing railroad industry serving the New River coal fields, passenger travel and coast to coast freight lines. Today, Hinton serves the growing tourist and technology industries.
Summers County (2014 population—13,417) is located in the southeastern region of West Virginia, scenically placed between the beautiful Greenbrier and New River Valleys. The City of Hinton (2013 population—2,588) serves as the county seat and is the sole municipality within Summers County.

The railroad boom of the early 20th century helped to build Hinton and Summers County. However, the county’s current economy is based primarily on tourism thanks to the Bluestone Dam and Lake along with the Bluestone, Greenbrier, and New Rivers which converge in Hinton. Further, the New River Gorge National River begins at Hinton and flows northward into neighboring Fayette County.

Summers County is also home to Bluestone State Park, Pipestem Resort, and a number of other facilities that provide lodging, camping, and a variety of recreational activities. The Hinton Railroad Museum, the Graham House, the Campbell Flanagan Murrell House, and other museums provide glimpses into the county’s history. The architecture of buildings in Hinton’s nationally registered historic district is of interest to many. A solid core of retail stores and professional service providers meet the needs of residents and visitors alike.

Residents of Summers County enjoy a wonderful small town, laid back quality of life. Service clubs such as the Kiwanis, Lions, Rotary, and Ruritans support a number of community initiatives, school programs, and special events. The Summers County Library supports the county school system and provides visitors with Internet access and other services. There are several denominations of churches in the area.

Summers County is served east-west by Interstate 64 and by north and south connections to Interstate 77. The New River Parkway, when completed, will improve access to Sandstone Falls by upgrading River Road from I-64 near Exit 139 Sandstone into Hinton. West Virginia Routes 3, 12, 19, 20, and 107 are the primary highways within the county. Amtrak also provides an important transportation link to Summers County with its Cardinal line from New York to Washington DC to Chicago. Stops are made three times per week to pick up and disembark passengers at Hinton’s historic Rail Depot.

The Summers County Appalachian Regional Hospital provides a fully-staffed emergency room and a variety of medical services. Summers County Emergency Services provides ambulance service. Law enforcement is provided by the Summers County Sheriff’s Department, a detachment of the West Virginia State Police, the City of Hinton’s Police Department and park rangers with the US Army Corps of Engineers, the National Park Service, and the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources. Similarly, the City of Hinton has a new fully-manned and equipped fire station complemented by six other volunteer fire departments throughout the county.

Historic Greenbrier County
Lewisburg, (60-minute drive), which is the Greenbrier County seat, was voted the Coolest Small Town in America, combining the warmth of a close community with the sophistication of more urban locations. The thriving downtown historic district offers year-round live productions presented at the State Professional Theatre of WV, Carnegie Hall, distinctive dining venues, antique shops, award-winning galleries/boutiques, a year-round farmer’s markets. Greenbrier Valley Medical Center is a modern hospital and all attendant medical facilities, along with the many big box stores.
The county and city host several fairs & festivals throughout the year including The WV State Fair, a professional 4-weekend Renaissance Festival, Chocolate Festival, Taste of our Town Festival (TOOT), antique car shows, Jeep Rally’s, Airstream Rally, WV Barn Hunt Competition, PGA Tour @The Greenbrier.

Lewisburg is also home to the modern Robert. C Byrd Medical Clinic (300 employees), the WV Osteopathic Medical School (600 students) and the New River Community and Technical College. The area is a strong economic generator with a solid workforce employed in county/state government, tourism, hospitality, medical, education, retail, construction, wood products, mining and agriculture.

The world-renowned Greenbrier Resort, with 800 rooms and 1600 employees, is located in the sleepy little town of White Sulphur Springs. The 4-Star resort has a subterranean casino and is home to the PGA tour, NFL Summer Practice Event, Tennis Exhibitions (Venus Williams, John McEnroe etc.). Several other area golf courses are available in the area – including Oakhurst Links, America’s first golf course, where guests play using old style hickory-handled clubs and ground-burrowing golf balls.

A picturesque Amtrak train ride from Hinton connects the area to DC, Philadelphia, Chicago, and many other locations. By car, DC is 5 hours away and Charlotte is only 3.

Within a two-hour’s drive are located some of the finest recreational facilities in West Virginia. Winterplace Ski Resort, whitewater rafting / fishing on the New River and Gauley River, 2000-acre Bluestone Lake, Pipestem State Park and Resort and the 80,000-acre New River National Gorge National Park. Five other area state parks and state forests offer unlimited hiking, horseback riding, ATV riding and rock climbing opportunities. Snowshoe Ski Resort is 90-minute drive through some of the most scenic country on the East Coast. The new 12,000-acre Boy Scout High Adventure Camp and home to the US and World Jamboree is an hour’s drive.

 

REGIONAL INFORMATION