MILL BRANCH FOREST

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225 +/- acre outstanding timber investment and multi-use recreational property with nearly two miles of mountain streams flowing along and through the property.

Agent Contact:
Richard Grist, 304.645.7674

OVERVIEW

225 +/- acre outstanding timber investment and multi-use recreational property with nearly two miles of mountain streams flowing along and through the property. Located near Winterplace Ski Resort and the 70,000-acre New River Gorge National Park and Preserve plus several more state parks and wildlife management areas.

$425,000.00 estimated Capital Timber Value available for immediate harvest.

Mill 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

  • $425,000.00 estimated Capital Timber Value available for immediate harvest
  • 225 +/- acre multi-use recreational forest with large stream and numerous cabin sites
  • Snow Skiing is just 15 minutes away at Winterplace Ski Resort located in Ghent WV
  • Convenient to the New River, Bluestone River, Greenbrier River and 2000-acre Bluestone Lake – perfect for anglers and all water recreation enthusiasts
  • Accessed by paved and gravel state road frontage on Camp Creek Trail. Part of the county road is currently not being maintained by the state and is passable by 4×4 vehicles and ATV’s
  • Two miles of Mill Creek and Bear Pen Branch flow along and through the boundary
  • Historic Hinton, the gateway to water recreation, is a short drive
  • Views of distant mountains with striking sunrises and sunsets
  • Responsible wildlife management compliments 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 2534’ to 3175’
  • Located in popular Mercer County 30 min to Beckley & Princeton with WV 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
  • Mill Creek Forest’s Forest is much more than real estate; it is an opportunity for adventure.

FOREST/TIMBER RESOURCES

The Capital Timber Value at that time was estimated to be $425,000.00.  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 80 years.

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.

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 183 acres with a volume of 1,522,363 +/- Board Feet Doyle scale with 15,019 +/- pulpwood tons. Details of the timber inventory report are available in the Mill 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 $425,000.00 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:

  • 62% Poplar/Cucumber/Basswood
  • 21% Red Oak Group
  • 11% White Oak/Chestnut Oak
  • 4% Sugar Maple/Soft Maple
  • 4% A host of associate species (Hickory, Birch)

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 Mill 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.

Mill 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 and red oak. This stand is considered to be high value sawtimber and veneer.

Some inaccessible areas along the Mill 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.

DIRECTIONS

Near Flat Top, WV
Driving Destination Google Coordinates: 37.580962°(N), -81.141008°(W)

From I-77 Ghent Flat Top Exit 28: 5.5 miles +/- (approximately 10 minutes)
At the end of the exit ramps turn onto Odd Road Rt. 48 toward the Marathon station; travel 3/10 mile to the intersection; turn right onto US 19 South; travel 3.4 miles, going over I-77; after going over I-77, turn the sharp right onto Flat Top Egeria Road Rt. 1; travel 1/10 mile; turn left onto CC Trail (Camp Creek Trail) Rt. 1/2; travel 1.7 miles; the property is on the left.

LOCATION

Google Coordinates: 37.580962°(N), -81.141008°(W)
Address: Camp Creek Trail Rt. 1/2, Flat Top, WV 25841. A 911 address is not assigned to a property without structures.
Elevation Range: 2534 ft. to 3175 ft. +/-

10 minutes to I-77
30 minutes to Beckley
35 minutes to Raleigh County Memorial Airport
30 minutes to Princeton
30 minutes to Concord University at Athens
1 hour 15 minutes to Virginia Tech at Blacksburg
2 hours to Roanoke, VA

10 minutes to Winterplace Ski Resort
20 minutes to Camp Creek State Park & Forest
40 minutes to Pipestem Resort State Park
45 minutes to Lake Stephens
60 minutes to Bluestone Lake

WATER

Mill Branch, a blueline stream that should have waterflow year-round and a tributary to Camp Creek, forms the western boundary of the property for about 1 mile. Bear Pen Branch, an intermittent dashed blueline stream supporting Mill Branch, forms most of the eastern boundary of the property for about 7/10 mile. An un-named intermittent dashed blueline stream supporting Mill Branch forms the northern boundary of the property for about ½ mile. The intermittent streams should flow during a rain event or periods of snow melt.

MINERAL RESOURCES

The owner’s deed states that the coal underneath the property has been excepted. All rights the owner has will convey with the property. There is a producing gas well on the property which is paying a royalty to the owner.

A mineral title search could be conducted by a title attorney at the same time the surface title search is being conducted. A title search for mineral rights ownership has not been conducted. West Virginia is one of the states in the US that has two ownership titles, those being SURFACE RIGHTS and MINERAL RIGHTS.

BOUNDARIES AND SURVEY

There is not a current survey on file for the property. The deed has a metes and bound description. The property is being sold by the boundary and not by the acre.

ACCESS/FRONTAGE

Camp Creek Trail Rt. 1/2 (CC Trail Rt. 1/2 on the road sign) travels through the property for about 9/10 mile, providing access to the public road system. The road is partially paved and partially gravel. The gravel section of the county road is currently not maintain by the state and is passable by 4×4 vehicles and ATV’s. The state may resume maintenance once the gravel section of road receives regular vehicular use by the new owner.

ZONING

Mercer County is subject to some zoning and subdivision regulations. All prospective buyers should consult the County Commission and also the Health Department for details regarding zoning, building codes and installation of septic systems.

PROPERTY TYPE/USE SUMMARY

This property has 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.)

DEED AND TAX INFORMATION

Deed Information: DB 1099 Pg. 615, “TRACT THIRTEEN”
Mercer County, West Virginia

Acreage: Deed says 100 acres +/-; SCS Surveyors of Hinton have plotted the property using the metes and bounds description of an earlier deed, and they have determined that the acreage calculates from that plotting to be more representative of the tax acreage of 225 acres.
Real Estate Tax ID/Acreage/Taxes:

Mercer County (28), West Virginia
Jumping Branch District (6)
Tax Map 6 Parcel 20; 225 AC LESS COAL TRS CAMP CK; Class 3

2020 Total Real Estate Taxes: $335.94

PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Mercer County School District

Public Elementary School:
Spanishburg Elementary School

Public Middle School:
Pikeview Middle School

Public High School:
Pikeview High School

UTILITIES

  • Water: A water well could be drilled
  • Sewer: A private septic could be installed
  • Electricity: Not readily available along Camp Creek Trail
  • Telephone: Not readily available on Camp Creek Trail
  • Internet: Satellite Coverage for Internet is common in this area
  • Cell phone Coverage: Excellent on the ridgetops and poor to none in the deep Mill Branch hollow along Camp Creek Trail

RECREATION AT MILL CREEK FOREST

Mill Creek Forest offers unparalleled recreational opportunities. Numerous soft recreational activities are anchored by Winterplace Ski Resort, three area rivers and 2 lakes.

Snow skiing is just 15 minutes away at Winterplace Ski Resort in Flat Top WV. The Resort features 12 lifts, 27 trails, two terrain parks and WV’s largest snowtubing park, offering 16 lanes of fun, and much more.

Water-sports enthusiasts will find the three nearby 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.

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, 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.

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.

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 narrowest 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 West Virginia.

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 – Flat Top 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 70,000 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 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 river in West Virginia.

CARBON SEQUESTRATION

Mill 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 during times of significant flow provide a supply of off grid electricity. Solar or wind could also be a source 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).
  • There is plenty of land that could be cleared up and 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)

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.

REGIONAL INFORMATION

There is no regional information available.