THE BIG BLUESTONE

The Big Bluestone is a secluded 945+/- acre mountain range adjoinin the 17,000 acre Bluestone Wildlife Management Area State Park and for over 3 miles. PLUS the mountain property offers extensive views of the 2000 acre Bluestone Lake and mighty New River below.

Agent Contact:
Richard Grist, 304.645.7674

The Big Bluestone is a secluded 945+/- acre mountain range adjoining the 17,000 acre Bluestone Wildlife Management Area State Park and for over 3 miles. PLUS the mountain property offers extensive views of the 2000 acre Bluestone Lake and mighty New River below.

HIGHLIGHTS & ATTRIBUTES

  • 945+/- acre mountain range overlooking the 2000 acre Bluestone Lake and the New River
  • The property adjoins the 17,000 acre Bluestone Wildlife Management Area – Bluestone State Park for over 3 miles.
  • The New River, Bluestone River, Greenbrier River and 2000-acre Bluestone Lake – perfect for anglers and all water recreation enthusiasts
  • Historic Hinton, the gateway to water recreation is just a 10-minute drive with most all town amenities
  • Miles and miles of interior forest trails and many established wildlife corridors
  • Priced right to sell this season
  • All Mineral Rights will convey**
  • Stunning long-range views of the lake, New River and distant mountains with striking sunrises and sunsets
  • Awesome rock outcrops, ledges, boulders, cliffs for a great onsite climbing experience
  • Boone and Crocket country with exceptional resident wildlife populations of white tail deer, wild turkey, black bear, eagles, beaver, otter, mink, heron, duck raccoon, butterflies, muskie, bass & pike
  • Rolling meadows, hay fields, creeks, wide ridges, razorback ridges and benches create a diverse and interesting topography
  • Strong potential for Forest Farming, living off the grid
  • The property’s topography and high elevation offers a superior survival location
  • Superior access with state road frontage
  • Renowned locally as one of the premier wildlife sanctuaries in Summers County
  • Hatfield and McCoy Trail is just an hour’s drive for ATV enthusiasts
  • Dark skies with little or night pollution for star and planet gazing
  • Elevations range from 1638 ft. to 2543 ft. +/-
  • Electric service is onsite and cell coverage is excellent with 4G
  • Located in popular Summers County 10 minutes to Hinton with town amenities
  • Potential for numerous cabin sites
  • Low taxes, low population density
  • Charleston WV (State Capitol) 90 min, Charlotte 3 hrs, Roanoke 2 hrs, DC 4 hrs
  • Jet service with daily flights to major hubs available within 1-2 hour drives
  • The Big Bluestone is much more than real estate; it is an opportunity for adventure.

LOCATION

The Big Bluestone is located in Summers County, WV 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.

Google Coordinates: 37.602464°(N), -80.877474°(W)
Address: Low Gap Church Road RT 14/2, Hinton, WV 25951. No 911 address is assigned to a property without structures.
Elevation Range: 1638 ft. to 2543 ft. +/-

DIRECTIONS

From Hinton, WV:
Starting at Kirks Restaurant on Route 20 beside the WV State Police Office: After crossing the Veterans Memorial Bridge when traveling from RT 20 South/RT 3 East from Hinton; turn right with RT 3 into Bellepoint. Travel RT 3 (Greenbrier Drive) East for 2/10ths miles; turn right on CR 14 (Zion Mountain Road) travel 2.6 miles bearing right at the intersection and continuing on Zion Mountain Road for ¾ mile. Turn right onto 14/2 (Low Gap Church Road) travel 1 mile to CR 23/1 (Four Mile Church Road) Turn right down Four Mile Church Road and property will be on the right and left of Four Mile Church Hollow Road for the next 1.6 miles.

WATER

There are 3 dashed-blueline intermittent streams on the property which have a combined distance of about 2 miles and flow into a blueline stream in Fourmile Hollow. The blueline stream flows on the property for about ¾ mile before it leaves the property to flow into Bluestone Lake. The streams have a total combined distance of about 2.75 miles on the property and should have water flow during rain events and periods of snow melt.

About 60 smaller ephemeral streams may be found throughout the property. The streams generally  flow during rain events and snow melt.

There is a pond, about ¾ acre in size, that lies at the beginning of one of the dashed-blueline streams, and is associated with the mountain-top farm fields.

MINERAL RESOURCES

West Virginia is one of the states in the US that has two ownership titles, those being SURFACE RIGHTS and MINERAL RIGHTS. A title search for mineral rights ownership has not been conducted. All 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

There are about 3 miles of boundary common with the state property along Bluestone Lake and the Bluestone Wildlife Management Area. The property is being sold by the boundary and not by the acre.

UTILITIES

Water: private well could may drilled
Sewer: private septic system may be installed
Electricity: onsite
Telephone: nearby
Internet: Cell phone or possibly through phone line or HughesNet
Cellphone Coverage: Excellent with 4G

ACCESS/FRONTAGE

The property has frontage on Low Gap Church Road RT 14/2. Also, Fourmile Hollow Road RT 23/1, a low-use road, travels through the property leading from RT 14/2 down Fourmile Hollow to the lake edge, providing a unique lake access opportunity as well as providing additional access to the heart 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

There is a total of about 48 acres in farm-related fields along the mountain top, and about 926 acres of 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: Part of the property in DB 262 Pg. 727
Summers County, West Virginia
Acreage: 975 acres +/-
Real Estate Tax ID/Acreage/Taxes:
Summers County (45), West Virginia
Forest Hill District (1)
Tax Map 1 Parcels 2 and 3
Greenbrier District (2)
Tax Map 13 Parcels 2, 4, 5, 6, 7.3, 7.4
Tax Map 16 Parcels 1 and 2
2019 Total Real Estate Taxes: $2,547.21

RECREATION AT THE BIG BLUESTONE

The Big Bluestone offers many recreational opportunities. Numerous soft recreational activities are anchored by the proximity to the 2000 acre Bluestone Lake, New River and Greenbrier River.  The property adjoins the 17,000-acre Bluestone Wildlife Management area for over 3 miles. The 975 acres provide the foundation for all that is The Big Bluestone.

Nature viewing is first in line of recreational activities. Attentive wildlife management has been geared not to just 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
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 Blue Stone Lake, New River, and the Greenbrier River ideal for skiing, boating, swimming, canoeing, fishing, kayaking, tubing, snorkeling, paddle boarding and windsurfing.

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 Big Bluestone has miles and miles of forest trails and roads that are perfect for experiencing the property from an ATV, UTV or 4×4’s. Some of the trails will rival any in the United States for Extreme off-roading. Numerous and diverse sites for Rock Crawling – Rock Bouncing, hill climbing are readily available.

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 property offers miles of more gently laying trails that can 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, coyote, 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.

FOREST/TIMBER RESOURCES

Recent selective harvesting has been conducted on most sections of The Big Bluestone forest.  The remaining timber resource is composed of high quality Appalachian hardwoods. This  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 of the timber and pulpwood has not been determined.

Species composition:

The forest’s predominately well-drained upland terrain has a species composition of highly desirable species and favors Appalachian hardwood types, consisting primarily of:

  • Red Oaks
  • Sugar Maple
  • White Oak/Chestnut Oak
  • Cherry
  • Soft Maple
  • Birch
  • Hemlock
  • Miscellaneous: A host of associate species (hickory, black walnut, beech)

Stocking, Stem Quality, and Forest Structure:

Forest-wide, most accessible timber stands were selectively harvested. The harvest removed most of the commercially sized timber.  Remaining stem quality forest-wide can be considered excellent with the forest containing an abundant amount of young tree’ that can be managed to shape the future silvicultural legacy.

The property’s timber component consists of two age classes. The predominant timber stand contains 2-40 year old stems ranging in size of 8”-40” dbh.

The second distinct timber stand is found throughout the property on areas considered too environmentally sensitive or biologically unique to harvest.  Several “Heritage Trees” are scattered throughout the forest and field edges. These ancient trees, some 200-300 years old, have withstood the test of time, weathering ice, wind, lightning strikes and fire.

The forest is healthy and there are no signs of pest infestations of Gypsy Moth. The Emerald Ash Borer, which has inundated the entire Northeast US, is present and the Ash component will significantly decline over the next decade. The Eastern Hemlock species is under attack by the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid and the hemlock will significantly decline over the coming decade.

There have been no forest fires in recent memory. The forest floor is home to several types of mushrooms, medicinal plants, wild ginseng, ferns and cool green mosses.

WILDLIFE

The mixture of remaining mature forest, recently harvested areas, emerging forest, farm fields, old fruit trees, coupled with the abundant a water supply from the creeks, pond and springs create the perfect wildlife habitat. The “edge effect” created between field and forest is the textbook habitat for the resident wildlife. The edges create a miles long wildlife food plot. The hardwood forest produces tons of acorns, hickory nuts, beech nuts and soft mast. White tail deer, black bear, red/gray fox, bobcat, wild turkey, squirrel, raccoon, fox and many species of songbirds, eagles, owls and raptors make up the resident wildlife population. It is hard to find a property that has a better mix of wildlife as there has been little hunting pressure for many years.

The areas that have recently been selectively harvested will create an incredible wildlife habitat for those animals who browse new growth and require heavy cover for concealment. Deer, turkey, grouse, birds, insects and most fur bearing animals thrive here.

The nearby lake and rivers are major contributors to the local ecosystem richness and diversity for both plants and animals. Great fishing is found in the lake and rivers with bass, crappie, catfish, muskie, and bluegill present in good numbers.

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

There are many animals that live in the water and around the edges of the lake, river and creeks including raccoons, opossums, blue herons, bald eagles, Canada geese, wood ducks, mallards, minnows, fish, turtles, salamanders, newts, crayfish, muskrat, beaver, bull frogs, and redwing blackbirds.

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

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)

THE SURROUNDING AREA

Amidst the beautiful scenery of southern West Virginia lies the long 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 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 River Park, 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.

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.

THE NEW RIVER

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.

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.

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.

GREENBRIER RIVER AND RIVER TRAIL

The Big Bluestone is a 10-minute drive to the lazy Greenbrier River where it empties into the New River at Hinton. The Greenbrier River is 173 miles long is the last free flowing river east of the Mississippi. It is an excellent river to float or canoe and is well known for its large and small mouth bass fishing. It is the gateway to water recreation and fun as it is at most times lazy and easy to navigate.

The Greenbrier River is formed by the confluence of the East Fork Greenbrier River and the West Fork Greenbrier River in the town of Durbin, West Virginia. From Durbin the Greenbrier River flows southwesterly through Pocahontas, Greenbrier, Monroe, and Summers Counties. It flows through several communities including Cass, Marlinton, Hillsboro, Ronceverte, Fort Spring, Alderson, and Hinton. The Greenbrier River joins the New River in the town of Hinton, just 10 minutes away.

The property is a 45 minutes ride to the Greenbrier River Trial and is operated by the West Virginia State Parks. The trail is a 77-mile long former railroad, now used for hiking, bicycling, ski-touring, horseback-riding, and wheel-chair use. The trail passes through numerous small towns and traverses 35 bridges and 2 tunnels as it winds its way along the valley. Most of the trail is adjacent to the free-flowing Greenbrier River and is surrounded by peaks of the Allegheny Mountains.

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 that are currently being cultivated:

  • 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)

WILDLIFE

Years of progressive wildlife management on the adjoining 2100 acre Bluestone Park and nearby 18,000 acre Bluestone Wildlife Management Area, have created the quintessential wildlife preserve. Early on, management goals promoted overall wildlife health, facilitate the harvest of game, develop wildlife viewing areas, increase carrying capacity, and increase species diversity.

Bluestone Lake is a major contributor to the local ecosystem richness and diversity for both plants and animals. The lake and its surrounding aquatic plant life create a water supported community with a wide variety of wildlife. Much of the margin of the lake is fringed by wetlands, and these wetlands support the aquatic food web, provide shelter for wildlife, and stabilize the shore of the lake. The plant life associated with the wetland includes rushes, sedges, cattails, duckweed and algae.

There are many animals that live in the water and around the edges of the lake including beaver, otters, mink, raccoons, opossums, blue herons, Canada geese, wood ducks, mallards, minnows, stocked fish, turtles, salamanders, newts, crayfish, muskrat, bull frogs, and redwing blackbirds.

There is the insect and microscopic world including butterflies, dragonflies, pond skaters, water beetles, damselflies, tadpoles and various insect larve.

The property has a mixture of mature hardwood species, white pine forest, and hemlock. The diverse tree species, coupled with the abundant water supply from the lake, creeks and springs, creates the perfect wildlife habitat. The miles of “edge effect” created between the lake, hollows, ridges, rock outcrops and old forest is the textbook habitat benefiting all the resident wildlife. Bald eagle, white tail deer, black bear, wild turkey, squirrel, rabbit, bobcat, raccoon, fox and many species of songbirds, owls and raptors make up the resident wildlife population.

The hardwood forest 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.

ARCHEOLOGY AND GEOLOGY

Zion Mountain Forest is nestled between the folded Ridge and Valley Province to the east and the younger Allegheny Plateau to the west. The Greenbrier River flows 162 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 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.

SELF-SUSTAINING LIFE OFF THE GRID

Just like 175 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 springs or a drilled well.
  • The forest would provide fresh food (deer, and turkey).
  • Additional land could be cleared, and the rich agricultural land would be used to 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 vast forest would provide firewood for heating and cooking, lumber for building, maple syrup and pounds of nuts (walnuts, beechnuts and hickory nuts).

THE DYNAMIC WETLAND

In earlier times, before the environmental and societal value of wetlands was discovered, Bluestone Lake’s dynamic wetland was commonly called a “swamp” or “bog”. 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. The small, but mighty wetland works to provide “ecosystem services”—non-monetary benefits like clean water, clean air, carbon sequestration, hunting, and yes—recreation for everyone young and old.

The wetlands are the best of both worlds. A visit begins with taking the foot bridge across the upper lake and watch for deer, squirrels, raccoon, and turkey while exploring for butterflies, turtles, frogs, crawdads, song birds, 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 lake trail that skirts and crosses the wetlands offers an opportunity to see many different plant and wildlife species seen nowhere else on the property. The wetlands habitat walk is a relaxing and rewarding experience.

PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Summers County School District

Public Elementary Schools:
Hinton Area Elementary School

Public Middle Schools:
Summers County Middle School

Public High School:
Summers County High School

REGIONAL INFORMATION