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Making a “Wild” New Year’s Resolution

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December 31, 2007

Charleston, WV – Even if they're not into wild New Year's Eve parties, West Virginians can make a "wild" resolution this year. A state environmental group is asking them to resolve to help protect the state's unique wild areas.

Matt Keller with the West Virginia Wilderness Coalition says when Congress starts up again, West Virginia's delegation has a chance to give wilderness protection to key areas of the Monongahela National Forest. He says volunteers from around the state have brought those protections close to reality, but more West Virginians need to help by getting involved.

"It's not just about us; it's not just about this current generation that's able to go out and enjoy these places. We need to make a resolution to make sure these places are around for future generations."

Places under consideration for federal wilderness designation include the Big Draft and Spice Run areas at the southern end of the forest, and the scenic Roaring Plains area in the north. Also on the list is the Seneca Creek area in Pendleton and Randolph counties, a top haven for trout fishing.

Keller says in addition to boosting the quality of life for West Virginians, protecting wilderness has a real economic payoff for the state.

"It's a draw, not just for tourism, but for people who want to live and stay, and relocate and bring businesses, to really help the economy grow and thrive."

Rob Ferrett/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - WV