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WV Congressional Delegation Teams Up for Wilderness

January 30, 2008

Charleston, WV – West Virginia's Congressional delegation is making a pitch for wilderness protection in the state. In legislation announced Tuesday, the state's three representatives called for federal wilderness designations for a number of West Virginia wild areas.

Matt Keller with the West Virginia Wilderness Coalition says that if it is signed into law, the bipartisan plan would provide key protections to keep the wild areas intact for future generations to enjoy.

"Not only will they be protected into the future, but they also will be kept open for West Virginians to enjoy, whether that be through hiking or camping or hunting and fishing, wilderness areas provide ideal places for this to happen."

He says he'd like to see a few more key areas added to the wilderness legislation, including a large part of the Roaring Plains area and the East Fork Greenbrier river area in Pocahontas County.

Robert Bittner with the Mountaineer chapter of Trout Unlimited says wilderness protections will help keep in place the trees and soil that are crucial to the survival of wild brook trout, and he says that can bring an economic boost to the state's tourism and sporting industries.

"The big draw to almost any area, if you look at where people go and are willing to spend money, is the presence of a wild experience and wild native fish. These wilderness areas provide that kind of an experience."

He says one of the best fishing spots in the state didn't make the list of protected areas in the proposed legislation – Seneca Creek in Pendleton County. He's hoping that gets added in.

Rob Ferrett/Eric Mack, Public News Service - WV