Otter Creek Wilderness – A Beautiful West Virginia Adventure

West Virginia’s Otter Creek Wilderness sits between Shavers Mountain and McGowan Mountain. Otter Creeks forms a valley and this is where most of the wilderness area is located. The wilderness area has 42 miles of hiking trails. The longest trail is Otter Creek Trail which is 11 miles.

The original wilderness area was 20,000 acres and was designated in 1917 when the U.S. Forest Service purchased the land as part of the national forest system. Another 698 acres of land were added to the Otter Creek Wilderness in 2009 by the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act.

The Otter Creek Boom and Lumber Company heavily logged the area from 1897 to 1914. Even after the designation, the area was again logged from 1968 to 1972 before it was officially named a wilderness area.

This wilderness area is home to one of West Virginia’s largest black bear populations. Hikers must keep a cautious eye out for these beautiful, but potentially dangerous animals. This is a truly remote backcountry hiking or camping experience. When in doubt, you might want to try the West Coast like in California.

There are pristine areas for campers, hikers, cross-country skiers, and hunters to find recreation and enjoy the beauty of nature. There are also 45 miles of rugged, unmarked remote trails. Most of these trails meander along the creek. here are also timber rattlers which means hikers should be very careful when stepping into the tall grass.

Camping is allowed along the banks of Otter Creek and the area is popular with visitors who enjoy the chutes, waterfalls, and pools. Waterfalls range from three feet to ten feet high. There are also swirling rapids and tranquil pools. The camp site is first come-first served and is large for two tents. There is a second camp site a bit down the creek.

The area often gets rain and in the winter, several feet of snow. There is a possibility of frost, even in the summer, so campers and hikers should dress appropriately.

Visit Beautiful Mountain Lake Wilderness Area In West Virginia Today

Mountain Lake Wilderness area, named for the privately owned Mountain Lake, a private lake located nearby that is one of only two natural lakes in Virginia. Mountain Lake Wilderness area was created in 1984 when the United States Congress designated a wilderness area. Formed to preserve the unique features of this forest region and to provide protected habitat for its inhabitants, today it consists of a total of 16,525 acres, of which about 2721 acres are located in West Virginia.

Contained within the boundaries of the wilderness area is a highland plateau that is centered squarely over the Eastern Continental Divide. Elevations range from a low of about 2,200 feet and climb to over 4,000. The plateau itself is home to some of the most scenic areas of the forest, where isolated stands of hemlock and virgin spruce can be spotted, as well as a mountain bog and the ever popular War Spur Overlook.

Trails crisscross throughout the wilderness area, ranging from easy for beginning hikers to more difficult to keep advanced hikers entertained. From these trails you’ll be able to fully appreciate the delicate beauty of the state’s forests. If you tread lightly and keep a careful look out for them, you might be able to spot some of the more than 43 species of mammals and the 70+ species of birds that call Mountain Lake Wilderness Area their home, such as gray fox, wild turkey, beaver, winter wren, black-capped chickadee, and cerulean warblers.

To help manage and protect West Virginia’s 2721 acre portion of the wilderness area, the Mountain Lake Conservancy was formed. This non-profit organization also provides cultural and environmental opportunities for the public, and since 2008 it has managed and developed recreational opportunities for Mountain Lake Hotel guests and the local community.

The Dolly Sods Wilderness Area In West Virginia

The Dolly Sods Wilderness area is located in eastern West Virginia. The area is in the Monongahela National Forest in the Allegheny Mountains. The area contains some incredible sweeping vistas and the terrain is very rocky and mostly high-altitude plateau reminiscent of geology found in Canada.

In the northern part of the wilderness, the landscape is very distinctive and features wind-carved boulders, stunted trees, grassy meadows and heath barrens. Much of this landscape was created as a result of fires and logging, along with very old sphagnum bogs.

The southern part of the wilderness features a dense cove forest. The North Fork of Red Creek also runs through a branched cavern.

The name of this wilderness area comes from the Dahles, a German homesteading family, along with sods which is the local name for mountaintop meadows.

The Dolly Sods has almost 18,000 acres. The lower elevations consist of laurel thickets and northern hardwoods. In the higher elevations, there are heath barrens where mountain laurels, azaleas, blueberries and rhododendron grow. The landscape also features groves of red spruce stunted by the wind. There are many old sphagnum bogs where cranberries, moss, and sundew plants grow.

Visitors to the Wilderness can also see beaver ponds and walk more than 50 miles of trails. Most of these follow old logging roads and railroad grades.

The higher elevation of the Dolly Sods causes a cool climate and the wildlife is similar to that found in Canada. Also here are snowshoe hare, beaver, bobcats, foxes, black bear, timber rattlers, groundhogs, grouse and wild turkey. In the 1930s, white-tailed deer were re-introduced into the wilderness and are once again abundant.

Visitors to this wilderness area should leave no trace of their visit. While camping is allowed, it is carefully monitored to prevent damage to the environment. No live vegetation may be cut and no off-road vehicles are allowed in the area.

Facts About Cranberry Wilderness Located in West Virginia

Today we will talk about the Cranberry Wilderness in West Virginia. This wilderness is managed by the Forest Service. The map was designated by the United States Congress in the year of 1983. This stretch of wilderness covers 47,742 acres in the state of West Virginia. The Cranberry Wilderness is located in the Pocahontas and Webster Counties of the state. Cranberry Wilderness is known for its steep valleys as well as broad mountains, with elevations ranging from 2,400 feet to 4,600 feet and climbing. Its size makes it the largest wilderness in the eastern United States.

The Williams River forms the northern border of the Cranberry Wilderness, while the Southern Fork of the Cranberry River sits on the southwestern border of this wilderness. In the wilderness, you will find that most of the trees found in the Cranberry Wilderness consist of Appalachian hardwoods. You will also see some Red Spruce in the much higher elevations. Cranberry Wilderness is also contained in the Black Bear Sanctuary. Some of the wild animals that live in the wilderness include the White Tail Deer, the fox, rabbits, and many others. Due to the plant life of the wilderness, the water conditions are naturally acidic and this limits the fish population somewhat. Along the wilderness, there are some different hiking trails that are maintained by the West Virginia Wilderness Service.

If you love the outdoors and being within nature, we highly suggest checking out the beautiful Cranberry Wilderness to view some wonderful mountain landscape. This is a great tourist destination as well as a great place for the citizens of West Virginia to visit to see all of the glory of nature. You are sure to witness a lush amount of plant and animal life making this a great place for any and all photographers interested in taking some great mountain photographs.

Big Draft Wilderness Area – A West Virginia Adventure

In 2009, Congress designated a little more than 5,000 acres of West Virginia as the Big Draft Wilderness. This area is located in southeast West Virginia and is a part of the Monongahela National Forest. Big Draft comprises most of the southern part of the forest and the name comes from one of the Greenbrier River tributaries, Big Draft. The wilderness area is about five miles from White Sulfur Springs and near the Blue Bend Recreation Area.

The Big Draft is popular with hunters, hikers, anglers, and paddlers. There is a 14-mile trail system which is open to the public, including equestrians and hikers. The only exception is Blue Bend Loop which prohibits horses or any type of stock.

Wildlife is abundant in the area and includes black bear, wild turkey, whitetail deal, cottontail rabbit, grouse, and coyote.

The Big Draft was created under the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009. This is the smallest of the national wilderness areas in West Virginia. While not as well known as some of the other wilderness areas, it is very accessible for hikers.

The area contains just a few loops. The wilderness is accessed from Blue Bend Recreation Area. This is a great starting point because the recreation area includes 20 nice camp sites located on Anthony Creek. There is also a pavilion constructed by the CCC, warm showers and flush toilets. There is no fee to park and there are signs to the footbridge which spans Anthony Creek and takes hikers into the wilderness area. The early trails are easy to follow, although they are not well marked.

There are nice overlooks along the trails and the summit sits at about 1,000 feet in elevation. The trails are well-maintained and can get steep along the way.

Big Draft Wilderness Area is the newest wilderness area in West Virgina (not in Tennessee). Still, it offers nice trails and scenic views and is worth a visit.

The Endangered Species Act Of 1973 Works To Protect Endangered Animals And Plant Life

The Endangered Species Act was signed into law in 1973. It is considered by many, including conversation groups to be one of the most important and most effective environmental laws ever passed. This law protects animal species which are in danger of extinction. The Act is extremely popular among the American population and provides a safety net for plants, wildlife, fish, and insects. The Act has been upheld as constitutional by the Supreme Court.

In the early 1900s, the passenger pigeon disappeared from the earth. This extinction, along with the bison nearing extinction resulted in the formation of wildlife conservation in the United States. Conservation advocates introduced the concept of extinction to the public and the movement was born.

The Endangered Species Act has protected imperiled plants and wildlife for over 40 years. The Act has kept several of our nation’s treasures from extinction including the Florida manatee, the bald eagle, and the California condor. The Act has an amazing success rate. Of the more than 2,000 animals and plants protected under the Act, less than one percent have gone extinct.

The Act is also beneficial to people by helping maintain our natural resources. Much of the reason for our clean water and air is due to the Act’s requirements for protecting plant life and animals.

Unfortunately, even though Congress stepped up and showed global leadership in the fight to protect animals and plants from extinction, other countries have been slow to do the same. Throughout the world, there is an alarming rate of disappearing specifies. Over the last 200 years, scientists estimate more than 500 species have gone extinct.

The Endangered Species Act provides balanced solutions that pass the common sense test. When landowners, government agencies, and concerned citizens all do their part, we can protect our endangered wildlife as well as their habitats.

What Is The Clean Water Act And How Did It Come To Be?

This post is coming our good friend Ben Bronston, an environmentalist and lawyer in Corpus Christi, Texas. Since his town is on the water, he’s been advocate of keeping the water clean in his city. Check out his website:

The Clean Water Act (or CWA) is something of an amalgamation of multiple pieces of legislation involving the research and control of water pollution.The first CWA, called the Federal Water Pollution Act, was passed in 1948. In 1972 it was completely rewritten via legislation entitled Federal Water Pollution Act Amendment of 1972.

The major amendments to the Act are the Clean Water Act of 1977, and the Water Quality Act of 1987. It has not been directly amended since then, though there has been other legislation pertaining to water quality signed into law. Some notable ones are the Great Lakes Critical Programs Act of 1990 (a joint agreement between the United States and Canada), and the Safe Drinking Water Act. Newer laws that contradict parts of the Clean Water Act are generally judged to supersede the CWA, though not always depending on the situation and the judges involved.

The 1972 CWA was put into place in response to public outcry caused by an event in 1969. The Cuyahoga River, which flows into Lake Erie literally caught fire in that year, due to the level of toxic waste that had been dumped. While this had happened several times since 1868 (13, to be precise), the fire in 1969 was large and destructive enough for the public to demand the U.S. Government did something.

This outcry is why the 1972 CWA specifically makes it illegal to dump waste into lakes and rivers. It also gave the EPA the power to set regulatory standards.

The Clean Water Act has been largely successful in its goals. Lake Erie is no longer so toxic it can catch fire, and that’s just one example. Unfortunately, several laws involving water pollution have been rolled back in recent years, and several others are rarely enforced. These facts make it difficult to gauge how much effect the current CWA actually has.

What Is The History And Purpose Of The Clean Air Act?

Signed into law in 1963 by President Lyndon B. Johnson, the Clean Air Act is perhaps the most comprehensive air quality laws throughout the world. It was one of the first of such laws passed in the United States and has been the bedrock of many environmental laws since.

It’s not the very first, however. The first law that pertained to air pollution was the Air Pollution Control Act of 1955. Contrary to the name, it wasn’t about controlling air pollution. Instead, it devoted federal funds to the study of air pollution and its effects.

That said, it was the first legislation about actually controlling air pollution. This law remains in effect today, though it’s been amended multiple times to adjust the changing needs of environmental protection. The last time it was modified was in 1990.

The 1990 amendment, formulated in large part by William K. Reilly who was the EPA president at the time, did a number of things. At the time, it was discovered that the ozone layer was beginning to fall apart. Since that layer protects the Earth from UV rays (among other things), it was important to study ways to repair the problem. It also targeted acid rain, vehicle emissions, toxic air pollution, and set several federal standards for other types of gasoline emissions.

It also covered noise pollution, as it had been discovered that the problem could compound other environmental issues negatively. And perhaps most important, it allowed for civil suits. That is, it allowed citizens to sue companies in order to enforce federal statuettes. This gave citizens the opportunity to receive justice should a nearby business dump toxic waste or other harmful chemicals.

The Clean Air Act has not been updated since 1990, and many scientists are showing concern about the state of planet Earth at this point. Climate change is becoming a growing problem, and the act is due for another amendment. However, while there have been multiple amendments introduced, none of them have made it past committee let alone actually been voted on.

The National Environmental Policy Act Was The Start Of Federal Environmental Policy

The National Environmental Policy Act was first enacted in 1970 and was the first federal law designed to help protect the environment. The Act established the President’s Council on Environmental Quality. In the years leading up to the passage of the Act, many Americans were growing concerned about pollution and the impact on the environment, especially to those that live on Long Island. This Act directed all branches of the federal government to consider the impact to the environment before implementing any new legislation or starting any major federal actions.

Requirements under this Act are invoked when buildings, airports, highways, military complexes, parkland purchases or any other type of federal activity is proposed. An Environmental Impact Statement and an Environmental Assessment must be completed analyzing all courses of action for the impact on the environment.

Prior to this legislation, several bills designed to protect the environment had been presented to Congress. None had passed until a major oil spill occurred outside of Santa Barbara, CA. There were more than 3,500 birds killed and the damage to the environment was staggering. Other sea animals such as elephant seals and sea lions were also killed because of the oil spill and the impact on commercial fishing and tourism was devastating.

This oil spill, the 3rd largest in US history, was not the only reason for the National Environmental Policy Act, but is was certainly a considerable influence.

The Act does not specifically mandate environmental protections. Instead, it sets out environmental policy for the federal government and requires that an environmental analysis takes place when proposing any major federal project.

The end result of this Act is that it forces federal government agencies to factor in the impact to the environment when they are considering any major construction projects. The weakness of this Act is that it does not require federal agencies to reject a project, only to note the environmental impacts.

Discover The National Park Service Act

The National Park Service Act is one that a lot of people take advantage of each year. This is an act that was signed into law by Woodrow Wilson in 1916 and this is the same piece of legislation that would start the National Park Service as well as the Department of the Interior. So this is an act that did several things for people and it is the reason why there are national parks in place for everyone in America to enjoy.

The lands the act protects are the land that is inside of the national parks as deemed by the Department of Interior Secretary and approved by the President. These parks include Yellowstone, Great Smoky Mountains, and a host of other parks as well.

The punishments that are brought forth by the act have the same type of penalties that are brought forth under the penal code of the United States of America. So this is going to make it easier for people to know what kind of changes are made to the criminal law. Now something else that is interesting is the act does allow some parks to have their own local area type of laws in place as well to help prevent specific damage. For example, Dune Grass in Michigan is protected, but that would not apply in Yellowstone.

The National Park Service Act is an act that was passed by the United States House of Representatives in 1915, but it is an act that was put in place to protect the beauty that we all have come to love in the National Parks. These parks have become the envy of a lot of countries and it is easy to see why when people see just how beautiful the National Park System in America is.