Letters to the Editor
Would like to let you know how much I miss your great county.
I was raised at Stony Bottom in the 30s, 40s and 50s. I went to grade school one year in Stony Bottom then to Cass grade school and at last to Green Bank High School where I played football with Bruce Bosley, Bub Sutton, the Cassels, and so on.
I spent 20 years in the Air Force, worked on the sawmill in Cass for a short time as well as in the coal mines near Marlinton.
I have lived in Troy, Ohio, since 1972, but I would like to wish all you fine folks a great Christmas and New Year.
I have been to at least seven countries and none of them compare to Pocahontas County.
Donald L. McLaughlin
A series of public meetings will be held in early 2013 to gain local citizen input and continue the collaborative Birthplace of Rivers National Monument initiative. As this process continues, it is so important that we have the correct information about what a National Monument would mean. While monument advocates are confident we can craft an inclusive proposal that works for everyone, there are several very legitimate concerns that must be addressed. Pocahontas County commissioners recently made a good move by asking for clarification about some questions and concerns that have surfaced.
In a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the agency which houses the Forest Service, the commission took an important step in making sure we are working with the correct information and have necessary assurances that management does not transfer to the Park Service, and our rich outdoor traditions will continue in perpetuity. When the commission passed a resolution this summer, they did so, not as a blanket statement of support, but as a way to come to the table and have a say in what the monument would become if it were created. The questions in the commission’s letter reflect real, legitimate concerns, which were addressed in key provisions of the county’s resolution: Would a monument designated on Forest Service lands still be managed by the Forest Service? Would hunting, fishing, trout stocking and wildlife management continue? Would a public process be followed leading up to potential monument designation?
I hope the agency responds to the commission in a timely manner, and I hope this information will be helpful in creating a stronger sense of common ground as a more public process approaches. As Mountaineers, our outdoor traditions connect us, and the Birthplace of Rivers initiative focuses on preserving areas where these traditions can continue, not on limiting our access to hunting, fishing or trapping, which have sustained Appalachian people throughout history.
Like so many of my fellow West Virginians, I followed in my grandparent’s footsteps and became a sportsman on this very landscape, spending many weekends and countless hours on the Cranberry, Cherry and Williams Rivers. It’s a common story in the Mountain State, one I hope my children and grandchildren can one day share, as well. My connections to these lands are deep, and just like fellow advocates who see the potential Birthplace of Rivers National Monument as a local economic opportunity, a source of state pride and a chance to honor our strong cultural legacy, I understand the importance of maintaining the same sporting opportunities I once discovered here. In this ongoing process, it is vital that West Virginians from diverse backgrounds come together to define a vision for this landscape, so we can realize the diverse, lasting benefits monument advocates hope to achieve, while ensuring sporting traditions remain cornerstone activities in the area.
I urge everyone to keep an eye out for upcoming meeting times, and I invite everyone to participate in the process to help further refine the citizen proposal. In addition to the many unique features Birthplace of Rivers aims to serve as a tribute to, I hope our shared heritage, connection to the landscape and strong sense of community emerge from this process as characteristics West Virginians can be most proud of.