Letters to the Editor
Surely it cannot have escaped everyone’s notice that of the 21 National Honor Society inductees pictured on page six of the latest edition of The Pocahontas Times only four were boys.
Perhaps moving fifth graders back to elementary schools will propel some of the boys among them to achieve – in the words of Superintendent C.C. Lester – the “optimal goal to encourage their untainted academic view and help promote their choices that pertain to social norms and academic expectations”.
That sounds like just what they need: sound pedagogical thinking to get back on track.
After reading a recent letter by Hillsboro’s Devin McCoy about the Birthplace of Rivers National Monument, I strongly felt the need to respond.
Unfortunately, there are intentional misconceptions about what a National Monument would mean for our outdoor traditions, and I’m afraid Mr. McCoy’s letter only reinforced those myths.
Like many West Virginians, I have only been able to hunt on our state and federal public lands, and I’ve spent many years volunteering with programs that connect youth and military veterans to our great outdoors, introducing new sportsmen to hunting and fishing via programs like Project Healing Waters and Sierra Club’s Mission Outdoors. I am also on the board of the West Virginia Wilderness Coalition (WVWC) because continuing our sporting traditions and preserving the lands where those traditions are enjoyed go hand-in-hand.
I can assure readers in Pocahontas County that WVWC would never support a designation that threatened West Virginians’ ability to hunt on the Monongahela National Forest. We advocate for a monument designation that will stay with the Forest Service, with wildlife and fisheries management under the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, preserving special lands where hunting and fishing will continue in perpetuity. Instead of curbing our freedoms, monument designation helps ensure this cherished land will always be available for these activities, because some of our richest backcountry areas and six trout-heavy watersheds will enjoy stronger, more permanent protected status.
I’ve worked on many public lands issues before, so I have a great deal of respect for Mr. McCoy and others who have concerns about the future of the Monongahela National Forest. After all, the Monongahela National Forest is land that belongs to every single one of us as American citizens, and we should all be concerned about its future. What I find especially problematic with Mr. McCoy’s letter, however, is his statement that monument supporters do not want to talk about uses such as hunting or the role of the State of West Virginia with regard to wildlife management. In fact, everyone is talking about it, and supporting organizations such as WVWC and Trout Unlimited have issued official position statements reflecting a shared desire for hunting, fishing and state control of fish and wildlife management to continue.
This flexible management scenario would absolutely be the case under monument designation, as was confirmed in a letter the Pocahontas County Commission recently received from the Chief of the U.S. Forest Service. Mr. McCoy is correct when he states the need to evaluate the facts without bias.
National Monument status is unfamiliar to West Virginians, so we need to continue a process to make sure we know the facts, and we must ensure the designation works for all who are willing to work together in a constructive manner. Participating in the conversation, providing concerns and feedback strengthens our mutual understanding and will hone our final proposal, but deliberately presenting worst-case concerns as fact only perpetuates misinformation and does little to foster constructive conversation about the issues at hand.
Vice Chair West Virginia
In response to the letters sent in to The Pocahontas Times week before last about the National Monument, I was shocked to read where a few imports into our county bad mouthed our local commissioners.
No matter what comes up, it’s always the same ones who have their noses in the middle of everything that is going on.
As for what Joel Rosenthal said he was promised, I won’t speak for David [Fleming] or Dolan [Irvine], but I will promise the citizens of Pocahontas County one thing – Jamie Walker promised Joel Rosenthal absolutely nothing.
I was born in Pocahontas County and have lived here 63 years, with the exception of the two years I gave Uncle Sam in the Army.
I love Pocahontas County and before I would try to change what our forefathers left here for us - like a few always want to change - I would just pack up and move on.
I would like to thank the commissioners for supporting the local people that made Pocahontas County what it is today.
My Point of View,