Breaking News: Cheat River Canyon Purchased and Protected!
Thanks to the tireless work of The Nature Conservancy and The Conservation Fund over 3,800 acres of the Cheat River Canyon have been protected. The two groups purchased the land from Forestland Group to protect the spectacular scenic and natural values of the landscape. The acquisition covers a 7 mile stretch of the Cheat River between Albright and the high bridge at Jenkinsburg, the famous “Cheat Canyon” whitewater run. Funding was a collaborative effort, requiring grants from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the WV Outdoor Heritage Conservation Fund and with private funding from the Nature Conservancy. The land will be transferred to state ownership over the next few years.
The Cheat River is one of the most ecologically intact rivers in the Central Appalachia. There are no dams on the main stem and none of the watershed’s major tributaries are dammed. While the river once suffered from severe acid mine drainage, restoration efforts have made great improvements in recent years. The diverse hardwood forests of the Cheat Canyon have long been a conservation priority. The Cheat Canyon is home to the threatened flat-spired three-toothed land snail and the endangered Indiana bat and is home to a wide variety of familiar animals like deer, black bears and bobcats.
Long-time Cheat River paddler Charlie Walbridge offered this reflection: “The Cheat Canyon is West Virginia's best-kept secret, a wilder, more remote version of the New River Gorge. This purchase is a major milestone in protecting an outstanding outdoor resource for West Virginians and visitors to enjoy.”