New River Gorge National River
The New River Gorge National River is a unit of the United States National Park Service designed to protect and maintain the New River Gorge in southern West Virginia. Established in 1978, the NPS-protected area stretches for 53 miles from just downstream of Hinton to Hawks Nest State Park near Ansted. New River Gorge is home to some of the country's best whitewater rafting; the focus of this rafting is in the New River Gorge from the Cunard put-in to the Fayette Station take-out. The river levels for the New River Gorge can be checked at American Whitewater. New River Gorge is one of the most popular climbing areas on the east coast with over 1,400 established rock climbs; the cliffs at "The New" are located just below the rim of the gorge and are made up of a hard Nuttall sandstone. The rock is featured, an abundance of crack and face routes, with occasional large roofs. All climbs are one pitch long and range from 30 to 120 feet in height; the majority of the routes in the gorge are for advanced climbers in 5.10-5.12 range of the Yosemite Decimal System with about an equal number of traditional and sport climbs.
New River Gorge National River was established in 1978 as a unit of the national park system. Located in the Appalachian Mountains of southern West Virginia, the park encompasses over 72,808 acres of land along 53 miles of the New River from Bluestone Dam to Hawks Nest State Park. A rugged, white water river, flowing northward through deep canyons, the New River is among the oldest rivers on the continent; the park is rich in cultural and natural history and offers an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities. President Jimmy Carter signed legislation establishing New River Gorge National River on November 10, 1978; as stated in the legislation, the park was established as a unit of the national park system "for the purpose of conserving and interpreting outstanding natural and historic values and objects in and around the New River Gorge and preserving as a free-flowing stream an important segment of the New River in West Virginia for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations."
Flowing water is the creative force shaping the geologic features of the New River Gorge as the river continues to sculpt the longest and deepest river gorge in the Appalachian Mountains. On display in the gorge one can find a variety of unique geologic features and processes that exemplify the geology of the Appalachian Plateau, including the exposure of over 1,000 feet of sandstone and shale, house-sized boulders scattered from rim to river and invertebrate fossils, steep channel drop-offs; the river has exposed four seams of coal, considered among the best bituminous coal in the world. The smokeless New River coal once fed the boilers of the nation's trains, factories and power plants, its coke fueled the nation's iron furnaces; the waters of the New River system contain a mosaic of hydrologic features and aquatic habitats that support a unique aquatic ecosystem and nourish a riparian zone that supports rare plants and communities. The waters provide a surprising variety and density of riverine hydrologic features and processes unparalleled in the Eastern United States, including pools, glides, shoals, torrents, chutes and waterfalls.
The river is a productive aquatic ecosystem that includes distinct populations of native fish, crayfish, a broad array of other aquatic life, including rare amphibians, reptiles and mammals. The riparian zone is the most biologically diverse part of the park, contains globally rare communities and essential habitat for several rare species; the New River is a dynamic aquatic ecosystem that supports smallmouth bass and other game fish, crayfish, other invertebrates, aquatic plants. New River Gorge National River lies at the core of a globally significant forest containing the most diverse flora of any river gorge in central and southern Appalachia and provides essential habitat for endangered mammals and rare birds and amphibians; the park contains habitats of continuous forest and rimrock, forest seeps and wetlands, mature bottomland forests, abandoned mine portals. New River Gorge offers shelter to at least 63 species of mammals including the endangered Virginia big-eared and Indiana bats.
The river, stream tributaries, forest provide habitat for 48 known species of amphibians including the eastern hellbender, black-bellied salamander, cave salamander. Diverse populations of birds such as wood warblers and thrushes spend part of their lives in the tropics but depend upon the unfragmented forests of the New River Gorge for breeding; the region is a vital link in the north-south migratory flyway. Each year, thousands of hawks fly across the region during the fall migratory season; the National Park Service and West Virginia Department of Natural Resources have initiated a multi-year program to restore peregrine falcons to New River Gorge. These majestic birds dive near the cliffs. Forty different plant communities containing at least 1,342 species and 54 rare plants have been identified in the gorge. Within the gorge is a wealth of significant abandoned places, some in ruins and some stabilized and rehabilitated, where people worked and lived during the late 18th and 19th centuries, supplying the coal and lumber that helped fuel American industry.
Remnants of the park's past, hidden in th
West Virginia State Police
The West Virginia State Police is a state law enforcement agency in the United States that provides police services to the residents of West Virginia. It is the fourth oldest state police agency and was created in the second extraordinary session of the West Virginia Legislature on June 19, 1919 as a result of uprisings surrounding organized labor in the coal and mine industries. Governor John Jacob Cornwell was insistent upon having a State Police force which he said, "was mandatory in order for him to uphold the laws of our state." Part of the compromise was the name of the organization: "West Virginia Department of Public Safety" was the official name until 1995 when the name was changed to "West Virginia State Police" during the legislative session. Like other state law enforcement agencies, West Virginia troopers enforce traffic laws statewide, investigate crimes and protect the governor and his immediate family; the superintendent of the West Virginia State Police is Colonel Jan Cahill with Lieutenant Colonel Dwayne Bowles and Major Vince Deeds serving under Colonel Cahill West Virginia State Police troopers wear a forest-green uniform and campaign hat.
They receive their training at the West Virginia State Police Academy located in Institute, a suburb of Charleston, near the agency's headquarters in South Charleston. Upon appointment, cadets undergo an intense training program at the State Police Academy; the West Virginia State Police runs its own forensic laboratory and provide scientific investigation services to law enforcement agencies across the state. Services offered to criminal justice agencies include biochemistry, firearm investigations, latent prints, questioned documents and trace evidence; the crime lab is accredited by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board. The West Virginia Division of Criminal Justice Services is responsible for setting minimum physical ability standards for police officers working in the state. In 2007, following a national trend, it relaxed the physical ability standards for aspiring police officers. Right now, any police applicant must do at least 27 push-ups/minute, 29 sit-ups/minute and be able to run 1.5 miles in a maximum time limit of 14 minutes 53 seconds.
The State Police, chose not to follow those standards unlike most local police agencies in West Virginia. The agency's recruiters still require applicants to perform at least 27 push-ups/minute, 29 sit-ups/minute and those same applicants have to run 1.5 miles in no more than 14 minutes 52 seconds, which were all the initial minimum requirements for all police departments in West Virginia. Training at the paramilitary academy lasts about 25 weeks compared to about 16 weeks for officers from other departments; when cadets graduate, they are promoted to the rank of "Trooper." They can be stationned anywhere in the 55 West Virginia counties working from detachments. They serve an eighteen-month probationary period. After completing that probationary period, they are eligible to receive an associate degree in police sciences through the Marshall Technical and Community College program; the State Police has struggled with staffing issues for many years and the problem seems to persist due to lack of funding to increase the number of road troopers.
As of 2013, the agency employed well above 600 sworn officers, making it de facto the largest law enforcement agency in the state. The State Police is relied upon to assist in many of the 55 West Virginia counties. In September 2013, news organizations started reporting a new initiative from the agency to increase manpower; the Accelerated Cadet Program targets local West Virginia police officers who want to join the State Police. Once hired, such officers would train for only 11 weeks instead of the 25 weeks normal cadets go through; the State Police is and has been the only agency to operate a law enforcement academy in West Virginia. It trains its own troopers but all other law enforcement officers from the state: sheriff deputies and college police officers, motor carrier enforcement officers who, unlike in some states, are not part of the State Police but have their own separate agency. State Police vehicles are composed of a variety of makes with blue and gold colors accompanied by the agency's logo on the side front doors.
For many years, the agency has used Ford Crown Victorias for the road. In recent years however, State Police has phased in Chevy Impalas and the new Ford Police Interceptor and Police Interceptor Utility into its fleet; the agency uses unmarked vehicles that are assigned to command staff members. Vehicles are equipped with blue LED lights. Troopers are issued the.45 ACP Smith & Wesson 4566TSW, a version of the Smith & Wesson Model 4506. It has a bobbed blue metal finish; each WVSP 4566TSW has the agency shoulder patch engraved. Each Trooper is issued an attachable flashlight; as of December 2018, Troopers are now using Glock 17 GEN 5 9mm handguns which were purchased earlier this year. Cabinet Secretary Superintendent of the State Police Deputy Superintendent Executive Services Media Relations Unit Personnel Unit Medical Unit Staff Services Accounting Unit Communications Unit Criminal Records Unit Forensic Laboratory Planning and Research Unit Procurement Unit Promotional Standards Unit Traffic Records Unit Training Academy Uniform Crime Reporting Unit Professional Standards Legal Services Field Operations Field Troops 1 - 8 Bureau of Criminal Investigations Regional Offices 1 - 6 Investigative Support Services Insurance Fraud Unit Polygraph Unit Drug Diversion Unit Marijuana Eradication Digital Forensics
Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park
Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park is a state park located on Blennerhassett Island, a small island in the Ohio River, located in Wood County, West Virginia, USA. The property was the site of a Palladian mansion owned by Harman Blennerhassett, a participant in some of the alleged intrigues of Aaron Burr, his wife Margaret Agnew. While the original mansion burned to the ground long ago, a detailed replica, which can be toured, has been built on its foundations; the Blennerhasset mansion resembled George Washington's Mount Vernon, due to its Palladian style. The park is accessed via sternwheeler riverboat from Point Park on 2nd Street in Parkersburg, West Virginia; the riverboat ride takes about 20 minutes each way. The Blennerhasset Museum of Regional History operates in conjunction with the state park; the Museum is located two blocks from the riverboat landing at the corner of 2nd and Juliana Streets. Exhibits focus on the regional history of west and central West Virginia, include household furnishings, art and prehistoric Native American tools, jewelry and items.
Admission is separate from the park. Horsedrawn carriage rides Restored 1802 Putnam-Houser House Gift shop Picnic shelters Bicycle rentals Hiking West Virginia University assessed the park's accessibility to the disabled in 2005, rated its facilities as "accessible" by the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Blennerhassett Island Bridge List of West Virginia state parks Official website Cajoe Phillips, a former slave of the Blennerhassett Island Plantation
Big Draft Wilderness
The Big Draft Wilderness is a 5,144-acre U. S. Wilderness area in the Monongahela National Forest of southeast West Virginia, USA, its name derives from the nearby Big Draft, a tributary of Anthony Creek, a tributary of the Greenbrier River. Big Draft Wilderness occupies the southern-most acreage of the Monongahela National Forest and is located just south of the Blue Bend Recreation Area; the town White Sulphur Springs lies about 5 miles south of the Wilderness and about 15 miles northeast of Lewisburg. The Big Draft Wilderness is located in Greenbrier County; the Wilderness is drained by the Greenbrier River's Anthony Creek and its tributaries Big Draft and Laurel Creek. The Greenbrier River flows into the New River at West Virginia; the New River flows into a tributary of the Ohio River. The Wilderness is located a part of the Appalachian Mountains chain; the highest point in the Wilderness is along Greenbrier Mountain at 3,121 feet near the southern boundary of the Wilderness Area. The lowest elevation in the Wilderness is at 1,800 feet along the Greenbrier River at the mouth of Anthony Creek where it exits the Wilderness.
The Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 created the 5,144 acres Big Draft Wilderness. This area is located between Anthony Creek and the southern boundary of the Monongahela National Forest, it protects Anthony Creek watershed, a popular trout stream. The hiking trails are part of the extensive Monongahela National Forest trail system. Blue Bend Trail - 5.0 miles Anthony Creek Trail - 3.8 miles South Boundary Trail - 4.8 miles List of U. S. Wilderness Areas Wilderness Act Big Draft Wilderness map Wilderness.net TopoQuest topographic map West Virginia Wilderness Coalition
West Virginia State Wildlife Center
The West Virginia State Wildlife Center is a zoological park in French Creek, West Virginia. Operated by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, the Wildlife Center displays many of West Virginia's wildlife, including both native and introduced species. A few of the animals at the Wildlife Center were once found in West Virginia, but were extirpated by the early 1900s; the Wildlife Center comprises 338 acres and displays 29 different species of West Virginia mammals and reptiles, which are located along a 1.25-mile trail through a mature hardwood forest. The animal exhibits are spacious chain-link enclosures within an actual West Virginian forest, which allows the animals to interact with the environment and behave in more natural ways than one would see in most other zoos that attempt to recreate the environment; the Wildlife Center receives about 50,000 visitors per year. By the early 20th century, many of West Virginia's major fauna were either extirpated or driven dangerously close to extirpation due to uncontrolled habitat loss and overhunting.
By 1911, many of the state's most common large mammals, such as elk, bison and mountain lions, had been eradicated. Animals that are common in the state today, such as the white-tailed deer and wild turkey, were nearly wiped out by uncontrolled habitat loss and hunting. Growing concerns for West Virginia's wildlife led the state's government to create the French Creek Game Farm in 1923, where native West Virginian wildlife could be bred and reintroduced back into the wild. Ecologists learned that animals bred in captivity lack the instincts that are necessary to survive in the wild, so the reintroduction projects were discontinued, but the Game Farm remained open as a popular tourist attraction; the Game Farm remained popular because it allowed people to see animals that no longer existed in the state, because many of the animals displayed at the Game Farm are too elusive to be seen in the wild though several of the species are found near people's houses. In 1986, the French Creek Game Farm was renamed the West Virginia State Wildlife Center.
Today, the Wildlife Center serves to educate visitors about West Virginia's wildlife of the past and present and about the history of wildlife conservation. In addition to animal exhibits, the Wildlife Center possesses a gift shop. Future projects include an educational center, an auditorium, a nocturnal animal exhibit, reptile exhibits, aquatic mammal exhibits, an aviary, an aquarium; the West Virginia Wildlife Center is located about 12 miles south of Buckhannon on WV 20, at the intersection of WV 20 and Alexander Road known to some locally as "the Game Farm road," referencing the previous name of the facility. To reach the Wildlife Center, take WV 20 from Buckhannon turn onto Alexander Road; the entrance will be on the right after about 1/4 mile. Fauna of West Virginia List of mammals of West Virginia List of birds of West Virginia List of reptiles of West Virginia List of amphibians of West Virginia List of fishes of West Virginia Official website
Audra State Park
Audra State Park is a West Virginia state park located on 355 acres in southwestern Barbour County. It was established around the remnants of an early 19th-century gristmill and the tiny community of Audra. A gristmill spillway is still visible in the river; the park is a secondary forest area bisected by the Middle Fork River. The deep pools, flat rocks, riverside beach have provided generations of campers, local teens and college students a place to swim or work on their tans. Audra State Park is the site of Alum Cave, accessible by a boardwalk built along this overhanging sandstone ledge; the park serves as the put-in point for a 6.6 mile kayak run along about 2.8 miles the Middle Fork River and about 3.8 miles of the Tygart Valley River to the confluence of the latter with the Buckhannon River. 67 camp sites Swimming in the Middle Fork River Hiking trails Kayaking in the Middle Fork River Picnic area Accessibility for the disabled was assessed by West Virginia University. The assessment found the campground, picnic area, park offices to be accessible.
The main swimming hole, with wet, slippery rocks and unpaved approaches is not considered accessible. List of West Virginia state parks Official website
West Virginia is a state located in the Appalachian region in the Southern United States, considered to be a part of the Middle Atlantic States. It is bordered by Pennsylvania to the north, Maryland to the east and northeast, Virginia to the southeast, Kentucky to the southwest, Ohio to the northwest. West Virginia is the 41st largest state by area, is ranked 38th in population; the capital and largest city is Charleston. West Virginia became a state following the Wheeling Conventions of 1861, after the American Civil War had begun. Delegates from some Unionist counties of northwestern Virginia decided to break away from Virginia, although they included many secessionist counties in the new state. West Virginia was admitted to the Union on June 20, 1863, was a key border state during the war. West Virginia was the only state to form by separating from a Confederate state, the first to separate from any state since Maine separated from Massachusetts, was one of two states admitted to the Union during the American Civil War.
While a portion of its residents held slaves, most of the residents were yeomen farmers, the delegates provided for gradual abolition of slavery in the new state Constitution. The Census Bureau and the Association of American Geographers classify West Virginia as part of the Southern United States; however the Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies West Virginia as a part of the Mid-Atlantic. The northern panhandle extends adjacent to Pennsylvania and Ohio, with the West Virginia cities of Wheeling and Weirton just across the border from the Pittsburgh metropolitan area, while Bluefield is less than 70 miles from North Carolina. Huntington in the southwest is close to the states of Ohio and Kentucky, while Martinsburg and Harpers Ferry in the Eastern Panhandle region are considered part of the Washington metropolitan area, in between the states of Maryland and Virginia; the unique position of West Virginia means that it is included in several geographical regions, including the Mid-Atlantic, the Upland South, the Southeastern United States.
It is the only state, within the area served by the Appalachian Regional Commission. The state is noted for its mountains and rolling hills, its significant logging and coal mining industries, its political and labor history, it is known for a wide range of outdoor recreational opportunities, including skiing, whitewater rafting, hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, hunting. Many ancient man-made earthen mounds from various prehistoric mound builder cultures survive in the areas of present-day Moundsville, South Charleston, Romney; the artifacts uncovered in these give evidence of village societies. They had a tribal trade system culture. In the 1670s during the Beaver Wars, the powerful Iroquois, five allied nations based in present-day New York and Pennsylvania, drove out other American Indian tribes from the region in order to reserve the upper Ohio Valley as a hunting ground. Siouan language tribes, such as the Moneton, had been recorded in the area. A century the area now identified as West Virginia was contested territory among Anglo-Americans as well, with the colonies of Pennsylvania and Virginia claiming territorial rights under their colonial charters to this area before the American Revolutionary War.
Some speculative land companies, such as the Vandalia Company, the Ohio Company and Indiana Company, tried to legitimize their claims to land in parts of West Virginia and present day Kentucky, but failed. This rivalry resulted in some settlers petitioning the Continental Congress to create a new territory called Westsylvania. With the federal settlement of the Pennsylvania and Virginia border dispute, creating Kentucky County, Kentuckians "were satisfied, the inhabitants of a large part of West Virginia were grateful."The Crown considered the area of West Virginia to be part of the British Virginia Colony from 1607 to 1776. The United States considered this area to be the western part of the state of Virginia from 1776 to 1863, before the formation of West Virginia, its residents were discontented for years with their position in Virginia, as the government was dominated by the planter elite of the Tidewater and Piedmont areas. The legislature had electoral malapportionment, based on the counting of slaves toward regional populations, the western white residents were underrepresented in the state legislature.
More subsistence and yeoman farmers lived in the west and they were less supportive of slavery, although many counties were divided on their support. The residents of this area became more divided after the planter elite of eastern Virginia voted to secede from the Union during the Civil War. Residents of the western and northern counties set up a separate government under Francis Pierpont in 1861, which they called the Restored Government. Most voted to separate from Virginia, the new state was admitted to the Union in 1863. In 1864 a state constitutional convention drafted a constitution, ratified by the legislature without putting it to popular vote. West Virginia abolished slavery by a gradual process and temporarily disenfranchised men who had held Confederate office or fought for the Confederacy. West Virginia's history has been profoundly affected by its mountainous terrain and vast river valleys, rich natural resources; these were all factors driving its economy and the lifestyles of its residents, who tended to live in many small isolated communities in the mountain valleys.
A 2010 analysis of