Published Apr 27, 2015
A celebration was held on Friday, April 24, 2015, over the purchase, preservation and protection of 317-acres of land known as "the Campbell property" along the Appalachian Trail -- including the natural "viewshed" from Spy Rock scenic overlook -- within George Washington-Jefferson National Forests in Nelson County, Virginia.
The high-elevation landscape was owned by one of the first families to settle in Nelson County. The Campbells cultivated the land and farmed it for more than a century. This unique acquisition will be managed by the Forest Service for the benefit of golden-winged warblers, brook trout and other species; including people, for hunting, fishing and other outdoor recreation.
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Under Secretary Arthur "Butch" Blazer joined representatives of The Conservation Fund and the U.S. Forest Service for the ceremony. The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) helped pay for the vital purchase of the Campbell property that will protect this irreplaceable national treasure.
Butch Blazer said, "This is why the Land and Water Conservation Fund is so important. By working with the landowners who want to see this land protected, we are continuing the Campbell family's conservation ethic, and preserving clean drinking water with the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The view enjoyed by thousands of Appalachian Trail hikers will remain untouched for future generations."
With help from the National Park Service, the Conservation Fund purchased the Campbell property in May 2014 and conveyed it to the Forest Service, which prioritized this project for funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
Blazer said that the Land and Water Conservation Fund takes a small portion of the money collected from oil and gas development in federal offshore waters and invests it into conservation and recreation projects for the benefit of all Americans. The Fund will expire in September unless Congress votes to reauthorize it. If it is not reauthorized, local communities could be left without a critical source of funding for critically important local projects such as the Campbell property.
Blazer said the addition of this land, which is almost completely surrounded by the National Forest, not only enhances Forest Service management, it also ensures that the nearby freshwater system of Louisa Spring Branch, suitable for brook trout, will continue to improve. The property holds the potential to also be culturally significant, with previous discoveries of numerous early American artifacts.
According to Butch Blazer, the Land and Water Conservation Fund takes a small portion of the money collected from oil and gas development in federal offshore waters and invests it into conservation and recreation projects for the benefit of all Americans. The Fund will expire in September unless Congress votes to reauthorize it. If it is not reauthorized, local communities could be left without a critical source of funding for critically important local projects such as the one we celebrate today.
The Forest Service's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.
The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world.
The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80% of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S.
Tags: Attractions, Appalachian Trail, News, US Forest Service, and Conservation
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