Today, U.S. Representative David McKinley (R-WV), joined U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) in announcing that West Virginia will receive funds through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for seven projects to address deferred maintenance in the Monongahela National Forest, improve infrastructure, increase user access and support rural economies. This funding was made available through the Great American Outdoors Act, which was introduced by Senator Manchin and cosponsored by Senator Capito and Representative McKinley. Enacted in 2020, the historic legislation provided $9.5 billion over 5 years in annual allotments to address the deferred maintenance backlog on our country's public lands.
"Making investments that preserve the natural beauty of our state means visitors and West Virginians can enjoy outdoor recreation for years to come and supports the tourism industry in rural communities. This funding will ensure necessary repairs are made to the Dolly Sods Wilderness bridge ensuring public access to the Monongahela National Forest, and will enhance the campgrounds in the area, which means more visitors to our state and return trips year after year, growing our local economy and creating jobs," said Representative McKinley.
"When Congress overwhelmingly passed my bipartisan Great American Outdoors Act, it was an acknowledgment of our strong commitment to protect and preserve our public lands so that future generations can enjoy them as we have. I'm pleased to see USDA Secretary Vilsack's continued commitment to implementing this historic legislation, and I look forward to working together to ensure the wild and wonderful parts of West Virginia are protected for generations to come," said Senator Manchin.
"The Monongahela National Forest is a point of pride in our state," Senator Capito said. "With over 900,000 acres stretching across 10 of our counties, the forest provides an incredibly unique adventure that attracts visitors from around the world. That's why it's so important that we do what we can to improve its infrastructure, facilitate additional recreation opportunities, and protect this distinctive stretch of mountains for years to come. This funding will support initiatives that repair bridges, hiking trails, and campgrounds, while also improving access to the forest and enhancing the experience it cultivates."
To view a list of approved West Virginia deferred maintenance projects:
* Cranberry Wilderness - Public Access Project - Bridge Replacement over Williams River at Tea Creek (Pocahontas County)
* Shavers Fork of the Cheat - Public Access and Habitat Improvement Project - Culvert Replacement and Bridge Construction on Forest Road 209 (Randolph County)
* Lake Sherwood Campground -- Outdoor Recreation Project -- Campground Rehabilitation (Greenbrier County)
* Marlinton/White Sulphur District - Habitat Improvement Project - Culvert Replacement on Forest Road 296 and 298 in Laurel Run and 999 in Williams River (Greenbrier and Pocahontas County)
* Cranberry Wilderness Area - Public Access Project - Bridge Replacement at Tumbling Rock Run along * Cranberry River (Nicholas and Pocahontas County)
* Dolly Sods Wilderness - Public Access Project - Bridge Replacement over Red Creek (Grant, Randolph and Tucker County)
* Tea Creek - Public Access Project - Mountain Trail Improvements (Grant, Greenbrier, Pocahontas, Randolph and Tucker County)