The Heart of the Highlands Trail Project in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge, is proposing to develop a new north-south 2.3 or 2.9-mile multi-use trail in the western section of the Refuge, located in eastern Tucker County. The new trail, to be named after conservationist and late USFWS employee Chris Clower, will provide a direct and vital connection between Cortland Road and the Refuge’s existing Canaan Mountain Trail (known locally as the “Haul Road”) and the Camp 70 Road area. The new trail would be part of The Heart of the Highlands Trail System Project, the goal of which is to connect the non-motorized, multi-use trail systems of five public land agencies in Tucker County into a comprehensive and sustainable, multi-use trail system that is accessible to the public. The proposed trail will function as part of a 20-plus mile core loop that will connect existing trail systems on the partner properties of: Blackwater Falls State Park, Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Canaan Valley State Park, Little Canaan Wildlife Management Area, Monongahela National Forest and National Youth Science Foundation. Construction of the proposed trail will connect Cortland Road to the Refuge’s Canaan Mountain Trail. The Canaan Mountain Trail provides direct access to established trails on both the Refuge and on the Little Canaan Wildlife Management Area, including Hellbender Trail, Splash Dam South Trail, Shady Hollow Trail and the Camp 70 and Brown Mountain trails.

An environmental assessment on the proposed project has been completed and is available for public review for a period of 30 days. A copy is available at the U.S. FWS Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center/Administrative Office from September 9 – October 9, 2015, Monday-Friday from 7 a.m.-4 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Individuals with questions may contact the Refuge by calling 304-866-3858, ext. 26.

Additionally, a public meeting on the proposed trail project has been scheduled for Thursday, September 17, 2015 from 6 – 8 p.m. at the Canaan Valley Volunteer Fire Department. Individuals wishing to submit comments on the environmental assessment should provide written comments no later than Friday, October 9, to: Ron Hollis, Refuge Manager, Canaan Valley NWR, 6263 Appalachian Hwy, Davis, WV 26260 or email them to ron_hollis@fws.gov.

Note: Individuals who submit comments that include their address, phone number, email address or other personal identifying information should be aware that their entire comment — including the identifying information — may be made publicly available at any time. Those submitting comments may request that their personal identifying information be withheld; however, the Heart of the Highlands Trail Project and CVNWR cannot guarantee that they will be able to comply with the request.
9/9, 9/12