The Nature Conservancy is celebrating 10 years of conservation success at Warm Springs Mountain Preserve. The 9,000-acre preserve helps stitch together thousands of additional acres of forest and conservation lands in western Virginia’s Allegheny Highlands, anchors our efforts to protect and restore habitat for plants and animals, and provides recreational opportunities.
Ten years ago at the dedication, Virginia Executive Director Michael Lipford said, “Warm Springs Mountain is as steeped in American history as it is rich in scenic beauty and ecological resources. This acquisition allows us to protect and restore rare natural communities on the mountain, but also affords us the opportunity to partner with the public land managers and the local community in maintaining a huge intact area of critical habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife.”
The Conservancy continues to fulfill that promise made on March 14, 2002.
“Partnerships formed over the past 10 years with the U.S. Forest Service and other agencies are helping maintain and restore healthy forest communities at appropriate scales for black bears, bobcats, ruffed grouse, neotropical migratory songbirds and other wide-ranging species,” said Marek Smith program director for The Nature Conservancy. “Together, we are restoring the natural role of fire to thousands of acres of pine and oak dominated forests, an action critical for many species, as well as for perpetuation of the forests themselves.”
There are two trails currently open to the public: the Ingalls Overlook Trail and the Sandy Gap Trail. Conservancy staff also periodically offer guided hikes, providing visitors a different view of the mountain and our work to restore habitat.
“Members of the Allegheny Highlands community have a great respect and appreciation for the scenic mountain views, the expansive forests, the diversity of wildlife and the clean waters,” continued Smith. “We want to preserve and share that sense of place with residents, visitors and future generations.”
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.