The Nature Conservancy and Supporters Celebrate Permanent Protection of Warm Springs Mountain Preserve
9,000-acre preserve protects critical habitat and clean drinking water
Through the generous contributions of a number of private donors, The Nature Conservancy has secured the protection of its Warm Springs Mountain Preserve, which connects thousands of acres of conservation lands throughout western Virginia. In a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Dan Ingalls Overlook today, the Conservancy acknowledged the individuals and corporations that helped the organization realize one of its largest land purchases in Virginia.
“We are grateful to everyone who has helped us protect Warm Springs Mountain Preserve, acknowledging that they understand what a special place this is,” said Michael Lipford, Virginia executive director for The Nature Conservancy. “In addition to conserving critical habitat in the heart of the Allegheny Highlands for perpetuity, we’re ensuring that generations to come will be able to connect with and share our passion for nature.”
The Conservancy purchased the 9,000-acre preserve in 2002 and has since been raising the necessary $6.7 million funds through individuals, foundations and corporations until paying it off completely this year. A number of private donors helped pay off the debt, including Dominion Resources and the Beirne Carter Foundation. Today’s ceremony included the unveiling of a new trailhead at the overlook. Dominion provided a grant to cover the costs of the new kiosk, trail surface, landscaping and stonework, and recruited volunteers to help build the new trailhead. The County of Bath Office of Tourism co-hosted the ribbon cutting with the Dominion Foundation and The Nature Conservancy.
“Without a doubt, the Warm Springs Mountain Preserve encompasses some of the most beautiful and pristine wilderness in Virginia,” said Hunter Applewhite, president of the Dominion Foundation, which is the philanthropic arm of Dominion. “Our company is proud to have played a role in helping the Conservancy protect this area forever.”
Warm Springs Mountain Preserve, which shares a 13-mile border with the George Washington National Forest, is one of the largest and most biologically significant privately held forests in the Central Appalachians. It protects three rare plants, eight rare invertebrates and three rare natural communities, in addition to providing habitat for wide-ranging black bears, bobcats, migratory birds and other wildlife.
The preserve’s forests shelter cool headwater streams and springs that deliver clean drinking water to residents of Warm Springs and Fallings Springs valleys and provide an abundance of recreational opportunities. Hikers can enjoy the preserve’s three public hiking trails that connect to an extensive trail system through the George Washington National Forest and a stunning view from the Ingalls Overlook Trail across the Cowpasture River valley to the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. 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
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