As West Virginians consider their future, some say the Elk River runs right through it.
Swisher is an outdoor guide from Wyoming. He says he was impressed and surprised during the 180- mile trip from the headwaters – in what would be the national monument – downstream to Charleston.
“It’s actually a hidden gem in many ways,” he states. “I see an opportunity for people to almost recreate the Elkspedition on their own. It’s got so much going for it, from top to bottom.”
The birthplace would be made from Monongahela National Forest land already owned by the federal government.
Advocates are in Washington now, pressing for what would be the state’s first national monument.
But they say time is short, given Congress’ election year calendar and the end of the presidential term.
The monument would include about 125,000 acres in and around the Cranberry Wilderness. It’s designed to protect the headwaters of six separate rivers, including the Elk.
Kearns says the Freedom Industries spill two years ago shows what can happen to a river and the drinking water it provides if it’s not taken care of…