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Open Space Institute Supports Protection of West Virginia Ridgetop

Image Credit: Bill MacFarland

HAMPSHIRE COUNTY, WV (Nov. 8, 2018)—Pristine forested land from the panhandle of West Virginia is now permanently protected, thanks to a grant from the Open Space Institute (OSI). Once slated for development, the land will now remain a haven for wildlife.

The 1,725-acre “White Horse Mountain” ridgeline property was protected by the Potomac Conservancy and transferred to the state of West Virginia as a new public recreation area. Streams and springs on the property also provide clean drinking water to nearby Green Spring and Springfield, West Virginia, as well as filtered water for the Chesapeake Bay.

OSI supported protection of the property through its Resilient Landscapes Initiative, which has protected nearly 3,000 acres in the region since 2013. The property is considered climate-resilient because it will remain an important habitat for plants and wildlife, even as the climate changes.

“The conservation of White Horse Mountain demonstrates the importance of protecting land for wildlife facing an uncertain future,” said Peter Howell, OSI’s executive vice president. “OSI is proud to have supported this project, and we commend the Potomac Conservancy on their tireless work seeing this land protected.”

Overlooking the South Branch of the Potomac River for nearly 6 miles and reaching a height of 1,860 feet, White Horse Mountain contains more than 3 miles of perennial streams and nearly 4 more miles of ephemeral streams. These clean waters trickle down the mountain into the South Branch, flow onward to the Potomac River, and rush all the way to the Chesapeake Bay.

Home to bald eagles, bobcats, and black bears, White Horse Mountain supports unique habitats and rare plants, as well as a place to escape for hikers, bird-watchers, hunters and other recreationists.

OSI provided a $450,000 grant to the project, which cost $2.83 million. In addition to OSI, more than 300 private citizens, foundations, organizations, and corporations donated to protect the land. 

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