Save White Horse Mountain from development and forever protect a public forest for wildlife, hiking, camping, and hunting.
PRESS RELEASE 4/8/2015: Potomac Conservancy is calling on the public to donate to a crowdsourcing campaign to support a $3.2 million effort to purchase West Virginia’s 1,700-acre White Horse Mountain. The purchase will protect the land from development threats.
Once the land is acquired, Potomac Conservancy plans to transfer the title to the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, which will open up the mountain to the public for hunting, hiking, wildlife viewing and other recreational activities.
Located in Hampshire County, West Virginia, less than a 3-hour drive from the Washington DC Metro area, White Horse Mountain is one of the largest tracts of unbroken forested land remaining in the South Branch Valley. For six miles, the land parallels the South Branch River, a major tributary to the Potomac River, which supplies water to nearly 6 million people. The mountain itself protects the spring-fed municipal water supply for the nearby town of Springfield.
While the majority of the money to complete the purchase of the mountain has come from private donors, foundations, and a loan from The Conservation Fund, a portion will be raised through an online INDIEGOGO campaign. Through this campaign, the Conservancy aims to raise at least $35,000 to help fund the purchase of the mountain.
“Current development plans would carve the undisturbed natural lands into 70 residential lots, which would not only destroy this treasured forest but would also damage water quality downstream and put local wildlife habitat at risk,” says Aimee Weldon, Senior Director of Lands at Potomac Conservancy and project manager for the land deal.
“Potomac Conservancy is purchasing White Horse Mountain to ensure a different future for this land as a place that everyone can enjoy rather than just a few private homeowners. Anyone can play a role in saving this mountain by contributing to the crowdsourcing campaign and sharing it on social media,” Weldon adds.
White Horse Mountain is currently owned by a Florida developer who bought the land in 2003 with plans to create a new subdivision on the property. The housing market decline forced the land back onto the market.
“We now have a rare opportunity to put this land into conservation and open it to public use once again,” said Weldon. “The area is a long-time community priority as it was once open to the public while owned by the timber company MeadWestvaco prior to 2003.”
In addition to acquiring the mountain and transferring to the State, Potomac Conservancy will encourage further protection of the area by helping private landowners near White Horse apply for grant funds to purchase conservation easements on over 3,000 acres of nearby land in order to create a larger conservation hub.
For more information on White Horse Mountain, please visit www.potomac.org/whitehorse.
To contribute directly to the INDIEGOGO campaign, please visit https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/save-white-horse-mountain.