Potomac Conservancy’s Purchase of White Horse Mountain Successfully Protects A Treasured DC and West Virginia Getaway Spot From Development Threats
PRESS RELEASE 5/14/2015: Potomac Conservancy purchased White Horse Mountain today, scoring a conservation victory in support of outdoor recreation, historic preservation, water quality, and wildlife habitat protection for a valued landmark directly linked to the Potomac River, the source of drinking water for nearly six million Washington, DC residents.
The acquisition of the property effectively ends long-standing plans for development of the land into 70 residential lots, which would have had direct negative impacts on water quality of the Potomac River. Instead, the property will be transferred to the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources to become a new conservation area that the public can access for hunting, hiking, wildlife watching and more.
Since White Horse Mountain runs parallel to the South Branch River, a major tributary to the Potomac River, everything upstream greatly impacts the quality of water downstream. Conserving forested land on the mountain will directly protect the region’s critical natural resources and rural landscape. Since the mountain is identified as a highly climate-resilient landscape, the acquisition will create a haven for wildlife in the face of climate change.
“With help from generous donors and loyal local residents, we’ve cleared one of the largest hurdles to open this land to the public once again and preserve the beauty and resources of White Horse Mountain,” said Aimee Weldon, Senior Director of Lands at Potomac Conservancy and project manager for the land deal. “But a major hero behind the deal is The Conservation Fund who provided Potomac Conservancy a nearly $2.2 million dollar loan to facilitate the full purchase. Much like a closing on a house, even though the land is purchased, we will still need to continue fundraising to pay off on the loan.”
"We are thrilled to partner with Potomac Conservancy, one of the top conservation organizations in the area if not the country, on this wonderful project,” said Reggie Hall, Director of Land Conservation Loans at The Conservation Fund. “The protection of White Horse Mountain will provide multiple benefits for wildlife and communities, and we are pleased that we were able to provide timely financing to enable the Conservancy’s purchase.”
The acquisition came after Potomac Conservancy exceeded its goal of raising $35,000 from a public crowdsourcing campaign. The majority of the total $3.2 million needed to complete the purchase of White Horse Mountain will come from private donors, foundations, and the loan from The Conservation Fund.
For more information on White Horse Mountain, please visit http://potomac.org/whitehorse-backstory
To contribute directly to the IndieGoGo crowdsourcing campaign, please visit https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/save-white-horse-mountain.
In the News:
White Horse Mt. deal closes - Hampshire Review, May 14, 2015
White Horse Mountain purchased by conservancy - MetroNews, May 14, 2015
Potomac Conservancy crowd-funds to preserve WV’s White Horse Mountain - Bay Journal, May 12, 2015