The West Virginia Highlands Conservancy held its quarterly meeting at McClintic Library in Marlinton last Sunday. Founded in 1965, the non-profit Conservancy is one of the state’s oldest environmental activist organizations. Conservancy board members and officers hold their quarterly meetings at various locations throughout the state, but have not met in Marlinton for several years.
Local author and Editor Emeritus of The Pocahontas Times, Bill McNeel, is one of nine directors-at-large with the Conservancy. Beth Little, of Hillsboro, is an administrative assistant with the group. Both were in attendance at Sunday’s meeting.
To start off the meeting with a fun activity, Conservancy President Cynthia Ellis led the group in a game of “Find A Person Who.” Various activities, ranging from the common (worked in a restaurant) to the uncommon (studied Latin) were listed in blocks on a checkerboard sheet. The goal was to find as many people who had engaged in the activities as possible. McNeel was among just two people in the group who have studied Latin. The game served the purpose of breaking the ice and getting the group to know each other a little bit better.
During the formal portion of the board meeting, the group discussed two items of particular interest to Pocahontas County residents.
First, the board discussed the possibility of holding a fall gathering, along with the West Virginia Environmental Council, at the Ambassadors For Christ Retreat in Huntersville. Conservancy Vice President Frank Young said the site offers the type of lodging the group needs.
“We’re looking for a place that has two types of lodging,” said Young. “A lot of folks, especially the younger Environmental Council people, like the bunk bed/dormitory style lodging because it’s cheap and they don’t mind being around each other in their pajamas. Some of us older folks like a little more privacy and a little more convenience, so we prefer more of a motel-type lodging. I’m not getting in bunk beds anymore. A facility with both types of lodging on the same campus is getting very difficult to find.”
Young said the Huntersville facility has a strict no-alcohol and no-smoking policy. He asked the board if there was any objection to holding the event at the AFC Retreat. No board member expressed objection to the suggestion.
The fall gathering will be centered around a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Wilderness Act. The Act, passed in September 1964, authorized the preservation and protection of selected federal lands as wilderness areas. The Conservancy is in the process of planning a number of activities, to be held in the southern Monongahela National Forest, including Pocahontas County, to mark the passage of the Act.
The Conservancy works to promote the preservation and wise use of natural resources in West Virginia and the nation. For more information on the group’s mission, current projects and accomplishments, see wvhighlands.org.