Rivers Monument is a great idea
I was more than pleased to read the Gazette's recent coverage about the Birthplace of Rivers National Monument.
I feel like I grew up in the Cranberry Backcountry, on several high quality trout streams just a couple hours away from my hometown of Queen Shoals. Throughout my years, I've come to realize just how important this resource is for the people of West Virginia. Just about everyone I know has plenty of stories to tell about the area known as "The Cranberry," whether they caught their first fish there, or just visited the Cranberry Glades boardwalk at some point in their childhood. We all share so many connections to that place, and I hope we can all rally around protection of this special area where Mountaineers grow up learning about our great outdoors.
To me the monument is something all West Virginians should be incredibly proud of, since it honors and protects some of our best woods and waters. The fact that the proposed national monument would not restrict access for hunters and fisherman, and would maintain access for wildlife and fisheries management is important. As a wildlife and fisheries graduate of WVU, I understand the value of these issues, and I'm glad the monument designation addresses the activities necessary to maintaining and improving hunting and fishing experiences.
West Virginians are proud of the traditions that come from the lands in the proposed monument. We simply want these lands to be there for future hunters, anglers and other users of the forest. We want a guarantee that future government decision makers won't change the way the National Forest is managed or open special areas up to activities that take away from quality outdoors experiences. This monument can help give us that guarantee, so I hope our elected leaders can help us make it a reality.