So the Allegheny Highlands National Park and Preserve appears dead, at least for the moment.
Changes in the political landscape often bring changes in policy, though, and if Manchin should someday lose his senatorial seat, its next occupant might well decide to support a park even if the park's effects on hunters and anglers turn out to be negative.
I don't believe that will happen, though.
Unless and until the Park Service is prepared to allow hunters and anglers the same largely unfettered access that they currently enjoy in the northern Monongahela National Forest, the reservations sportsmen have about the park will remain legitimate.
A few things are sure, though:
Any part of the area that receives full national-park status will be off-limits to hunting. No questions, no debate. It's been Park Service policy for a long, long time, and isn't going to change any time soon.
The Park Service currently considers stocked brown and rainbow trout to be "introduced species" in the Appalachians, where brook trout are the only true "natives." Park officials in Great Smoky Mountain National Park have gone as far as to eradicate wild, self-sustaining populations of browns and rainbows from some waters in an attempt to allow brook trout to flourish.
Even on preserves, which are generally open to hunting, Park Service officials tend to fiddle with regulations to attempt to encourage the harvest of certain species while discouraging the harvest of others.
These issues, among others, are what led Manchin to withdraw his support for the reconnaissance survey. For once, sportsmen were alert. They made their feelings known and Manchin listened. It's a lesson sportsmen need to remember when future issues arise.