August 2016 


AFHA AmeriCorps Term Wraps Up


2015-16 AFHA AmeriCorps Team at the team meeting at Stuart Recreation Area on August 5th.


Another busy and successful AFHA AmeriCorps term is coming to a close. 38 AmeriCorps members have provided a year of service, with activities ranging from restoring ecosystems and raising conservation awareness, to preserving local history and historic buildings, and providing tourists with a richer understanding of our area. Hopefully readers of our AFHA newsletters have appreciated the voices of these outstanding AmeriCorps members through their monthly story contributions. The 15-16 AFHA AmeriCorps team members were recognized at a picnic celebration held at Stuart Recreation Area on August 5. We thank them all for their service, and wish them the best of luck as they take this experience into their future careers. 



400 Million Years


By Daniel Butler
AFHA AmeriCorps Member


Seneca Rocks Discovery Center


400 million years is very old in human years, but not so old in Earth years.   Right around 12 earth years, to be exact, perhaps just graduating earth elementary school and just about to hit earth puberty.  It is this juxtaposition of time that makes Seneca Rocks so interesting, a crazy intersection of modern and ancient that is so common it almost always goes unnoticed.

While giving interpretive tours of the area, I like to compare the flood of 1985 to the 400 million year old tuscarora sandstone of Seneca Rocks.  Everyone in Pendleton county remembers the flood in the same way that everyone was at Woodstock; I remember the 1985 flood, and I wasn’t even born yet.  It was a devastating event that destroyed homes and businesses, and took 38 lives.  Geologists call it a 100 year flood, an event so rare that it only happens once in a lifetime.  This is easy to explain, people understand flooding and natural disasters, but it’s much harder to understand that Seneca Rocks has seen millions of these centurion floods.

The crazy comparisons of time are some of the coolest parts of earth science, and I still struggle to wrap my head around such vast differences in age.  Driving to Elkins on the four lane highway to nowhere, one drives by an old quarry.  There is a similar difference of age between me, Seneca Rocks, and this open cave, but I don’t often notice it.  It doesn't have the same visual impact of Seneca, and yet it is still mind bogglingly old.  Being off by a few million years is a sign of well done science in geology, but very bad planning when arriving to a dinner date.  So next time you need to explain why you’re late to something, like an AFHA meeting, consider that, in earth years, you arrived right on time.



Cemeteries: Where History is Alive


By Christina Rieth
AFHA AmeriCorps Heritage Member


18th and 19th century graves at the Old Heavner Cemetery in Buckhannon


As an AmeriCorps member for the Buckhannon Historic Landmarks Commission (BHLC), I used my research to emphasize the importance of historic preservation in Buckhannon as part of a larger, county-wide effort to increase heritage tourism and generate revenue within the local economy. As part of this work, I researched the Heavner Cemetery and prepared a narrative to submit to the West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office. The WV SHPO, in return, will determine whether it is eligible for a designation on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), which is a list of historically significant sites across the United States. Buckhannon residents were eager to contribute to my research as volunteers at my cemetery survey workshops or as guests at the BHLC quarterly meetings.

The Heavner Cemetery was officially founded in 1909 by Major Jacob W. Heavner and Lee Annie Reger Heavner; however, the burials there go back to 1782, following the arson of Bush’s Fort where the cemetery now stands. Bush’s Fort, one of the earliest known structures in the region, was crucial to the foundation of Upshur County. Many Upshur County residents who have influenced the history of West Virginia are interred at the cemetery; they include the second governor of West Virginia, the doctor who performed the first Civil War amputation, and prominent lumbermen who contributed to the state’s cultural and economic wealth. 


Pictured here are the signs posted at the cemetery on April 9th and May 21st, when the surveys were conducted.


If the WV SHPO determines the Heavner Cemetery is historically significant, and if in turn the cemetery receives an NRHP designation, it will be eligible for state and national grants related to maintaining its integrity, which may include further research, education programs, preservation workshops, or emergency repairs. Within the scope of heritage tourism, an NRHP listing also nationally recognizes a city’s efforts in preserving its historic resources.
Alongside the BHLC, I collaborated with committees and non-profits in Buckhannon to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the city’s establishment; I was able to integrate the history of the cemetery into local projects and campaigns that promote the city’s past, present, and future. Through the BHLC, I became part of community-wide discussions on utilizing existing historic resources as means for economic development.







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Experience the heritage of your area! Sites of the Month spotlights events and locations within the region, based on AFHA's four themes: forestry, history, culture, and nature.




The 9,400 acres that make up the Calvin Price State Forest in Pocahontas County were purchased by the state from the New River Lumber Company in 1953, making them the most recent addition to the West Virginia State Forest system. The close proximity of the forest to Watoga State Park, which has plenty of  recreational opportunities, meant that there was no need to develop the recreational aspect of the Forest. Visitors can concentrate instead on hiking, camping and hunting. Around two-thirds of the Forest are accessible only on foot, with oaks and yellow poplar present as well as white pine, the virgin timber that was logged here between 1880 and 1920.




Union Grove Schoolhouse is a one room school in Allegany County, Maryland. It was listed on the National Register of historic Places in 1979, due to its significance as being the last remaining and unaltered one room schoolhouse in Allegany County. Built in 1905, it functioned as a school until 1949, when it transferred hands to the Union Grove 4H club. The building was restored in 2010, and now hosts school field trips and tours.




Brew Skies, held at Timberline Four Season Resort in Tucker County, is a music and beer festival, presented by Mountain State Brewing Company. It is a “celebration of live music, West Virginia craft beer, and the great outdoors.” The event also features local food and artisan vendors. Now in its fifth year, Brew Skies will be held August 19th and 20th, 2016.




Charlotte Ryde Nature Preserve, a 1,361-acre preserve, is centered around the Cheat Canyon and the Cheat River in Preston County. The preserve is home to diverse species of wildlife, such as bats, bobcats, and bald eagles. The Cheat Canyon is also the only place in the world the Cheat three-toothed snail can be found. The Cheat River is also one of the premier West Virginia destinations for whitewater sports, such as whitewater rafting and kayaking.



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Our mailing address is:

Appalachian Forest Heritage Area

P.O. Box 1206

Elkins, WV 26241