Attend the AFHA Spring Stakeholders Meeting

It's official: the first day of spring is here!  AFHA is preparing for a busy season of tree plantings, trail improvements, cultural programming, historic reenactments, and much more. Come see what we've been working on, and help us plan for the future at our Spring Stakeholders Meeting on April 12th in Richwood (more info below). We hope to see you there!
AFHA Spring Stakeholders Meeting
     Appalachian Forest Heritage Area is pleased to announce that its annual Spring Stakeholders Meeting will be taking place on Friday, April 12th in the city of Richwood, Nicholas County, WV. Richwood has a real sense of history and tradition based in the timber industry, and provides a perfect backdrop for the Spring Stakeholders Meeting. Share in the exciting work going on with AFHA projects, and learn how to get involved! Please RSVP to 304-636-6182 or to

AFHA Spring Stakeholders Meeting Itinerary:
  • 9:00 am - guided tour of Collins Hardwood (108 E. Main St.)
  • 10:00 am - AFHA  news and AmeriCorps team reports presented, in Richwood City Hall (6 White Ave.)
  • 11:30 am - panel discussion led by Blueprint Communities, in Richwood City Hall
  • 12:30 pm - public meeting, discussion of AFHA accomplishments and future directions, in Richwood City Hall
Join the 2013 Garlic Mustard Challenge!
By Rebecca Urbanczyk
AFHA Conservation AmeriCorps Volunteer
     Are you looking for an opportunity to get the family outside for a day of fun? The Garlic Mustard Challenge is a series of events that provides your family with a day of free, outdoor fun while working to protect the beautiful public lands that we all love. This year, help us attain our goal of removing 50,000 pounds of garlic mustard to help protect our native forests, wildflowers, and wildlife.
     Garlic Mustard is a particularly nasty, non-native invasive species. It rapidly spreads, often using waterways, into wooded habitats, and is making its way throughout the diverse forest ecosystem of West Virginia. Garlic mustard can quickly take over an area by pushing out native plants. Many wildlife species, including species of wild game, depend on spring native plants for their pollen, nectar, fruits, seeds, and roots. Garlic mustard deprives wildlife of these important food sources when it becomes established.
     Join the 2013 Garlic Mustard Challenge and together we can stop the spread of one of the most invasive species found in our state! The Garlic Mustard Challenge is brought to you by the Monongahela National Forest, Appalachian Forest Heritage Area, and the Potomac Highlands Cooperative Weed and Pest Management Area. Sign up for one of the events listed below! For more information, please visit our website: or contact Rebecca Urbanczyk at (304) 636-6182 or

Garlic Mustard Challenge Events
All events run from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (except for the Davis and Elkins College event which is from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.)

•April 20th-Greenbrier State Forest
•April 24th- Davis and Elkins College
•April 25th- Fernow Experimental Forest
•April 27th - Seneca Rocks Discovery Center
•April 27th - Greenbrier State Forest
•May 11th-12th - Blue Bend Campground
•May 18th - Pocahontas 4-H Camp

G.M.C. Sponsors: All Creatures Great and Small, American Mountain Theatre, Applebee’s - Elkins, Brewstel: Microbrewery and Hostel, CJ Maggie’s, Good Energy Foods, Judy's Drug, Kroger - Elkins, MeeMee’z Café and Cakes, Peebles - Elkins, Seneca Caverns, Sheetz - Petersburg, Smokehole Caverns, South Branch Valley Liquidators, Southside Depot, The Greenbrier Resort, The Wellness Center - Parsons, Theatre West Virginia, Timberline Resort, Tri-County Honda, Walmart - Elkins, YMCA - Elkins
Photo credit: Monongahela National Forest
AFHA Museum Moves Forward
By Molly Swailes
AFHA Heritage AmeriCorps Volunteer
     AFHA projects have a positive impact on thousands of visitors and forest-goers within the region. From making public land improvements to assisting with heritage development, AFHA is making our forest heritage more accessible and visible to visitors. Soon AFHA plans to open an exhibit at the historic Darden Mill in Elkins, further expanding capacity for telling the forest heritage story of Appalachia.
     For several years, AFHA has been working with C-HOPE (Citizens for Historical Opportunity, Preservation, and Education) to restore and rehabilitate the Darden Mill. Aiming for first floor occupancy this summer, the building will house C-HOPE, AFHA, and the West Virginia Railroad Museum.
     Further moving forward, the West Virginia Humanities Council has approved mini grant funding for the design and production of the exhibit, titled “Discovering the Appalachian Forest”. The exhibit will explore the forest’s role and influence in society, economy, and politics, both historically and today. It will tell the story of how the forest has shaped people’s lives and how people have shaped the forest throughout history. This exhibit will also serve as a hub, directing visitors to forest heritage sites throughout the region.
     Today, the Darden Mill is one of only two original Elkins rail yard buildings still standing, a testament to local industrial history. AFHA’s partner organizations, volunteers, and everyone else involved in the Darden Mill project are excited to see this former flour mill put to new use. C-HOPE board member Deborah Farrell eagerly anticipates the building’s debut. “We are looking forward to the opening of the first floor of the Darden Mill early this summer. A great deal of work has been put into the restoration and renovation of the Mill and we are just about ready to show it off to the public,” stated Farrell.

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.
Deep Creek Lake State Park
Though the area was heavily logged around the turn of the century, 95% of the park's northern hardwood forest has returned. The Thayerville Fire Tower, also known as the Forestry Tower, was moved to the park and restored for public use. Fire towers were commonly used in the Potomac Highlands during the twentieth century to locate and fight wildfires. 
Mollohan Mill
Constructed in 1894 on the banks of the Holly River, this grist mill in Webster County makes a perfect outdoor stop for photography lovers. Mollohan Mill is one of the only remaining turbine driven grist mills in the United States, complete with the original mill dam. 
The Mountain Dance Trail
Including many sites across the state, the Mountain Dance Trail is a project of the Augusta Heritage Center of Davis and Elkins College. Destinations along the Trail host a series of scheduled dances for local dancers and visitors alike, where locally based musicians and callers will provide the music and figure calling. Check their dance schedule for dates and a location near you!
Cranesville Swamp Preserve
This mountain bog and forest create a uniquely cold and wet refuge for northern varieties of animals and trees. The wetland is an important area for migratory songbirds, including the alder flycatcher and Blackburian warbler. The northern saw-whet owl also nests in the conifer forest. 100 different types of birds can be found in the swamp, including 8 species that are rare at a state level.
Do you have a suggestion for Sites of the Month? Email us at: and let us know your favorite sites throughout AFHA!

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Appalachian Forest Heritage Area
P.O. Box 1206
Elkins, WV 26241

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