Conservation easement protects Randolph County ‘land bridge’

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A 555-acre stretch of private land in high country of Randolph County connecting the Laurel Fork Wilderness to the Seneca Creek Backcountry has been protected through a permanent conservation easement.

The easement, worked out between Gandy Ranch owner Steve Callan, The Nature Conservancy and several other conservation partners, will provide a habitat connection between some of the wildest lands in the Monongahela National Forest.

“This project will protect and restore a ‘land bridge’ that is two to three miles wide, connecting the high country habitats of the Laurel Fork Wilderness and the Seneca Creek Backcountry,” said Keith Fisher, director of conservation programs for The Nature Conservancy in West Virginia. “The property we’re protecting runs along about 1.25 miles of Gandy Creek and reaches all the way to the 4,636-foot summit of Pharis Knob, one of our state’s highest peaks.”

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