eastern panhandle native plant society

field trips and events


Eastern Panhandle Native Plant Society

August Bulletin

Upcoming EPNPS Events

Event: Field trip through the Paw Paw tunnel along the tow path

Date: Saturday, August 23.

Time: 1:00 p.m.

Description: We hope to see trailing arbutus, iris, ferns, and more.

Leader: Sally Anderson

Directions: Take Route 9 west from Martinsburg and bear right where the road connects to Route 29 (it will still be Route 9). Go through the town of Paw Paw, cross the Potomac, and watch for the parking lot for Paw Paw Tunnel on the right. Meet in the picnic area.

Event: Field trip to Snavely Ford and Ferry Hill (near Antietam)

Date: Saturday, Sept. 27

Time: 10:00-12:00, Ferry Hill; 1:00-3:00, Snavely Ford

Leader: Joe Metzger

Description: Look for composites and other fall flowers.
Directions to Ferry Hill:
— From Shepherdstown: Take the bridge across the Potomac. Go up the hill on MD 34 about .1 mile and turn left into the driveway for Ferry Hill (It has a big iron gate.). Park in Visitor’s Lot near the mansion.
–From the east and south: Get to Frederick. Take I-70 west one or two exits and get off at US 40 alt (Braddock Heights / Middletown exit). Turn left onto US 40 alt and drive through Middletown to Boonsboro. In Boonsboro, turn left onto MD 34. Follow MD 34 through Sharpsburg. Just before the bridge across the Potomac, turn right into the driveway for Ferry Hill (It has a big iron gate.). Park in Visitor’s Lot near the mansion.
Directions to Snavely’s Ford Trail:
–From Shepherdstown: Take MD 34 through Sharpsburg. At the east end (top of the hill by the cemetery entrance) go about .5 mile and turn right into the battlefield. (If you get to Antietam Creek you’ve gone too far.) Continue about .5 mile to the end and turn left. Go about .5 mile and park in the loop at the top of the hill.
–From the east and south: Get to Frederick. Take I-70 west one or two exits and get off at US 40 alt (Braddock Heights / Middletown exit). Turn left onto US 40 alt and drive through Middletown to Boonsboro. In Boonsboro, turn left onto MD 34. Follow MD 34 toward Sharpsburg. Before you get there, you cross Antietam Creek. About .5 mile later, turn left into the battlefield. (If you get to the cemetery entrance at the top of the hill you’ve gone too far.) Continue about .5 mile to the end and turn left. Go about .5 mile and park in the loop at the top of the hill.
Trail map (plus link to road map?) available at www.potomacaudubon.org
Contact information for field trip leader:
Joe Metzger (410) 775-7737 or jmetzger50@hotmail.com (preferred)

–Invasive removal at Yankauer–Sept. 9

EPNPS will once again participate in the annual United Way Day of Caring by helping to clear invasives at the Yankauer Nature Preserve. The event will be held Tuesday Sept. 9, and as always we?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢ll meet in advance for breakfast at a location yet to be specified. If you can help, please contact Lynn Wagner at lwagner@intrepid.net. United Way needs a head count in advance to plan for the breakfast, lunch, and T-shirts that are provided to volunteers. So please let me know ASAP if you plan to participate.

–TriState Native Plant Conference–agenda below

Event: The West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia native plant societies are sponsoring a joint two-day conference October 4-5, at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, WV. This exciting event will bring these three native plant societies together to explore the native plant communites and natural areas that we have in common. Please join us for a weekend of speakers, field trips, workshops and exhibits.

Registration fee: WVNPS/EPNPS/MNPS/VNPS Members: $45.00 per person (+$16.50 per person for Saturday Social reservations); Non-member Fee: $55.00 per person (+$16.50 per person for Saturday Social reservations). The fee includes lunch on Saturday.

Checks should be made payable to the Maryland Native Plant Society and mailed to:

Meghan Tice; P.O. Box 25; Bowie, MD 20719

Volunteer needs for the conference:

Volunteers are need to help staff the registration table on Saturday. If you know of someone who would be interested, contact Lynn Wagner at lwagner@intrepid.net.

Also, there will be a silent auction to benefit the sponsoring native plant groups. If you have something to donate to the auction (a book, native plant, field guide) please contact Lynn Wagner.

Preliminary Agenda:

Friday, October 3:

3:00-5:00 pm Field Trip ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú Snavely?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s Ford Trail, Antietam National Battlefield, Washington County, MD ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú Joe Metzger

8:00 pm Ghost Tour ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú Harper?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s Ferry, WV ($3)

Saturday, October 4:

7:30-8:30 am Breakfast/Coffee

8:30-9:00 am Introduction

9:00-9:45 am Avery Drake ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú Overview of the Geology of the Blue Ridge Province

10:00-10:30 am Coffee Break/Poster Session/Book Sale

10:35-11:20 am Gary Fleming ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú Diverse Natural Communities and Flora of the Blue Ridge

11:30-11:40 am Coffee Break

11:45 am-12:30 pm Cris Fleming ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú Rare Plants of the Harpers Ferry Area

12:30-1:45 pm Lunch Break (lunches provided)/Book Sale/Poster Session

1:00-1:45 pm Maryland Native Plant Society Annual Business Meeting

1:45-2:00 pm Assemble for afternoon Field Trips

2:00-5:00 pm Saturday Field Trips

(Times TBD) Fern ID Workshop ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú Conference Facility ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú Larry Stritch, Instructor

6:30-10:00 pm Saturday Evening Social ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú Hilltop House Hotel, Harpers Ferry, WV ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú Buffet served from 7:00-9:00 ($16.50/person)

Sunday, October 5:

7:30-8:45 am Breakfast/Coffee

9:00-9:45 am Speaker (TBA) ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú Threats to our Native Forest (proposed topic)

10:00-11:00 am Panel Discussion ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú The Role of Native Plant Societies in Conservation with Stan Shetler, Rod Simmons, and Leslie Sauer (TBD)

11:00 am Book Sale with Book Signings by Cris Fleming/Nicky Staunton (Finding Wildflowers in the Washington-Baltimore Area) and Leslie Sauer (The Once and Future Forest: A Guide to Forest Restoration Strategies)

10:00 am-3:00 pm Field Trip ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú Yankauer Preserve (very near conference site) ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú Joe Metzger

1:00 pm Field Trip ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú Shanondale Wildlife Management Area, outside of Charles Town, WV ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú Larry Stritch

Time TBD Field Trip ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú G Richard Thompson Wildlife Management Area, Appalachian Trail, Fauquier County, VA ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú Bob Pickett

Upcoming WVNPS Events

Event: WVNPS Annual Meeting/Field Trip

Date: September 13-14

Location: Elkins, WV

Description: WVNPS will hold its annual meeting at the Day?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s Inn in Elkins, WV

Elkins area. Join us for a weekend of field trips in this richly diverse area!

— PJ Harmon and Brian McDonald will each lead a field trip beginning at 9:30 Saturday morning, 9/13. Meet at the Day’s Inn lobby at 9:30 to choose one of the two groups. One field trip will be a longer hike, the other will be a shorter, “drive, park, & and look” outing.

— The annual meeting will start at 5:00 p.m. on 9/13 in Club Room B at the Day?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s Inn.

The featured speaker at the meeting will be Matt Keller from the Highlands Conservancy Wilderness campaign.

Accomodations: There is no block of rooms reserved at the Days Inn, but WVNPS will get a special rate of $54 single/$58.50 double. Don?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t forget to say you are with the group to get that rate.

Directions: From Buckhannon, take Rt. 33 East to toward Elkins. Near Elkins, take the Old Rt. 33 exit. Pass Pizza Hut, Shoney’s, & Long John Silver; the Day’s Inn will be on your left a short distance further.

Meals: Attendees will be responsible for arranging their own meals.

Special Note: **We will be electing officers for 2004 at this meeting. If you are interested in serving on the WVNPS board, or would like to nominate someone for a position, please contact Steve Mace at sdmace@citynet.net. Please make sure before submitting a nomination that the person you name is willing to serve.**

Other Events

–Native Wonders and Exotic Blunders
August 22, ThorpeWood, 6-8 pm. Jim Gallion will lead a guided tour around ThorpeWood and the surrounding forest, providing a “crash course” in
native and exotic invasive plants. Free, but registration is required. Call 301.271.2823 before August 15th. http://www.thorpewood.org/main.html

–Invasive management workshop

September 10, 2003, in Wilkes Barre, PA, offered by Penn State Cooperative Extension, in conjunction with Penn State School of Forest Resources, USDA Forest Service, Northeast Area, PA DCNR Bureau of Forestry, PA Urban & Community Forestry Council, Mid-Atlantic Exotic Pest Plant Council, and PENNDOT Roadside Vegetation Management Project.
The workshop will focus on the the tools and techniques to manage invasive species, with both indoor and field content.
Use the link below to download the brochure, which gives the agenda, location, directions, etc.

West Virginia News

–Comments sought on Mountaintop Removal EIS report

-The Bush administration?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s Environmental Impact Study on mountaintop removal is out and has outraged many of the state?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s environmental groups, which are asking citizens to comment on the report (see below for details). Please send comments to:

Mr. John Forren, US EPA
1650 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19130

The deadline for comments is August 29, 2003.
-The EIS report is available online in several files at http://www.epa.gov/region03/mtntop/eis.htm. Copies of the study are available on CD-ROM and can be requested by calling EPA at (800) 228-8711.

-Here?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s an article on the study:


-From Coal River Mountain Watch, Forwarded by: From Julian Martin, Outreach Chairman West Virginia Highlands Conservancy www.wvhighlands.org:
“Sadly, the Department of the Interior has chosen to ignore the scientific studies on mountaintop removal and has instead drawn conclusions dictated by the Bush political agenda. Considering what we now know about the administration’s dismal record on the environment, this comes as no surprise. We would never have agreed to settle the case if we had known the extent to which the administration will go to have politics trump scientific reality,” said Cindy Rank, mining chairwoman for the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, the group which filed the lawsuit that brought about the EIS.
The EIS confirms the empirical data that led to the common sense conclusions ofcoalfield residents and environmental groups-mountaintop removal / valley fill coal mining is irreversibly and substantially harming the forests and streams of Southern West Virginia and Eastern Kentucky. Throughout central Appalachia, some of the most productive and diverse temperate hardwood forests in the world have been destroyed when coal companies blast off hundreds of feet of mountaintops to get to thin seams of coal. In
most circumstances, the former lush forests will remain degraded as grassy, unproductive scrub land for at least several centuries. These unproductive grasslands cover nearly 20% of some southern West Virginia counties. Millions of tons of rubble from the former mountains are pushed into the adjacent valleys. Coal companies have already buried hundreds of miles of Appalachian streams, destroying not only the streams themselves, but creating disastrous impacts to downstream waterways and towns. As residents point out, mountaintop removal is also devastating the culture and communities of the region.In the EIS draft, the Bush administration does not recommend curbing the environmental harm caused by mountaintop removal, but asks the agencies that are supposed to be regulating coal mining to streamline the way they work together.
“You can practically smell the corruption wafting off this document. Bush and his coal industry friends weren’t happy with the scientific truth, so they delayed the study for months, trying to figure out how to put a positive spin on the worst intentional environmental disaster in the nation. Perhaps they were attempting to tweak the studies just like their Enron pals cooked the books,” said Vivian Stockman, with the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, a Huntington, W.Va.-based group calling for an end to mountaintop removal.One of the coordinators of the EIS, J. Steven Griles, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Interior, is a former coal industry lobbyist with ties to
mountaintop removal companies. The DOI’s Inspector General is currently investigating Griles for conflicts of interest. The PBS television program, Now with Bill Moyers, exposed Griles on Friday May 30.
“It’s outrageous that a man so obviously still in bed with the coal industry could be allowed to leave his grubby fingerprints all over this document,” said Judy Bonds, a community organizer for the Whitesville, W. Va.-based Coal River Mountain Watch. Bonds won the 2003 Goldman Environmental Prize for North America for her efforts to ban mountaintop removal. “I am shocked that it took the agencies this long to try to put their spin on the truth, and they still couldn’t do it. They still couldn’t say that mountaintop removal isn’t permanently scarring the land,” Bonds added. “The scientific studies and the economic data included in the EIS clearly show that there is no reason for the valley fills should be so large and so damaging to the environment,”” said Joe Lovett, Executive Director of the Appalachian Center for the Economy and the Environment. “It is remarkable that, based on these data, the Bush administration is proposing to loosen the reins on permitting, not tighten them, as they should.”
“The Bush administration is determined to remove any obstacles to maximizing
profit for an outlaw coal industry,” said Teri Blanton of the citizens group Kentuckians For The Commonwealth, a group which also filed a major mountaintop removal lawsuit. “It doesn’t matter to him if mountains, water, communities or lives are destroyed in the process. This EIS is further proof of that.”
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, www.opensecrets.org, during the 2000 election cycle, Bush was the top recipient of all campaign contributions from the coal industry. Out of every dollar the coal industry contributed to political campaigns for 2000, 88 cents went to Republican candidates.
“The Bush administration hopes we will buy into the EIS. Well, we taxpayers were forced to pay millions for this study, but we don’t buy its excuses and rationalizations for the destruction of our mountains and our heritage. After all, one of the studies showed that limiting valley fills down to 35 acres would only add 50 cents per ton to the price of coal. Yet, the Bush administration is dismissing the science and endangering our futures in order to reward its political cronies,” said Janet Fout, a coordinator with the People’s Election Reform Coalition of West Virginia.
Suggestions From Coal River Mountain Watch—Mountaintop Removal destroys streams, contaminates drinking water, causes flooding, makes moonscapes out of the beautiful Appalachian Mountains- some of the world’s oldest mountains, causes blasting damage to residents homes, air pollution to residents, destroys hardwood forests and wildlife habitats, destroys Appalachian culture and heritage, defies the Executive Order regarding Environmental Justice for low income people, destroys jobs and is environmentally insane.
Mountaintop Removal should be stopped NOW! The recomendations in the EIS
Statement are a sham in that they ignore the scientific evidence and recommend
speeding up the process in permitting mountain top removal.
You can comment even if you live outside of West Virgina, as a matter of fact the more comments from outside of West Virginia–the better.
Please keep a copy of your comments–We are gathering comments so that the
EPA can’t say they didn’t get any. So if you can, please send a copy to Coal
River Mountain Watch. crmw@charter.net

–Lawmaker proposes leasing state parks.
Deanna Wrenn
Daily Mail Capitol reporter
Tuesday July 22, 2003; 10:00 AM Charleston Daily Mail
When most people think of West Virginia’s state parks, they envision tree-covered mountains, flowing streams and beautiful vistas. Not many people think of how much it costs to run the state’s parks, which lose more than $11 million a year.
This year, as the state struggles to fill a projected $120 million budget gap, park finances might come into the spotlight.
Senate Finance Chairman Walt Helmick recently proposed looking into leasing some of the state parks to private entities to help state parks turn a profit.
“We’re losing money on (almost) every park,” Helmick, D-Pocahontas, said. “The budgetary crunch demands that we look at all our operations.”
But park officials say the system is in good shape, despite the annual red ink.
Division of Natural Resources Director Ed Hamrick said West Virginia’s parks always rank either first or second in the nation among states that don’t charge entry fees, and bring West Virginia more than $100 million in economic impact each year.
Hamrick points to the 7.5 million park visitors a year — with almost 3 million coming from out of state — as a positive reflection of the health of state parks. He says cabin and lodge rates average about 60 percent occupancy over the year, which is better
than most southeast states and around the national average.
“We believe we’re doing a pretty good job,” Hamrick said. “We’re always striving to be self-sufficient.”
The problem, at least in the eyes of some legislators, is that no matter how hard the parks try to increase attendance or beef up revenues, the parks aren’t self-sufficient.
Since 2000, the park system has averaged a loss of $11.6 million a year.
Ideas to privatize state parks have popped up before, and some say this year’s $120 million state budget problem might prompt another look at the option.
Helmick says private companies would jump at the chance to take over
some state parks.
“Some of these parks have tremendous assets,” Helmick said. “They’re not built to lose money.”
Park officials say the parks weren’t made to make money, either.
“To say that they lose money and that the private sector can do a better job is just not true,” said Doug Baker, business manager of state parks. “We don’t have the facilities that a private-sector company is going to come in and make money on unless they pick and choose.”
Private companies would have to take over the entire park — not just the moneymaking lodges — to make privatization work, Baker said. Otherwise, the state would be leasing out its most valuable commodities while still paying to maintain surrounding
Besides, Baker says, state parks are a resource for West Virginians, not a source of revenue.
“It’s a public service — something that government gives back to the citizens of this state,” Baker said. “($11 million) is a small price to pay to have these facilities.”
Some states charge entrance fees for all state parks, but West Virginia
Charging fees would bring in more revenue, but Helmick says that would equate to a form of tax, and he doesn’t want to do that.
“The bottom line is somebody’s going to have to pay for it,” Helmick said.
Helmick doesn’t want it to be the state or the taxpayers, and that means involving private investors.
The state could look into the idea of privatization in upcoming months,
as officials work on the state budget.
“We cannot afford to do business as usual,” Helmick said.

Native Plant Conservation Campaign News

–August Report from NPCC on the Interior Dept. Appropriations


Other News

–More than 8,000 tree species threatened with extinction

One in Ten Tree Species at Risk of Extinction
(OneWorld.net) – United Kingdom, August 4, 2003 — More than 8,000 tree species, 10 percent of the world’s total, are threatened with extinction, and the situation has grown worse over the past five years, according to a new report sponsored by the UK Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). “Towards a Global Tree Conservation Atlas,” published this week, shows that 976 tree species are in a critical situation, and very few of these endangered trees are being conserved in the wild.

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