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The Free Press WV

►  Interior chief urges shrinking 4 national monuments in West

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is recommending that four large national monuments in the West be reduced in size, potentially opening up hundreds of thousand or even millions of acres of land revered for natural beauty and historical significance to mining, logging and other development.

Zinke’s recommendation, revealed in a leaked memo submitted to the White House, prompted an outcry from environmental groups who promised to take the Trump administration to court to block the moves.

The Interior secretary’s plan would scale back two huge Utah monuments — Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante — along with Nevada’s Gold Butte and Oregon’s Cascade-Siskiyou. More logging and other development also would be allowed at three other monuments — two in in New Mexico and one in Maine.

Bears Ears, designated for federal protection by former President Barack Obama, totals 1.3 million acres in southeastern Utah on land that is sacred to Native Americans and home to tens of thousands of archaeological sites, including ancient cliff dwellings. Grand Staircase-Escalante, in southern Utah, includes nearly 1.9 million acres in a sweeping vista larger than the state of Delaware.

Grand Staircase has been a source of ire for local officials and Republican leaders for more than two decades amid complaints that its 1996 designation as a monument by former President Bill Clinton closed off too much land to development.

Cascade-Siskiyou, in southwestern Oregon, protects about 113,000 acres in an area where three mountain ranges converge, while Nevada’s Gold Butte protects nearly 300,000 acres of desert landscapes that feature rock art, sandstone towers and wildlife habitat for bighorn sheep and the threatened Mojave Desert tortoise.

Two marine monuments in the Pacific Ocean also would be reduced under Zinke’s memo, which has not been officially released. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the memo.

Donald Trump ordered the review earlier this year after complaining about a “massive land grab” by Obama and other former presidents.

“It’s gotten worse and worse and worse, and now we’re going to free it up, which is what should have happened in the first place. This should never have happened,” Trump said in ordering the review in April.

National monument designations add protections for lands known for their natural beauty with the goal of preserving them for future generations. The restrictions aren’t as stringent as for national parks, but some policies include limits on mining, timber cutting and recreational activities such as riding off-road vehicles.

No president has tried to eliminate a monument, but some have trimmed and redrawn boundaries 18 times, according to the National Park Service.

Zinke’s recommendations to pare down the four Western monuments — and allow more logging and other development in three other monuments — “represent an unprecedented assault on our parks and public lands” by the Trump administration, said Jamie Williams, president of the Wilderness Society.

“This callous proposal will needlessly punish local, predominantly rural communities that depend on parks and public lands for outdoor recreation, sustainable jobs and economic growth,” Williams said, vowing to challenge in court any actions by the Trump administration to reduce the size of national monuments.

“Zinke claims to follow Teddy Roosevelt, but he’s engineering the largest rollback of public land protection in American history,” said Kieran Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity, another environmental group. “If Teddy were alive today, he’d declare political war on Zinke and Trump.”

Zinke has declined to say whether portions of any monuments under review would be opened up to oil and gas drilling, mining, logging and other industries for which Trump has advocated.

It was not clear from the memo how much energy development would be allowed on the sites recommended for changes, although the memo cites “active timber management” as a goal, as well as increased public access.

A spokeswoman for Zinke referred questions to the White House, which said in a statement that it does not comment on leaked documents.

If Trump adopts the recommendations, it would quiet some of the worst fears of his opponents, who warned that vast public lands and marine areas could be lost to states or private interests.

But significant reductions in the size of the monuments, especially those created by Obama, would mark the latest in a string of actions where Trump has sought to erode his Democratic predecessor’s legacy.

The recommendations cap an unprecedented four-month review based on Trump’s claim that the century-old Antiquities Act had been misused by past presidents to create oversized monuments that hinder energy development, grazing and other uses.

In addition to shrinking the four western monuments, Zinke recommends greater economic activity at Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks and Rio Grande del Norte in New Mexico, and Katahdin Woods and Waters in Maine.

►  Literally lousy: Parasite plagues world salmon industry

Salmon have a lousy problem, and the race to solve it is spanning the globe.

A surge of parasitic sea lice is disrupting salmon farms around the world. The tiny lice attach themselves to salmon and feed on them, killing or rendering them unsuitable for dinner tables.

Meanwhile, wholesale prices of salmon are way up, as high as 50 percent last year. That means higher consumer prices for everything from salmon fillets and steaks to more expensive lox on bagels.

The lice are actually tiny crustaceans that have infested salmon farms in the U.S., Canada, Scotland, Norway and Chile, major suppliers of the high-protein, heart-healthy fish. Scientists and fish farmers are working on new ways to control the pests, which Fish Farmer Magazine stated last year costs the global aquaculture industry about $1 billion annually.

So far it has been an uphill struggle that is a threat to a way of life in countries where salmon farming is a part of the culture.

The Free Press WV

“Our work has to be quicker than the evolution of the lice,” said Jake Elliott, vice president of Cooke Aquaculture in Blacks Harbour, New Brunswick.

Experts say defeating the lice will take a suite of new and established technology, including older management tools such as pesticides and newer strategies such as breeding for genetic resistance. The innovative solutions in use or development include bathing the salmon in warm water to remove lice and zapping the lice with underwater lasers.

Farmers worldwide consider sea lice the biggest threat to their industry and say the persistent problem is making the fish more expensive to consumers. Farmed salmon was worth nearly $12 billion in 2015, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

The only hope is to develop new methods to control the spread of lice, which are present in the wild, but thrive in the tightly packed ocean pens for fish farming, said Shawn Robinson, a scientist with the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

“There are not enough tools right now to allow the farmer to really effectively deal with it,” Robinson said.

The lice can grow to about the size of a pea and lay thousands of eggs in their brief lifetime. The chance of a louse making its way to a diner’s plate is very small because salmon are checked for lice before being sent to market. But even if one did, eating it wouldn’t pose a health threat.

Atlantic salmon have held their own with sea lice in the wild for centuries, and fish farmers managed them in aquaculture environments for many years. Then, farmers in Canada identified the lice as a problem around 1994, said Jonathan Carr, executive director of research and environment with the Atlantic Salmon Federation.

Feeding fish a pesticide with the active ingredient of emamectin benzoate became the tool of choice to control lice, Carr said. But around 2009, the lice appeared to become resistant to the pesticide, and they have spread globally since.

The industry’s key mistake was reacting when the lice evolved to survive pesticide, Carr said, rather than “getting ahead in the game.”

“The efficacy went away and pressure developed to create new treatments,” said Kris Nicholls, chief operating officer at Cooke, a major player in world salmon farming.

The worldwide supply of salmon fell almost 10 percent last year, with Norway, the largest producer in the world, especially hard hit. In Norway, there are hundreds of times more salmon in aquaculture than in the wild. And the fish potentially can escape their pens with lice attached and introduce them to wild fish.

Norwegian farmers are looking to use new closed-in pens that resemble giant eggs instead of typical mesh pens. Scottish farmers have deployed a device known as a Thermolicer to warm the water and detach the lice from fish. And farmers in North America and Europe are experimenting with using species of “cleaner fish” to coexist with the salmon and eat the lice.

Research about farming salmon along with mussels, which researchers have found will eat larval sea lice, is underway. Underwater drones inhabit the other end of the technological spectrum, zapping lice with lasers to kill them. That technology was developed in Norway and has been used there and in Scotland.

Cooke keeps a brood stock of fish in the hopes of breeding them for desirable traits such as disease resistance. And the company uses a pair of boats capable of pumping 10,000 fish at a time into a hydrogen peroxide bath, which kills most of the lice, although it also can stress and kill some fish.

On the shores of Beaver Harbour, New Brunswick, Cooke engineer Joel Halse stood recently aboard a $4 million vessel containing a series of tubes that send 300 salmon a minute on a winding journey while dousing them with warm water to remove lice.

Halse, who likened it to a “waterslide park” for fish, said the fish farming industry has no choice but to try such innovations.

“The cost to the salmon farming industry from sea lice is huge,” he said. “And having tools to control the population would be huge.”

►  Environmental, outdoor groups vow to fight national monument reductions

Environmental and outdoor recreation groups threatened Monday to sue if Donald Trump adopts Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s leaked proposal to alter nearly a dozen national monuments, while grazing, fishing and other groups welcomed the recommendations.

Zinke’s plan to reduce the size of at least four federally protected areas in the West, while altering management practices at another half-dozen, was obtained and published by The Washington Post on Sunday night. The White House is still reviewing the memorandum, which Zinke submitted in late August after conducting a four-month review of how presidents of both parties have applied the 1906 Antiquities Act since 1996.

The secretary urged Trump to shrink four large monuments on federal land – Utah’s Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante, Nevada’s Gold Butte, and Oregon’s Cascade-Siskiyou – as well as possibly two Pacific Ocean marine monuments, the Pacific Remote Islands and Rose Atoll. He proposed amending the proclamations for 10 monuments, largely to allow for commercial activities restricted in these areas, such as logging, grazing and mining.

Zinke endorsed allowing commercial fishing operators in three marine monuments – the two in the central Pacific Ocean, and one, Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Marine Monument, in the Atlantic.

Eric Reid, general manager of Seafreeze Shoreside in Narragansett, Rhode Island, said in a statement that the recommendations “make us hopeful that we can recover the areas we have fished sustainably for decades. We are grateful that the voices of fishermen and shore side businesses have finally been heard.“

But Mystic Aquarium senior research scientist Peter Auster, whose institution pushed for heightened protections for an area 130 miles off the southeast coast of Cape Cod, noted that federal catch data shows that landings of mackerel and butterfish – two of the main species targeted by local fisherman near the monument – have risen this year compared with 2016, when the monument was established.

Auster said that to allow trawlers, pots and pot gear in the monument, which spans 4,913 square miles, “will have significant effects on conservation of marine wildlife in the monument.“

Former Interior secretary Sally Jewell, who oversaw several of the monument designations Zinke is proposing to alter, said in an interview Monday that, “the protections that are written into the proclamations are in many cases what he’s tryingto undo, in his recommendations to Trump.

“It’s a monument in name only if all the activities that are identified by Secretary Zinke are allowed to occur,“ she added.

Grazing advocates also welcomed the idea of providing ranchers with more access on five different monuments, including not only Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante and Gold Butte but also the New Mexico monuments Rio Grande Del Norte and Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks.

Ethan Lane, who directs the Public Lands Council at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, said in an email that, “It sounds like the voices of western communities are finally being heard and the promise to preserve grazing inside monuments might finally be kept by the federal government. This action would be a win for any western community that depends on ranching to stay afloat.“

Utah politicians, who have lobbied Trump since he was elected to revisit several Antiquities Act designations, praised his administration’s push to scale back these areas. Utah Governor Gary Herbert, R, said Thursday that after having talked with Zinke about Grand Staircase-Escalante, which Bill Clinton established in 1996, “I think there’s the possibility of carving it up into smaller monuments, you know, two or three that actually protects the area that needs protection.“

Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch’s spokesman Matt Whitlock said his boss “is grateful for Secretary Zinke’s thorough, fair review that has given Utahns on all sides of the issue a voice in the protection of Utah lands.“

But a broad array of monument supporters, including environmental and outdoor recreation activists, pledged to fight any changes to existing protections in court.

“Trump, Zinke and Herbert are going to come out on the wrong side of history,“ said Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance Legal Director Steve Bloch.

University of Colorado law professor Mark Squillace, an expert in the Antiquities Act, said in an email that Zinke’s proposal raises a host of legal issues given that no president has considered making so many changes to previous designations.

“Decisions to protect certain objects (and not others) involve judgment call that courts have shown an inclination to respect,“ he said. “The significant legal issues aside, if we allow presidents to second guess the judgments of their predecessor there would no end to the mischief that would create.“

Although Zinke has proposed amending all 10 monuments’ proclamations to shift the way they are managed, the majority of the management plans for these monuments have not been finalized because they take between five and six years to complete.

Randi Spivak, public lands program director for the advocacy group Center for Biological Diversity, said any proclamation change “would be subject to challenge” and “any proposed management plan changes will need to formally go through the same legal and administrative processes again, subject to the same administrative appeal and litigation requirements.“

“This process will be very legally vulnerable because it will have to deal with all the scientific, environmental and social conclusions produced during the first round of management plan creation,“ she said. “This would be a massive hurdle for the administration.“


The Free Press WV

►  Coopers Rock State Park: More than just a pretty rock face

The view of Cheat River Canyon from the overlook may be the most obvious thing casual visitors think of when they hear “Coopers Rock.”

But the state park is just as popular for activities that aren’t as easily seen.

Every year, while some of the 250,000 visitors are attending weddings on the overlook or holding reunions in the picnic shelters built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression, others are scaling rock formations named Sunset Wall and the Big Blocks.

And other park users are trout fishing in the lake or running through the forest. And some visitors are seeking geocaches, capsules of objects that can be located with GPS coordinates posted on a website such as

Almost every other weekend, regardless of the season, Matt Born of Reedsville puts a line in the water of Coopers Rock’s lake to see where the fish are hiding.

“Sometimes we are packed in there like sheep, elbow to elbow,” Born said. “Other times you have the lake to yourself.

“You have your everyday guys who know their spot and how to rip the trout out of it,” he said. “Then you have the PowerBaiters: both poles out with fancy rod holders just waiting on the bobber that they put on the line to move. Then you have the spoon/spinner people who cast in and out. Everybody has their method of fishing at Coopers Rock and each one of the groups of people is very successful at catching trout and helping others to catch them too.”

Climbers are another group of sportsmen and women who mentor each other in the sport, said Dan Brayack, a climber, trail runner, hunter and beginning mountain biker from Charleston.

Visitors are not allowed to climb at the overlook but there are large boulders where they can climb without ropes. The sport is called bouldering, and it started in the 1980s, according to Brayack, who has published the “Coopers Rock Bouldering Guide.”

“Someone who is not a rock climber, if you’re fairly athletic, you could scramble around on the boulders,” Brayack said. “Even climbing small boulders that aren’t very tall, we do fall, all the time, and we have one piece of equipment that you need to be able to fall and be OK. It’s called a crash pad and it’s basically a couch cushion but more technical. It’s designed for rock climbing.”

Adam Polinski, project coordinator and founding member of the nonprofit Coopers Rock Foundation, who has also written guides to lead climbers on the best routes up the boulders, calls crash pads “the primary safety device other than good judgement.

“It is used into conjunction with somebody spotting you, just like at the gym.”

Coopers Rock’s elevation — 1,200 feet above Morgantown — makes it a cool place to climb in summer, Brayack said, and it has great views.

The rock is special: It’s called gritstone.

“There’s very little gritstone in the United States and the most famous is in Britain,” Polinski said. “It’s kind of a world-famous rock type. Climbers can talk about rock types just like wine connoisseurs talk about the difference between pinot grigio and zinfandel. We’re pretty lucky around here. We have the equivalent of a really cool vintage of rock.”

Coopers Rock isn’t on the scale of Seneca Rocks with its 300-foot climbs or the New River Gorge, Polinski said, but it’s perfect for bouldering.

“It is booming to the point that you might see license plates from any one of six or eight surrounding states,” Polinski said. “People travel from Baltimore and D.C. and spend the weekend because of bouldering. It really has turned into something.”

Trail running is another fairly young sport that is done at Coopers Rock.

“I like using the trails,” said David Hopkinson, president of the Coopers Rock Foundation. “I’m out there taking care of them so I can continue to enjoy them.”

Outdoors enthusiasts who want to buy or sell some recreational equipment can do it at the gear sale during the Celebration of the Outdoors on October 21 in Pavilion No. 2 near the overlook. Half the proceeds go to the seller and half to the Foundation, Hopkinson said.

Admission and many activities are free at the Celebration of the Outdoors. Visitors can try rock climbing and ropes courses. There is usually a raptor exhibit and birdhouse building. A volunteer leads a tree identification hike. Refreshments can be purchased at the state-run snack bar near the overlook.

The Foundation held its annual 10K Stump Jump August 26. Athletes ran a 6.2-mile course from the overlook to the Roadside Trail, then to Laurel Meadows and Rock City, and back to the overlook. It is one of the fundraisers for facilities maintenance and repairs.

Located in Monongalia and Preston counties, Coopers Rock was named for a cooper, a barrel-maker, who was a fugitive. He hid from authorities at the overlook and made and sold barrels to the nearby community, according to Jan Dzierzak, assistant state park superintendent.

The DNR manages the park and WVU leases part of the forest for research.

“There’s a big education component that occurs at Coopers Rock,” Polinski said, adding that elementary, middle and high school students visit too. “I don’t think you see 10,000 school buses there every year but it’s a steady trickle. There are so many things you can learn there, not just tree or bird identification.

“You can study stream dynamics and the macroinvertebrates that live in stream or the emerald ash borer, the current threat to one species of tree in the forest. There are plenty of educational angles.”

►  Idaho hopes to bring stargazers to first U.S. dark sky reserve

Tourists heading to central Idaho will be in the dark if local officials get their way.

The first International Dark Sky Reserve in the United States would fill a chunk of the state’s sparsely populated region that contains night skies so pristine that interstellar dust clouds are visible in the Milky Way.

“We know the night sky has inspired people for many thousands of years,” said John Barentine, program manager at the Tucson, Arizona-based International Dark-Sky Association. “When they are in a space where they can see it, it’s often a very profound experience.”

Supporters say excess artificial light causes sleeping problems for people and disrupts nocturnal wildlife and that a dark sky can solve those problems, boost home values and draw tourists. Opposition to dark sky measures elsewhere in the U.S. have come from the outdoor advertising industry and those against additional government regulations.

Researchers say 80 percent of North Americans live in areas where light pollution blots out the night sky. Central Idaho contains one of the few places in the contiguous United States large enough and dark enough to attain reserve status, Barentine said. Only 11 such reserves exist in the world.

Leaders in the cities of Ketchum and Sun Valley, the tiny mountain town of Stanley, other local and federal officials, and a conservation group have been working for several years to apply this fall to designate 1,400 square miles (3,600 square kilometers) as a reserve. A final decision by the association would come about 10 weeks after the application is submitted.

The association also designates International Dark Sky Parks, with nearly 40 in the U.S. Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve in central Idaho, known as a prime destination among avid stargazers, became one earlier this year.

“There is some astro tourism,” said Ketchum Mayor Nina Jonas, a point driven home last month when thousands descended on the town in the path of the total solar eclipse.

Ketchum officials have applied to become an International Dark Sky Community and join Flagstaff, Arizona, Dripping Springs, Texas, and Beverly Shores, Indiana.

The Idaho city approved a dark sky ordinance requiring residents to install shields on exterior light fixtures to block light from going upward and mandating holiday lighting by businesses and residents be turned off at night.

Becoming a dark sky community could help with the larger reserve status and even lift property values in the already pricey area by keeping the night sky visible. Nearby Sun Valley, a ski resort city, also has a dark sky ordinance, as does Hailey about 12 miles (19 kilometers) to the south.

“It’s nice to look up and see something greater than ourselves,” Jonas said.

The Idaho Conservation League has joined the effort, noting light pollution can adversely affect nocturnal wildlife and people’s sleep rhythms.

“Out of all the types of pollution that ICL is engaged in, I see this as one we can combat in an easier way,” said Dani Mazzota, whose group is coordinating efforts among federal and local entities.

That includes an intensive effort by volunteers taking darkness readings throughout the region. Those readings, combined with satellite measurements, will be some of the information used by the International Dark Sky-Association in its decision.

International Dark Sky Reserves have two main components, Barentine said. The first is a core area dark enough to meet the association’s standards. The second is a buffer area with communities that demonstrate support in protecting the core by limiting light pollution.

The proposed Idaho reserve is mainly land managed by the U.S. Forest Service and contains the wilderness of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area.

“We have a preservation and protection mission, and preserving the dark sky and mitigating light pollution is a really good fit for the Sawtooth National Recreation Area,” said ranger Kirk Flannigan.

He said a survey of landowners, livestock grazing permit holders, recreation outfitters, lodges and cabin owners found almost universal support for creating the reserve.

The Forest Service will contribute by putting up informational signs about the dark sky reserve and reducing light pollution from its buildings, Flannigan said. The agency would not mandate actions, and any light mitigation by others in the recreation area would be voluntary.

Stanley, a tiny mountain town within the Sawtooth recreation area, runs mostly on tourism money. Its light pollution measures are voluntary but have been effective, not only because they could mean more tourism, but because locals themselves like to see the night sky, said Steve Botti, city council president.

“I go out most every night and look at it because it’s so dramatic,” he said.


The Free Press WV

►  Thousands flock to WV for whitewater adventure

West Virginia rafting companies are into the second weekend of the famed Gauley River Rafting Season and longtime river guide Dave Arnold believes this is the weekend which draws the most attention from true whitewater enthusiasts.

“Some people think this is the biggest one of all because this is Gauley Fest weekend,” Arnold said. “All the kayaking people from all around the country area here.  There’s a big festival up at Summersville in the town park and there will be probably over a thousand people there.”

Typically, Bridge Day which culminates the Gauley Season draws the most visitors to the area, but Gauley Fest is in Summersville not far from where the adventure starts below Summersville Dam.

“The weather has been perfect.  We always get nervous with hurricanes, but the hurricanes didn’t bring a lot of water our way, so we’re in great shape,” Arnold explained. “The lake was full, we’ve got plenty of releases and here’s a new one I can’t explain, but the water temperature is about ten degrees warmer this year and that’s a lot.”

Over the course of the seven weekends of Gauley Season Arnold’s company, Adventures on the Gorge expects to take more than 11,000 people down the Gauley River.  Other rafting companies anticipate similar levels and it creates a huge infusion of commerce into Fayette and Nicholas Counties.

“You’re talking 350 employees actively working Saturday to put the show on and that’s just one company, that’s our company,” he explained. “You can imagine what a boost it is to a small town like Fayetteville.  This is big.”

Now and then then, depending on how the calendar falls, there is an extra weekend of releases by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  This year is one of those extending the season to seven weekends.

►  Late summer weekend events September 16, 2017, at West Virginia state parks

Many late-summer special events and activities are planned at West Virginia State parks the weekend of September 16, 2017.  Here’s a quick peek at the variety of family-friendly venues you’ll find.

Harvest Festival at Cass Scenic Railroad State Park features crafts, applebutter making, Trailing and Rescue with AMMAR, Eight Rivers Amateur Club, Harvest Campfire, WV Operation Lifesaver, pumpkin sale and more.  A square dance in the community center is set for Friday evening, September 15, with Juanita Fireball and the Continental Drifters calling and playing. For more information call 304.456.4300 or visit

The 28th Astronomy Weekend, “Dark Sky Treasurers” is at Blackwater Falls State Park.  Hosted by the Kanawha Valley Astronomical Society, the weekend is packed with outstanding speakers on the subjects of how galaxies form, making of the milky way, black holes, radio bursts, and astrophotography. Speakers are form the WVU Physica and Astronomy Department, former NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Marshall University and NASA’s New horizons spacecraft mission. Whether you are new to astronomy or an expert, everyone is welcome. Star parties will be held for dark sky observations. Free and open to the public. Call 304.259.5216 or visit or for details.

The Legacy of Mary Ingles is staged at Beech Fork State Park. The Mary Ingles Trail Association sets up encampments that represent an era when West Virginia was unsettled and engages attendees with activities and conversation about early American Indian and European settlers’ primitive encampment. Since 1989, the Mary Ingles Trail Associates have presented a historical encampment based on research of the life of Mary Draper Ingles. Embroiled in the turmoil of the French & Indian War, Mary was captured by the Shawnee Indians in July of 1755. After several months, she escaped and made her way back home by walking more than 500 miles. That journey took her through the Kanawha Valley. Call 304.528.5794 for additional information and times or visit

The Fall Nature Walks at Kanawha State Forest feature 12 walks. Registration starts at 8:30 a.m. and the hikes and walks depart at 9 a.m. The cost is $5 per adult and $2 for youth under age 16. The event is sponsored and organized by the Kanawha State Forest Foundation. At 1 p.m., Three Rivers Avian Center will present Wings of Wonder, a birds of prey program. Free and open to the public. The events are at the Nature Center/pool area. Call 304.558.3500 for details or visit

The 10th annual Appalachian Fall Festival at Tygart Lake begins at 10 a.m. Activities include apple butter making, a raffle, crafters and yarn/spinning demonstrations. The event is an annual production by the Tygart Lake Foundation. Call for details at 304-265-6144 or visit

Fall Festival and Pig Roast at Camp Creek State Park is an outdoor event all about music and good food. The County (band) plays at noon followed by The Princeton Silverettes Twirl Team at 12:45 p.m.; Lily Comer, Hinton’s Got Talent Winner at 1:10 p.m; The Appalachian Hoedowners cloggers at 1:30 p.m.and again at 3:00 p.m., Blue Rockin’ Gras (band) at 2:15 pm.; Hiser, Rasnake & the Bluegrass Boys at 3:45; and Tender Mercies Bluegrass Gospel at 5 p.m. Apple butter making, corn meal grinding, Appalachian Crafts and Displays, and BBQ platters and more food will be available for purchase by the Camp Creek State Park Foundation. For more info call 304.425.9481 or visit

Campfire Stories with ‘Bugs’ Stover  at Twin Falls State Park is at 6:30 p.m.

Tie-dye tee shirts at Pipestem State Park begin at 11 a.m.

Nature Wonder Weekend is at North Bend State Park. In its 50th year, founder Edelene Wood, President of the National Wild Foods Association, is the key speaker on “It Wonders Me.” The weekend is fee based. For more information, call Wendy Greene at 304.558.2754.

Find these events and other upcoming activities at West Virginia State Parks on the website


The Free Press WV

►  Focus on Fall at Twin Falls Resort State Park Photography Workshop

Reservations are being taken for Twin Falls Resort State Park’s annual Fall Photography Workshop, scheduled to take place October 06-08. Steve Shaluta, Steve Rotsch and Park Superintendent Scott Durham are the instructors.

“This fall workshop is the perfect time to learn new skills and hone old ones,” Durham said. “Twin Falls’ 4,000 acres, complete with the park’s Pioneer Farm, are picture-perfect settings for photography. There is always the possibility you’ll capture photographs of the park’s flora and fauna any time of the year, but the October dates promise fall coloration.”

The workshops are helpful for photographers of all skill levels and include discussions about photography equipment and photo editing tools, composition, use of natural light and flash photography, how to photograph people, action photography, scenic photography, digital imaging and file storage, and even drone photography. Participants are welcome to ask questions during the workshop. Instructors also provide hands-on photography outings, including night photography.

The Free Press WV

Photographer Steve Shaluta retired from the West Virginia Department of Commerce after an illustrious and award-winning career. His photos have graced more than 300 magazine covers, tourism advertisements and newspaper and magazine articles. He has also published seven books, including the most recent, “Wonders of West Virginia.” Shaluta now spends his time photographing wildlife between Florida and West Virginia.

Photographer Steve Rotsch is an international award-winning photographer who has been photographing the great outdoors for more than 40 years. He has worked as a forensic photographer, photojournalist, commercial photographer and has been a personal documentary photographer to five West Virginia governors. He also has seven self-published books.

Find information about the instructors on Facebook at “Steve and Steve Photography Workshops.” You can see their work at and

Workshop packages are available and include overnight accommodations, some meals and instruction. Reservations are required and can be made by calling Twin Falls Resort State Park at 304.294.4000.

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