W.V. Pocahontas County farm forever protected

Another view of the Hevener Farm. Photo Courtesy of the West Virginia Land Trust.

This post originally appeared on our partner the West Virginia Land Trust’s site. We’ve worked with Hevener farm to install conservation fencing, which is livestock exclusion fencing that helps keep nutrients on farms and reduce nutrient input into streams and forest. Projects at Hevener farm have restored about 16.4 acres of riverside (riparian) habitat and 1.5 miles of streambank. A third project this year will restore an additional 3.9 riverside acres and ½ mile of streambank.

A view of Hevener Farm in Pocahontas County, West Virginia. Photo courtesy of the West Virginia Land Trust.

A view of Hevener Farm in Pocahontas County, West Virginia. Photo courtesy of the West Virginia Land Trust.

The West Virginia Land Trust and the owners of the Hevener Farm in Pocahontas County have announced the recording of a conservation easement that will forever protect 384 acres of this historic property. The tract of land, which is only a portion of the total acreage owned by the Heveners, has been in the family for over 160 years.

“Our great-grandfather Uriah Hevener settled here before the Civil War in 1851,” said Bill Hevener, co-owner of the farm. “Our father, Howard, who would have been 100 this year, lived and worked the farm all his life. The farm has remained the same for as long as I can remember and we are proud that with the help and support of the West Virginia Land Trust it will remain this way forever.”

From left: Patsy Cummings, Brent Bailey, and Bill Hevener signing the deed of conservation easement. Photo courtesy of West Virginia Land Trust.

From left: Patsy Cummings, Brent Bailey, and Bill Hevener signing the deed of conservation easement. Photo courtesy of West Virginia Land Trust.

The Heveners continue to preserve the family tradition of farming the land, one of the motivating reasons to seek its permanent protection. The farm sits in the scenic Deer Creek Valley and adjoins the Monongahela National Forest, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory buffer zone, and other nearby protected farms. With this protection, the scenic landscape that is characteristic of Pocahontas County has been further extended to incorporate this important parcel.

The West Virginia Land Trust works with property owners who voluntarily seek ways to protect their land from certain types of future development and who are interested in maintaining the natural beauty and ecology of their property. One way of achieving this protection is through the use of a deed of conservation easement which places protections on the land in perpetuity.

Another view of the Hevener Farm. Photo Courtesy of the West Virginia Land Trust.

Another view of the Hevener Farm. Photo Courtesy of the West Virginia Land Trust.

“A conservation easement is a huge step for many owners who are debating how to handle the future of their land,” said Brent Bailey, the land trust’s Executive Director. “We spent many months working with Bill and his sister Patsy Cummings, the farm’s co-owner, in developing an easement document that really reflected their vision and our desire to ensure that Deer Creek, the scenic view shed, and the agricultural nature of the property remain unspoiled for years to come. It’s really gratifying when we are able to work with owners like Bill and Patsy whose passion for their land contributes to preserving the scenic and rural heritage of their community and our state.”

Members of the conservation fence construction crew, a partnership between Trout Unlimited and our agency, installing fence on a West Virginia farm. This partnership, which includes a number of other organizations and agencies, have installed more than 1 million feet of conservation fence throughout West Virginia! Livestock exclusion fencing is a conservation tool that helps to keep nutrients on the farm and reduces nutrient input into streams throughout the watershed. This habitat treatment also benefits surrounding forest health, water quality, cattle herd health and helps to keep farmers compliant with best management practices. Credit: USFWS

Members of the conservation fence construction crew, a partnership between Trout Unlimited and our agency, installing fence on a West Virginia farm. This partnership, which includes a number of other organizations and agencies, have installed more than 1 million feet of conservation fence throughout West Virginia! Livestock exclusion fencing is a conservation tool that helps to keep nutrients on the farm and reduces nutrient input into streams throughout the watershed. This habitat treatment also benefits surrounding forest health, water quality, cattle herd health and helps to keep farmers compliant with best management practices. Credit: USFWS

Preserving the farm’s heritage and that of the surrounding area is especially important to Cummings, who said “I am very comforted that this farm that has been in our family since the mid-1800s will remain as it is for generations to come. I loved growing up nearby and spent lots of time here, and now I love to come back and enjoy our farm in the valley nestled in the mountains. It brings me a sense of renewal and peace, and now with the conservation easement with the West Virginia Land Trust, the property will continue in the same manner.”

“We enjoy working with such conservation-minded landowners and are thrilled they have placed the farm under a conservation easement with the West Virginia Land Trust so this working farm will remain so,” said John Schmidt, the head of our agency’s West Virginia Field Office.

 

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