Endangered bats, plants and rare cave-dwelling insects will be assured of a home in a developing area of the Mountain State following recent action by The Nature Conservancy.
The land, meanwhile, still won't be open for public exploration, although nearly $800,000 in West Virginia Department of Transportation funds are involved.
The Nature Conservancy - with help from the state DOT - has purchased "a conservation easement" on 272 acres of property in Randolph County owned by Thunderstruck Conservation. It is surrounded by the Monongalia National Forest and is close to the Dolly Sods Wilderness Area, the Roaring Plains Wilderness Area and the Nature Conservancy's Bear Rocks Preserve.
The purchase price was $796,500, and the money was provided by the WVDOT from funds in the Appalachian Corridor H Final Environmental Impact Statement. The money was to be used for identification and analysis of unique habitats to be purchased for preservation, according to information provided by the Nature Conservancy.