The Wilderness Coalition is promoting the Birthplace of Rivers National Monument, an area that is the headwaters of Cherry, Cranberry and Williams rivers. They say that the area needs more protection to preserve it for future generations. However, they fail to say what restrictions probably would be put in place to add further protection. I have been enjoying the area for more than 50 years, and believe that the area has been well managed and should be left as is.
Mike Costello, the lobbyist for the Wilderness Coalition says that as a National Monument the area will be managed as it is currently, allowing hunting, fishing and vehicle access. The fact is that he can not guarantee anything because the Land Management Plan will not be drafted until AFTER the area is designated a National Monument. Organizations like the Wilderness Coalition and the Sierra Club will have a lot of input into the final plan. I personally know some of these members and know they believe that the National Forest should be only for low impact activities like hiking.
My wife and I were fined in Yellowstone National Park for canoeing on the Yellowstone River. It never occurred to us that it was illegal to do so. I have canoed the length of the Cherry, Cranberry and Williams rivers at different times. If made a National Monument, it is plausible to believe that someday it would be illegal to put a canoe in many of these headwaters. Future generations would not be able to enjoy the rivers as I have.
The National Monument could become a reality if only one of our elected representatives put the proposal on President Obama's desk and he signs it. I have called Congressman Rahall's office and was told by an aide that the Congressman did not "have a hand in the matter."
We must ask our representatives to actively oppose the National Monument designation. Please call your congressmen and Sen. Manchin's office and ask them to speak out against the Birthplace of Rivers National Monument.