Birthplace of Rivers National Monument Effort Gets a Boost

The Williams River Valley

An area of the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia known as the Birthplace of Rivers is getting some special attention this week.

The name Birthplace of Rivers refers to a wilderness area in the eastern part of the state that contains the headwaters for the Cranberry, Cherry, Gauley, Elk, Williams and Greenbrier rivers.

The West Virginia Rivers Coalition has called on Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., to introduce legislation to designate Birthplace of Rivers National Monument. The president also has the authority to do so under the Antiquities Act. The National Monument designation would grant special protection while still allowing public access to the land.

“There’s about 84 percent of voters in West Virginia that support the idea of Birthplace of Rivers becoming a national monument,” said Linda Balfour, with Keen Footwear.

The apparel company has chosen the Mon National Forest as one of five places in the country to focus on protecting during a national tour. Keen is sponsoring an event at 1 p.m. Friday at Hill and Holler Bicycle Works in Lewisburg to collect signatures for a petition in support of the Birthplace of Rivers effort.

This article was edited on 09/20/2015 to reflect the fact that the West Virginia Rivers Coalition asked Sen. Joe Manchin to designate the Birthplace of Rivers as a national monument, not President Obama, as was previously reported.