Community fundraising and federal Land and Water Conservation Fund have conserved one of Shenandoah Valley’s most beautiful natural landmarks
SHENANDOAH COUNTY, Va. — Today, The Conservation Fund, Alliance for the Shenandoah Valley, and the USDA Forest Service are announcing the permanent protection of roughly 91 acres in the Shenandoah Valley. The property, which was conveyed to the Forest Service by The Conservation Fund with the help of the Alliance, is the rocky-topped end of Short Mountain known as the Knob. This iconic landmark and critical natural resource for the Town of Mount Jackson will be protected and managed as part of the George Washington National Forest.
Much of the Shenandoah Valley’s forestland is privately owned and at risk of fragmentation and development. To ensure the integrity of the landscape, The Conservation Fund—a national non-profit, dedicated to protecting environmentally and economically significant natural spaces—purchased the 91-acre Knob property in the spring of 2018 and managed it until federal and private funding could be secured for its addition to the national forest. The Alliance worked with The Conservation Fund and the Town of Mount Jackson to secure $80,000 of critical private funding from communities throughout the Shenandoah region. The U.S. Congress appropriated money from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) for the Forest Service’s purchase of the property.
In addition to being a scenic highlight in the area, this property provides habitat for rare species including the timber rattlesnake and peregrine falcons. The land also lies just above the reserve drinking water supply for the Town of Mount Jackson. For this reason and others, an image of the Knob is presented on Mount Jackson’s town seal.
“The community and Congressional support for this conservation project was a huge element of its success,” said Heather Richards, The Conservation Fund’s Virginia State Director. “As permanently protected land, the Knob can continue to benefit the community’s recreational economy, water supply, local wildlife habitat and the stunning, irreplaceable scenery of the Shenandoah Valley. We thank U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine and U.S. Representative Ben Cline for the critical federal funding, and our community partners, such as Alliance for the Shenandoah Valley and the Town of Mount Jackson.”
“By incorporating the Knob into Forest System Lands, we ensure this unique community resource is available for future generations,” says Joby Timm, Forest Supervisor. “The George Washington and Jefferson National Forests are committed to managing lands to sustain healthy forests, protect water resources, and provide outstanding recreational opportunities. We celebrate this acquisition as a successful collaborative effort with our partners aimed at achieving these goals.”
Federal funding for this project was provided by LWCF, a bipartisan program that uses a percentage of proceeds from offshore oil and gas royalties—not taxpayer dollars—to support conservation projects across the country. LWCF is annually funded by the U.S. Congress, including Virginia’s U.S. Congressional delegation representing the Knob: U.S. Senator Mark Warner, U.S Senator Tim Kaine, and U.S. Representative Ben Cline.
“I am thrilled the Knob will be permanently protected as part of the George Washington National Forest,” said U.S. Senator Mark R. Warner. “I applaud The Conservation Fund, Alliance for the Shenandoah Valley, the Forest Service, and the Town of Mount Jackson for their work to ensure this iconic landmark along the Shenandoah Valley will be preserved for future generations. I am proud that we were able to secure the federal funding through the Land and Water Conservation Fund to protect this critical property.”
“The Knob is an important Virginia landmark that has served as home to local wildlife and benefited the economy,” U.S. Senator Tim Kaine said. “I’m so glad we could protect this area for future generations.”
“Support from the community has been fantastic! It was exciting to see how people in Mount Jackson and the surrounding area enthusiastically stepped up to help. The Knob is not only an important landmark for our community with lots of local connection, but it a critical natural resource. The Alliance is glad we could be part of the effort to see it is preserved,” said Kim Woodwell, Program Director with Alliance for the Shenandoah Valley.
Recreational opportunities at the Knob’s overlook and the George Washington National Forest attract thousands of visitors to the Shenandoah Valley every year. The protection of the Knob and its beautiful viewshed will continue to support those recreational economy opportunities for the Town of Mount Jackson and surrounding area. Community members of the town were essential to The Conservation Fund’s initial protection efforts at the Knob. The Town of Mount Jackson itself generously contributed $25,000 to the project, with local community members and foundations donating an additional $55,000 to the effort.
About The Conservation Fund
At The Conservation Fund, we make conservation work for America. By creating solutions that make environmental and economic sense, we are redefining conservation to demonstrate its essential role in our future prosperity. Top-ranked for efficiency and effectiveness, we have worked in all 50 states since 1985 to protect more than eight million acres of land, including over 69,000 acres in Virginia. www.conservationfund.org
About Alliance for the Shenandoah Valley
Alliance for the Shenandoah Valley works to protect the Valley’s rural character, scenic beauty, clean water and vibrant communities. By ensuring accurate and timely information is in the hands of community members and decision makers, together we can preserve what is important and grow in ways that are sensitive to the unique character of our region. shenandoahalliance.org
About the Forest Service
Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. www.fs.usda.gov/gwj
Heather Richards, The Conservation Fund, 703-203-0060, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kim Woodwell, Alliance for the Shenandoah Valley, 540-984-7003, email@example.com
Rebecca Robbins, George Washington and Jefferson National Forests, 540-265-5173, firstname.lastname@example.org