[caption id="attachment_18644" align="alignleft" width="300"]<a href="https:\/\/mountainmedianews.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/13\/2016\/05\/Gbr.-River-and-Spice-Run-Wilderness.jpg"><img class="size-medium wp-image-18644" alt="View of Greenbrier River and Spice Run Wilderness from protected property" src="https:\/\/mountainmedianews.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/13\/2016\/05\/Gbr.-River-and-Spice-Run-Wilderness-300x225.jpg" width="300" height="225" \/><\/a> View of Greenbrier River and Spice Run Wilderness from protected property[\/caption]\r\n\r\n<span style="line-height: 1.5em;">On Apr. 28, representatives of the Greenbrier River Watershed Association, Greenbrier Land Conservation Trust, New River Conservancy, West Virginia Land Trust, WVU Land Use and Sustainable Development Law Clinic, the West Virginia Outdoor Heritage Conservation Fund, and Alan and Gwen and Warren Baloghput into effect conservation easements on two parcels of land totaling about 250 acres overlooking the Greenbrier River and Trail and the Spice Run Wilderness Area in Greenbrier and Pocahontas counties.<\/span>\r\n\r\nGeorge Santucci, executive director of the New River Conservancy said, \u201cWe have been happy to be a big part of this easement\u2019s coming together. We want to see this property protected, as the Greenbrier is a tributary of the New River, and we wanted to foster the growth of a local land trust.\u201d\r\n\r\nKey legal assistance to New River Conservancy came from the Land Use and Sustainable Development Law Clinic at the WVU College of Law. Clinic lawyers and law students spent hundreds of hours providing a range of pro bono legal services to aid in protecting the property. The Clinic undertook extensive courthouse research, drafting, and other due diligence to help bring the transaction to fruition.\r\n\r\nAll of the parties have kept the ball rolling on this project for the last three years, leading up to a significant protection for this land along a section of the beautiful Greenbrier River and Trail. John Walkup III, president of the Watershed Association said, \u201cIt was a big undertaking for one group to tackle, so we asked for help and are pleased to have gotten the cooperation of all our partners to arrive at a wonderful conclusion. The assistance from the New River Conservancy and West Virginia Land Trust, and WVU Law School was invaluable as was the funding from the West Virginia Outdoor Heritage Conservation Fund. Everyone worked together to make this happen and we are proud to be able to preserve a section of land that we think is very special.\u201d\r\n\r\nThe dream of protecting the property began over 20 years ago when Beckwith Lumber Company realized the land it had bought and begun to timber was too steep and had to stop logging. After a few months, they decided to donate the land to the non-profit Watershed Association. Meanwhile, the Greenbrier Land Conservation Trust began, but had not yet protected any land when Farmland Protection Boards came about. Several of the Trust Board members became active on Farmland Protection boards, and the Land Trust entered a hiatus. It was always understood, however, that when funds became available, the goal was to protect the property with a conservation easement which the Land Trust would administer. Along the way, Alan and Gwen Balogh and their son Warren became interested in protecting their adjoining property, and the plan began to come together.\r\n\r\nApr. 28, the Baloghs signed documents making their desire to protect their property come true. Alan Balogh commented, \u201cFor our family, today has been the realization of a decades-old dream: that the land we love and call home will be protected in perpetuity from any short-sighted greed that would destroy its wild and beautiful nature. There is no greater satisfaction for a landowner in Appalachia than knowing the unique treasure of our mature mountain forest will be preserved for all time, to be enjoyed by generations long after we have passed. This is as great a legacy as we could have hoped for, and we are deeply grateful to all parties who have made this day possible.\u201d\r\n\r\nLeslee McCarty, president of the Greenbrier Land Conservation Trust, and former president of the Pocahontas County Farmland Protection Board, said, \u201cConservation easements are an important tool for protecting land from development. The steep slopes of this property would not have saved these acres from someday becoming part of development which may have led to erosion and scarring on the hillsides which are part of the views from the river and trail. We are happy to have this be the Greenbrier Land Conservation Trust\u2019s first easement, and hope to participate with other landowners who may want to protect their property unspoiled for the enjoyment of future generations.\u201d\r\n\r\nTo find out more about the partner groups, contact McCarty at email@example.com or phone 304-647-4792. All of the groups may be contacted via email and web and on social media.