Friends of the Cheat Needs Your Help!


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Redwood Creek Contest Could Help Protect Access to Big Sandy

Aficionados of West Virginia’s Big Sandy can now have a hand in protecting its access, thanks to a contest being offered by wine maker Redwood Creek. All you need to do? Visit the Redwood Creek Web site Vote Here!and vote for the Big Sandy project, one of five finalists in the running for the funds.

After reviewing over 100 applications from trail clubs and conservation groups, a panel of judges selected the top five as finalists in its Redwood Creek Wines “Greater Outdoors Project,” which is offering a $50,000 competitive grant to the winner.

Friends of the Cheat is trying to purchase a piece of land along the Big Sandy covering 2.2 miles of shoreline and trails along the lower section of one of West Virginia’s most beautiful rivers for paddlers, hikers, and fishermen.

“The trail is very popular, and our goal is to keep both it and the shoreline open to public use,” says Frinnds of the Cheat President Charlie Walbridge. “This grant could make or break our effort to protect this land. We really need paddlers’ help in the next phase, and it doesn’t cost a penny. Paddlers just need to go onto the Redwood Creek Web site and vote for the Big Sandy Project. Paddlers can vote every day, once per computer, with the voting lasting through July 31. The project getting the most votes is the winner.”

“We are proud to give back to those who take a stand for the environment and watch over America’s wide-open spaces,” adds Redwood Creek’s Cal Dennison. “Redwood Creek wines is committed to protecting your backyard and providing financial support to organizations that help maintain America’s most scenic locations, which is why outdoor organizations nationwide, from trail clubs to conservation groups, were invited to apply for the project earlier this year.

The judging panel—including past president of The Explorers Club, Richard Wiese; Redwood Creek Winemaker Cal Dennison; and professional long distance hiker, Andy Skurka—received hundreds of applications and selected the top five finalists. Now through July 31, visit to cast your deciding vote for which outdoor organization you feel best embodies the spirit of the great outdoors. You can also vote by sending a text message with one of the five codes below to 39668. The winning organization will be awarded a $50,000 grant and a national advertising campaign that will run in popular magazines later this year, with one runner-up receiving a $10,000 grant to fund a specific outdoor project.

The Five Finalists
• American Forests: Its mission is to grow a healthier world with trees. With this grant, American Forests would restore fire-damaged areas in California by planting 50,000 trees through the “California Wildfire ReLeaf program,” an initiative to replant trees in areas scorched by catastrophic wildfires. Vote Text Code: TREE
• Catamount Trail Association: This nonprofit builds, manages and conserves the 300-mile Catamount Trail, a public-access ski trail that is based in Vermont. They would use the grant to purchase trail easements on the remaining 90 miles of unprotected trail to protect affordable opportunities to recreate in the wildlands of Vermont’s landscape. Vote Text Code: TRAIL
• Friends of the Cheat: With an aim to promote the natural qualities of the Cheat River Watershed, Friends of the Cheat would purchase and protect a key section of the Big Sandy Gorge in West Virginia, providing public access for paddlers, hikers and anglers to one and three quarter miles of wild and scenic river. Vote Text Code: FRIEND
• Nature Corps: Dedicated to the preservation of America’s National Parks for the enjoyment, education and inspiration of the public, this grant would enable Nature Corps to coordinate over 500 volunteers to restore three montane meadows in Sequoia, Kings Canyon National Parks and the Sierra National Wilderness. Vote Text Code: NATURE
• Southeast Wisconsin Chapter of Trout Unlimited: With a mission to conserve, protect and restore Wisconsin’s trout and salmon fisheries and their watersheds, they seek funding for their “Camp Creek Restoration Project”. This would improve the water quality and provide erosion control for Camp Creek, located near Madison, and help wild brown trout, turtles, frogs, and aquatic insects. Vote Text Code: TROUT

About Friends of the Cheat
Founded in 1994, the mission of Friends of the Cheat (FOC) is to restore, preserve and promote the outstanding natural qualities of the Cheat River Watershed. FOC will use the grant to purchase and protect a key section of the Big Sandy Gorge in West Virginia to provide public access for paddlers, hikers and anglers to one and three quarter miles of wild and scenic river. The Big Sandy Gorge is a Class IV river with two fifteen foot waterfalls. FOC plans to purchase the riparian zone between Rockville and Wonder Falls, to permanently protect this area from future development. The Big Sandy is major tributary to the Cheat River; both are popular destinations for mid-Atlantic whitewater enthusiasts and is located two hours from Pittsburgh and three hours from the Baltimore-DC area. Their goal is to acquire the riparian zone in the spring of 2009.

Staff Post
Staff Post
Paddlers writing about all things paddling.


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