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Protecting Headwaters


West Virginia’s mountains are at the headwaters of great rivers like the Potomac and the Ohio. World renowned rivers like the Gauley, New, Kanawha, Cheat, Elk, Cranberry, and Greenbrier are all born in our mountains. WVRC works to protect our headwaters—especially those on public lands. 

Our flagship effort, working with state and national partners, is protecting a special place in the Monongahela National Forest called the Birthplace of Rivers. We're are working to create a National Monument there, high in the Yew Mountains. The Birthplace of Rivers is home to some of West Virginia’s most dramatic vistas, tallest waterfalls, and cleanest waterways. It's the headwaters of:
  • The Cherry, Cranberry and Williams rivers—among West Virginia’s premier trout streams;
  • The Elk, one of our most ecologically diverse rivers;
  • The Greenbrier, the longest undammed river in the Eastern United States; and,
  • The Gauley, internationally known for its world-class whitewater.
The Birthplace of Rivers is about more than one area of headwaters. It is where we make our stand for headwaters on public lands throughout West Virginia. You can help by signing our petition today here.

WVRC also provides in-state leadership in the Choose Clean Water Coalition, a multistate watershed-wide restoration effort in the Chesapeake Bay headwaters region.