US Interior Chief Cites 2 W.V. Attractions

CHARLESTON, W.V. (AP) - Two West Virginia outdoor attractions are getting the attention of the nation's interior secretary, Ken Salazar.

Salazar says the New River Gorge National River and the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge are included in a 50-state report highlighting promising approaches to reconnect Americans with outdoor recreation.

Salazar points to the Boy Scouts of America and its purchase of 10,000 acres adjacent to the New River Gorge. It will be the permanent home of the scouts' national jamboree. He estimates the scouts will provide more than 800,000 hours of service annually.

As for Canaan Valley, Salazar cited collaborative efforts to link federal, state and private lands. He also pointed to management strategies to enhance natural and recreational opportunities.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and The Conservation Fund on Thursday announced the addition of 325 acres to the Canaan refuge, providing additional nesting habitat for migratory song and game birds, including the American woodcock, golden-winged warbler, indigo bunting, scarlet tanager and Canada warbler.

"By protecting the ecological integrity of this area, we are creating crucial buffer zones that secure the highest quality habitat for many species that call the Canaan Valley home," said Reggie Hall, real estate associate for The Conservation Fund.

The nonprofit group helped establish Canaan Valley as the 500th national wildlife refuge in 1994.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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