New River Friends (NRF) is a grassroots coalition of people of the New River Valley in West Virginia.
What is our Objective? To ensure development of a New River Parkway that meets all the following criteria:
What is the New River Parkway?The New River Parkway, a government initiative which started in the 1980's, was touted as a project to improve a current road and build a scenic highway from I-64 near Sandstone, West Virginia to Hinton, WV. In order to suppress opposition, for years many people were told by planners they would not have to give up their homes and lives more than necessary to build/improve the road. - then just before announcing the acquisition of property in 1999, planners changed their story at the last minute and announced plans to take an unnecessary and much lager right of way involving many more homes and properties than necessary to build the road for economic development. In addition, those being dislocated were only being compensated for the physical value of the land, not the scenic property and economic development value for which it was supposedly being taken. And the government proposed to do all this without revising the environmental impact statement. And much of the money, influence, and decisions for the project was being driven by entities outside of West Virginia.
Only a dedicated 4.5 year fight by the citizenry prevented the 1999 plan, which took all the land between the road and the river and in some cases could have forced conservation easements on all remaining landowners, from being implemented.
We fought hard for a revised EIS and to protect our homes, dreams, families, and lives. In April 2004 the Record of Decision was issued by the Parkway Authority which revised the scope of the project more in line with its original intent, and to not take more homes and land than necessary for the road.
Is out fight over? Can we let our guard down? NO! We must remain vigilant that the project won't be rescoped. We must continue to defend our rights, homes, and dreams and to hold our government officials accountable. Some things to watch for:
Are we against the concept of the New River Parkway? No, but we have great concerns about the Parkway because the stated goal of the National Park Service, a major player in the Parkway, is to remove all people from the "view shed" (view shed means any location can be seen from anywhere on the parkway) whether or not these people are able or willing to go. In addition, the people being displaced are not being compensated for the scenic and physical value of their property, even though the scenic value is why their land is being seized. We are also concerned that the road could be steered to take out additional landowners, unnecessarily.
Who are we? Ordinary citizens, retirees, seniors, farmers, and others people who have worked, saved, and invested in their homes and land, and raised families. We're just ordinary Americans struggling to protect our land from a predatory, unjust, and unnecessary takeover.
Are we anti-business, anti-government, anti-environment, or anti-progress? No, in fact many of the people in our group are flag waving people proud to be Americans and West Virginians, protectors of nature in all its beauty. Hinton and the surrounding areas do need economic development.
Are we using scare tactics? No. This is a real fight for our property rights, our homes, our hopes, our dreams, and our livelihoods. This web site is how it is and who we are. The truth can be scary though.
DON'T LET OUR LITTLE GREEN VALLEY BECOME A BARREN PLAYGROUND FOR TOURISTS AT THE EXPENSE OF THE LOCAL RESIDENTS !
Our struggle is not an isolated one. See people all across the country struggling to protect their homes, lives and dreams!
A proud member of the West Virginia Web Ring!
Remember our West Virginia State Motto: