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110th Congress                                            Rept. 110-598
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
2d Session                                                      Part 1

======================================================================
 
  WILD MONONGAHELA ACT: A NATIONAL LEGACY FOR WEST VIRGINIA'S SPECIAL 
                                 PLACES

                                _______
                                

 April 22, 2008.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              state of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

  Mr. Rahall, from the Committee on Natural Resources, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 5151]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

  The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred the 
bill (H.R. 5151) to designate as wilderness additional National 
Forest System lands in the Monongahela National Forest in the 
State of West Virginia, and for other purposes, having 
considered the same, report favorably thereon with an amendment 
and recommend that the bill as amended do pass.

  The amendment is as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Wild Monongahela Act: A National 
Legacy for West Virginia's Special Places''.

SEC. 2. DESIGNATION OF WILDERNESS, MONONGAHELA NATIONAL FOREST, WEST 
                    VIRGINIA.

  (a) Designation.--In furtherance of the purposes of the Wilderness 
Act (16 U.S.C. 1131 et seq.), the following Federal lands within the 
Monongahela National Forest in the State of West Virginia are 
designated as wilderness and as either a new component of the National 
Wilderness Preservation System or as an addition to an existing 
component of the National Wilderness Preservation System:
          (1) Certain Federal land comprising approximately 5,144 
        acres, as generally depicted on the map entitled ``Big Draft 
        Proposed Wilderness'' and dated March 11, 2008, which shall be 
        known as the ``Big Draft Wilderness''.
          (2) Certain Federal land comprising approximately 11,951 
        acres, as generally depicted on the map entitled ``Cranberry 
        Expansion Proposed Wilderness'' and dated March 11, 2008, which 
        shall be added to and administered as part of the Cranberry 
        Wilderness designated by section 1(1) of Public Law 97-466 (96 
        Stat. 2538).
          (3) Certain Federal land comprising approximately 7,156 
        acres, as generally depicted on the map entitled ``Dolly Sods 
        Expansion Proposed Wilderness'' and dated March 11, 2008, which 
        shall be added to and administered as part of the Dolly Sods 
        Wilderness designated by section 3(a)(13) of Public Law 93-622 
        (88 Stat. 2098).
          (4) Certain Federal land comprising approximately 698 acres, 
        as generally depicted on the map entitled ``Otter Creek 
        Expansion Proposed Wilderness'' and dated March 11, 2008, which 
        shall be added to and administered as part of the Otter Creek 
        Wilderness designated by section 3(a)(14) of Public Law 93-622 
        (88 Stat. 2098).
          (5) Certain Federal land comprising approximately 6,792 
        acres, as generally depicted on the map entitled ``Roaring 
        Plains Proposed Wilderness'' and dated March 11, 2008, which 
        shall be known as the ``Roaring Plains West Wilderness''.
          (6) Certain Federal land comprising approximately 6,030 
        acres, as generally depicted on the map entitled ``Spice Run 
        Proposed Wilderness'' and dated March 11, 2008, which shall be 
        known as the ``Spice Run Wilderness''.
  (b) Maps and Legal Description.--
          (1) Filing and availability.--As soon as practicable after 
        the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of 
        Agriculture, acting through the Chief of the Forest Service, 
        shall file with the Committee on Natural Resources of the House 
        of Representatives and the Committee on Energy and Natural 
        Resources of the Senate a map and legal description of each 
        wilderness area designated or expanded by subsection (a). The 
        maps and legal descriptions shall be on file and available for 
        public inspection in the office of the Chief of the Forest 
        Service and the office of the Supervisor of the Monongahela 
        National Forest.
          (2) Force and effect.--The maps and legal descriptions 
        referred to in this subsection shall have the same force and 
        effect as if included in this Act, except that the Secretary 
        may correct errors in the maps and descriptions.
  (c) Administration.--Subject to valid existing rights, the Federal 
lands designated as wilderness by subsection (a) shall be administered 
by the Secretary in accordance with the Wilderness Act (16 U.S.C. 1131 
et seq.). Notwithstanding the designation of the Dolly Sods Wilderness 
addition by paragraph (3) of subsection (a) and the designation of the 
Roaring Plains West Wilderness Area by paragraph (5) of such 
subsection, the Secretary may continue to authorize the competitive 
running event permitted from 2003 through 2007 in the vicinity of the 
boundaries of the new wilderness addition and new wilderness area in a 
manner compatible with the area's preservation as wilderness.
  (d) Effective Date of Wilderness Act.--With respect to the Federal 
lands designated as wilderness by subsection (a), any reference in the 
Wilderness Act (16 U.S.C. 1131 et seq.) to the effective date of the 
Wilderness Act shall be deemed to be a reference to the date of the 
enactment of this Act.
  (e) Fish and Wildlife.--As provided in section 4(d)(7) of the 
Wilderness Act (16 U.S.C. 1133(d)(7)), nothing in this section affects 
the jurisdiction or responsibility of the State of West Virginia with 
respect to wildlife and fish.

SEC. 3. BOUNDARY ADJUSTMENT, LAUREL FORK SOUTH WILDERNESS, MONONGAHELA 
                    NATIONAL FOREST.

  (a) Boundary Adjustment.--The boundary of the Laurel Fork South 
Wilderness designated by section 1(3) of Public Law 97-466 (96 Stat. 
2538) is modified to exclude two parcels of land, as generally depicted 
on the map entitled ``Monongahela National Forest Laurel Fork South 
Wilderness Boundary Modification'' and dated March 11, 2008, and more 
particularly described according to the site-specific maps and legal 
descriptions on file in the office of the Forest Supervisor, 
Monongahela National Forest. The general map shall be on file and 
available for public inspection in the Office of the Chief of the 
Forest Service.
  (b) Management.--Federally owned land delineated on the maps referred 
to in subsection (a) as the Laurel Fork South Wilderness, as modified 
by such subsection, shall continue to be administered by the Secretary 
of Agriculture in accordance with Wilderness Act (16 U.S.C. 1131 et 
seq.). Any reference in the Wilderness Act to the effective date of 
that Act shall be deemed to be a reference to the effective date of 
Public Law 97-466 and this Act.

SEC. 4. MONONGAHELA NATIONAL FOREST BOUNDARY CONFIRMATION.

  The boundary of the Monongahela National Forest is confirmed to 
include the tracts of land as generally depicted on the map entitled 
``Monongahela National Forest Boundary Confirmation'' and dated March 
13, 2008, and all Federal lands under the jurisdiction of the Secretary 
of Agriculture, acting through the Chief of the Forest Service, 
encompassed within such boundary shall be managed under the laws and 
regulations pertaining to the National Forest System.

SEC. 5. ENHANCED TRAIL OPPORTUNITIES.

  (a) Plan.--
          (1) In general.--The Secretary of Agriculture, in 
        consultation with interested parties, shall develop a plan to 
        provide for enhanced nonmotorized recreation trail 
        opportunities on lands not designated as wilderness within the 
        Monongahela National Forest.
          (2) Nonmotorized recreation trail defined.--For the purposes 
        of this subsection, the term ``nonmotorized recreation trail'' 
        means a trail designed for hiking, bicycling, and equestrian 
        use.
  (b) Report.--Not later than two years after the date of the enactment 
of this Act, the Secretary of Agriculture shall submit to Congress a 
report on the implementation of the plan required under subsection (a), 
including the identification of priority trails for development.
  (c) Consideration of Conversion of Forest Roads to Recreational 
Uses.--In considering possible closure and decommissioning of a Forest 
Service road within the Monongahela National Forest after the date of 
the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Agriculture, in accordance 
with applicable law, may consider converting the road to nonmotorized 
uses to enhance recreational opportunities within the Monongahela 
National Forest.

                          PURPOSE OF THE BILL

    The purpose of H.R. 5151 is to designate as wilderness 
additional National Forest System lands in the Monongahela 
National Forest in the State of West Virginia, and for other 
purposes.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    H.R. 5151, as reported, designates 37,771 acres of National 
Forest System lands in the Monongahela National Forest in West 
Virginia as wilderness.
    The Monongahela National Forest is comprised of more than 
919,000 acres of federal land in ten counties of eastern West 
Virginia. The forest is a major recreational resource for West 
Virginians as well as people from neighboring states, hosting 
approximately three million visitors annually. Currently, the 
forest has five federally designated wilderness areas 
comprising 78,041 acres: Otter Creek, Dolly Sods, Laurel Fork 
North and South, and the Cranberry Wilderness.
    As part of the revision of the Forest Plan completed in 
2006, 18 roadless areas were inventoried and evaluated for 
their wilderness potential. As a result of this process, H.R. 
5151, as amended, proposes to designate six of the evaluated 
areas, totaling 37,771 acres, as wilderness. Three of the areas 
are additions to existing wilderness: the Cranberry Expansion 
in Webster and Pocahontas Counties, the Dolly Sods Expansion in 
Tucker County, and the Otter Creek Expansion, also in Tucker 
County. The remaining three are proposed new wilderness areas: 
Big Draft in Greenbrier County, Roaring Plains West in 
Pendleton and Randolph Counties, and Spice Run in Greenbrier 
and Pocahontas Counties.
    Under the new Land and Resource Management Plan for the 
Monongahela National Forest, all six areas are currently being 
managed essentially as wilderness. The Cranberry Expansion, the 
Otter Creek Expansion, and Roaring Plains West are under 
Management Prescription 5.1, Recommended Wilderness. The Big 
Draft area, the Dolly Sods Expansion and the Spice Run area are 
under Management Prescription 6.2, Backcountry Recreation. This 
management prescription emphasizes a non-motorized setting with 
a largely natural environment and a lack of management- related 
disturbance.
    The proposed wilderness areas in H.R. 5151 include:
    Big Draft: This 5,144-acre area in the southern tip of the 
forest is located about five miles from White Sulphur Springs, 
the home of the famed Greenbrier Resort. According to the 
Forest Service evaluation of the area, the primary vegetative 
type is oak and hickory with pockets of hemlock and white pine 
as well as black hickory and sassafras. The evaluation makes 
note of the area's ``natural untrammeled appearance, and 
natural ecological processes that are the primary factors 
affecting the area.'' Trout and small-mouth bass fishing are 
considered excellent. The area provides critical habitat for 
various rare and threatened species. The Small Whorled Pogonia, 
a member of the orchid family, is found here as well as the 
Candy Darter (a member of the perch family) and Barbara's 
Buttons (a type of aster). Big Draft has over 13 miles of 
established hiking trails with connectivity to many more. It is 
adjacent to the Big Bend Recreation Area, which has a 
campground and trailhead for the Blue Bend Loop Trail, which 
travels through the proposed wilderness. The area has also been 
popular for wilderness quality whitewater trips down Anthony 
Creek.
    Cranberry Expansion: An 11,951-acre addition to the highly 
popular Cranberry Wilderness, the expansion is located between 
the Williams River on the North and the Cranberry River on the 
South and West. According to the Forest Service evaluation, 
``both natural integrity and appearance are considered high 
over much of the area.'' With elevations approaching 4,400 feet 
along the ridges, the evaluation notes the area ``is a deeply 
dissected high plateau with sharp valleys and many peaks'' with 
vegetation consisting of red spruce, hemlock, mountain ash and 
aspen. The area provides habitat for the West Virginia northern 
flying squirrel, as well as black bear, white-tailed deer and 
beaver. It also contains an excellent trail system and is held 
in high esteem by hunters, anglers and hikers. The combination 
of the Cranberry Wilderness, Cranberry Backcountry and 
Cranberry Expansion would create the largest area of non-
motorized recreational opportunities in West Virginia--a vast 
silent forest primeval.
    Dolly Sods Expansion: Another well-known and popular 
wilderness area, Dolly Sods is proposed to be expanded by 7,156 
acres to the north. Most of the area is a rolling plateau of 
over 3,800 feet in elevation. The Allegheny Front drops 2,200 
feet to the east, just outside the proposed wilderness 
boundary. According to the Forest Service evaluation, ``the bog 
and heath eco-types are more typical of what one would expect 
to find in Maine or southern Canada rather than West 
Virginia.'' Large expanses of heath barrens with blueberries, 
huckleberries and cranberries occupy portions of the plateau. 
In addition to whitetail deer, black bear, grouse, wild turkey, 
and bobcat, snowshoe hares and New England cottontails, unusual 
in West Virginia, are common here. The Cheat Mountain 
salamander and West Virginia northern flying squirrel also make 
their homes in the area. Views west from Cabin Mountain across 
the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge are outstanding. 
This high-altitude wind swept plateau is the site of rapid 
weather changes, including dense fog banks, and sleet and snow 
can occur at any time of the year.
    Otter Creek Expansion: This small 698-acre proposed 
expansion of the Otter Creek Wilderness area has a high natural 
integrity and appearance and is dominated by spruce at its 
higher elevations with a mixture of northern hardwoods. This 
area occupies the northern and eastern flanks of McGowan 
Mountain leading down to the Dry Fork of the Cheat River. It 
provides much of the scenic view for this popular river which 
contains excellent whitewater recreation opportunities and 
trout fishing. The expansion would extend the wildlife habitat 
protection provided by the existing wilderness for animals such 
as black bear, wild turkey and white-tailed deer. The red 
spruce on top of McGowan Mountain provide habitat for the West 
Virginia northern flying squirrel and Cheat Mountain 
salamander.
    Roaring Plains West: This 6,792-acre area located southwest 
of Dolly Sods ranges in elevation from 3,700 feet to over 4,700 
feet and is, according to the Forest Service evaluation, 
minimally affected by outside forces. The Roaring Plains and 
Flatrock Plains areas encompassed by the proposed wilderness 
comprise the highest plateaus in the eastern United States. 
They are part of the geologic backbone of West Virginia called 
the Allegheny Front. The evaluation also notes that this is 
remote backcountry, providing a good opportunity for solitude. 
Special features includean area known as Mt. Porte Crayon, with 
exceptional views. At least seven high elevation wetlands are present 
and are home to the snowshoe hare, bog lemming, and bobcat. Deer, 
turkey and bear are also abundant.
    Spice Run: A proposed 6,030-acre new wilderness, this area 
rises from the Greenbrier River on its western boundary and is 
an extremely remote place primarily accessible from the river. 
There are no system trails within the area. The elevation 
ranges from 2,000 feet along the Greenbrier River to 3,284 feet 
on the top of Slab Camp Mountain. Spice Run, along with Davy 
Run and Kincaid Run, cut steep hollows which delineate the 
terrain. Spice Run is one of the most remote places in the 
state and provides excellent opportunities for solitude and 
backcountry recreation.

                            COMMITTEE ACTION

    H.R. 5151 was introduced on January 29, 2008 by Committee 
on Natural Resources Chairman Nick Rahall (D-WV). The bill was 
referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, and within the 
Committee to the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and 
Public Lands. On February 26, 2008, the Subcommittee on 
National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands held a hearing on the 
bill.
    On April 2, 2008, the Full Natural Resources Committee met 
to consider the bill. Chairman Rahall offered an amendment in 
the nature of a substitute to delete the Cheat Mountain 
Proposed Wilderness Area, make technical corrections to the 
maps and boundaries of the proposed wilderness areas, allow the 
Secretary to continue a competitive running event in the 
vicinity of two proposed wilderness areas, require the 
Secretary of Agriculture to develop a plan to provide for 
enhanced nonmotorized recreation trail opportunities on lands 
not designated as wilderness within the Monongahela National 
Forest, and make a boundary adjustment to the Laurel Fork South 
Wilderness. It was adopted by voice vote. The bill, as amended, 
was then ordered favorably reported to the House of 
Representatives by voice vote.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

Section 1. Short title

    Section 1 cites the short title of H.R. 5151 as the ``Wild 
Monongahela Act: A National Legacy for West Virginia's Special 
Places.''

Section 2. Designation of wilderness, Monongahela National Forest, West 
        Virginia

    Section 2 designates three new proposed wilderness areas in 
the Monongahela National Forest as wilderness, and expands 
three wilderness areas in the Monongahela National Forest.
    Section 2(a)(1) designates 5,144 acres of the Monongahela 
National Forest as the Big Draft Wilderness.
    Section 2(a)(2) adds 11,951 acres of the Monongahela 
National Forest to the Cranberry Wilderness designated by 
section 1(1) of Public Law 97-466.
    Section 2(a)(3) adds 7,156 acres of the Monongahela 
National Forest to the Dolly Sods Wilderness designated by 
section 3(a)(13) of Public Law 93-622.
    Section 2(a)(4) adds 698 acres of the Monongahela National 
Forest to the Otter Creek Wilderness designated by section 
3(a)(14) of Public Law 93-622.
    Section 2(a)(5) designates 6,792 acres of the Monongahela 
National Forest as the Roaring Plains West Wilderness.
    Section 2(a)(6) designates 6,030 acres of the Monongahela 
National Forest as the Spice Run Wilderness.
    Section 2(b) states that as soon as practicable after the 
date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Agriculture 
shall file with the relevant House and Senate Committees a map 
and legal description of each wilderness area.
    Section 2(c) specifies that the federal lands designated by 
subsection (a) shall be administered by the Secretary in 
accordance with the Wilderness Act; and allows the Secretary to 
continue to authorize a competitive running event in the 
vicinity of the boundaries of the Dolly Sods Wilderness 
addition and the Roaring Plains West Wilderness Area in a 
manner compatible with the area's preservation as wilderness.
    Section 2(d) requires that with respect to the federal 
lands designated as wilderness by subsection (a), any reference 
in the Wilderness Act to the effective date of the Wilderness 
Act shall be deemed to be a reference to the date of the 
enactment of this Act.
    Section 2(e) restates that as provided for in the section 
4(d)(7) of the Wilderness Act, nothing in this section affects 
the jurisdiction or responsibilities of the State of West 
Virginia with respect to wildlife and fish.

Section 3. Boundary adjustment, Laurel Fork South Wilderness, 
        Monongahela National Forest

    Section 3(a) adjusts the boundary of the Laurel Fork South 
Wilderness designated by section 1(3) of Public Law 97-466 to 
exclude two parcels of land which contain existing easements 
for access to private property.

Section 4. Monongahela National Forest boundary confirmation

    Section 4 confirms the boundaries of the Monongahela 
National Forest to include tracts of land as generally depicted 
on the map entitled ``Monongahela National Forest Boundary 
Confirmation'' and dated March 13, 2008. The purpose of this 
provision is to incorporate into the National Forest boundary a 
number of purchase units acquired by the Forest Service over 
theyears that are adjacent to the existing boundaries.

Section 5. Enhanced trail opportunities

    Section 5 requires the Secretary of Agriculture, in 
consultation with other parties, to develop a plan to provide 
for enhanced nonmotorized recreation trail opportunities on 
lands not designated as wilderness within the Monongahela 
National Forest. A nonmotorized recreational trail is defined 
as a trail designed for hiking, bicycling, and equestrian use. 
The Secretary of Agriculture is required to submit to Congress 
a report on the implementation of the plan not later than two 
years after the date of the enactment of this Act.

            COMMITTEE OVERSIGHT FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

    Regarding clause 2(b)(1) of rule X and clause 3(c)(1) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
Committee on Natural Resources' oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the body of this report.

                   CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY STATEMENT

    Article I, section 8 of the Constitution of the United 
States grants Congress the authority to enact this bill.

                    COMPLIANCE WITH HOUSE RULE XIII

    1. Cost of Legislation. Clause 3(d)(2) of rule XIII of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives requires an estimate and 
a comparison by the Committee of the costs which would be 
incurred in carrying out this bill. However, clause 3(d)(3)(B) 
of that rule provides that this requirement does not apply when 
the Committee has included in its report a timely submitted 
cost estimate of the bill prepared by the Director of the 
Congressional Budget Office under section 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974.
    2. Congressional Budget Act. As required by clause 3(c)(2) 
of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and 
section 308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, this 
bill does not contain any new budget authority, spending 
authority, credit authority, or an increase or decrease in 
revenues or tax expenditures.
    3. General Performance Goals and Objectives. As required by 
clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII, the general performance goal or 
objective of this bill is to designate as wilderness additional 
National Forest System lands in the Monongahela National Forest 
in the State of West Virginia.
    4. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate. Under clause 
3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives and section 403 of the Congressional Budget Act 
of 1974, the Committee has received the following cost estimate 
for this bill from the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office:

H.R. 5151--Wild Monongahela Act: A National Legacy for West Virginia's 
        Special Places

    H.R. 5151 would designate approximately 38,000 acres of the 
Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia as wilderness. The 
bill also would adjust the boundary of the forest and require 
the Secretary of Agriculture to develop a plan to enhance 
trails within the forest.
    Assuming the availability of appropriated funds, CBO 
estimates that implementing the bill would cost $1.4 million 
over the 2009-2013 period. The funds would be used to survey 
and mark the wilderness area as well as to develop the trail 
plan. Enacting this legislation would have no net impact on 
direct spending and would not affect revenues.
    H.R. 5151 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Tyler Kruzich. 
The estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                    COMPLIANCE WITH PUBLIC LAW 104-4

    This bill contains no unfunded mandates.

                           EARMARK STATEMENT

    H.R. 5151 does not contain any congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined in 
clause 9(d), 9(e) or 9(f) of rule XXI.

                PREEMPTION OF STATE, LOCAL OR TRIBAL LAW

    This bill is not intended to preempt any State, local or 
tribal law.

                        CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

    If enacted, this bill would make no changes in existing 
law.