Did you know that we are one of the few land trusts across the nation protecting connected parcels, increasing the quality of wildlife habitat?

The Trust uses the green infrastructure approach to conservation planning, which prioritizes larger, contiguous areas of preserved land. Connecting and expanding areas of preserved land using protected hubs and corridors across the landscape not only benefits wildlife through the preservation of their habitats, but also benefits the local economy through the preservation of large areas of working lands used for agriculture and forestry.

Listening to the Land: Stories from the Cacapon and Lost River Valley

Listening to the Land

Listening to the Land: Stories from the Cacapon and Lost River Valley
Written by Jamie S. Ross
Photography by Tom Cogill

Listening to the Land, commissioned by the Cacapon & Lost Rivers Land Trust and published by West Virginia University Press, is a tribute to the people of the Cacapon and Lost River Valley, past and present. Listening to the Land captures the stories about, and powerful photographs of, the love people have for this Valley and their land. These stories describe why some land can’t be bought because of deep family connections forged by a long history, hard labor, or simply by time sitting with a child under a tree. It’s also a book about how land use change is affecting the Valley and the families who live here. This book is upbeat, inspirational, and educational. It will make anyone who ever spent time or owned land in the Cacapon and Lost River Valley proud of the land ethic and stewardship that has made and keeps this Valley the special place it is today.

Read or listen to a review

West Virginia Public Radio reviews the book

Chesapeake Bay Journal Review


The book was funded in part by the West Virginia Stream Partners grant program, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the National Parks Service.

About the collaborators

Author, Jamie S. Ross, is the producer and co-writer of the acclaimed four-part PBS environmental history series A History of Mountains and Peoples, for which she received the Mountain Hero award from the Mountain Institute.

Tom Cogill is a freelance photographer. His work has appeared in National Geographic, US News & World Report, American Heritage, and other publications.

Taxes Reduced on Protected Parcels!

May 2012

The Hampshire, Morgan  and Hardy County Assessors will apply the Farm Use Valuation real estate tax rate to all properties with a permanent conservation easement attached to their deeds. The Farm Use Valuation is the lowest real estate valuation rate provided in West Virginia. This is a permanent real estate tax rate adjustment. No future application or verification will be needed by you, or by a new landowner, even if your land is sold of gifted.

If your property is already taxed as a farm, you will not see a reduction in your real estate tax rate. If your property is not a farm and you are registered for Managed Timberland Valuation, you will see a minor decrease in your tax rate. All other landowners whose property is protected by a permanent conservation easement agreement should see a dramatic real estate tax rate decrease. 

If your present real estate valuation is not farm use, and you do not see a decrease in your real estate tax assessment on your protected land once you have signed a conservation easement agreement, contact your County Assessor before the end of the year, so the mistake can be corrected. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact me at (304) 856-1010.

As always, it’s a pleasure to work with you! The Trust’s Board and I deeply appreciate your commitment to a better future for our natural resources and for this Valley. We will continue to provide you with the best service we can to support the permanent protection of our special places throughout the Lost/Cacapon River Valley. Please tell your neighbors who have not protected their land about this potentially enormous real eastate tax benefit and about the wildlife benefits of protecting connected parcels!


Nancy Ailes, Executive Director