Earth Day 2017: The Coopers Rock watchmen

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – As rain fell on a cold Saturday morning, volunteers laced up their boots and traveled to Coopers Rock to revitalize Mother Nature. 

Attendees planted trees next to the overlook parking lots before restoring the Trout Pond and the daytime parking trails in the afternoon. 

Adam Polinksi works on a trail at Coopers Rock State Park. The park is located off of I-68 between Morgantown and Bruceton Mills.

“The next generation of forest isn’t going to happen naturally, so we’re intervening,” Adam Polinski, project coordinator and founding member of the Coopers Rock Foundation, said. “There’s too much soil compaction from all of the human activity from April. 1 through November 31 – when the gate is open, that’s a very popular area. They also mow, so anything that might come up naturally would have been accidentally mowed down.”

When pulling into the daytime parking lot, one could not miss the blue pickup with the bright yellow flag: ‘Coopers Rock Foundation,’ in bold, black type stretched across the front. Shovels and rakes were spread around the site, patiently waiting for someone to use them.

Two students were with Polinski at the end of a set of wheelbarrow tracks, working to spread and set gravel on the beat up trail. The group also dug water drainage paths along dips in the trail.

“I should be out here working with you,’ a passing jogger said to Polinski. “Thank you for what you’re doing.”

This story was completed in April 2017 for The Daily Athenaeum, WVU’s independent student newspaper. Photos by Andrew Spellman.

Andrew Spellman

A West Virginia University Reed College of Media alum, Andrew has a deep passion for his field of work. He is currently a sports and outdoors writer for The Dominion Post in Morgantown, WV, and a current issues and affairs writer for Project Upland. He also runs his blog, Hill & Holler, on the side.

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