Drive on Highland Scenic Highway part of Monongahela celebration

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Vintage photo from Highland Scenic Highway
Visitors stop along the newly completed Highland Scenic Highway c. 1967.

Officials with the Monongahela National Forest are encouraging the public to participate in Scenic Drive Day at the Cranberry Mountain Nature Center on Saturday, June 17, as part of the center’s fiftieth-anniversary celebration.

Live mountain music, a classic-car cruise-in, and the opportunity to join other like-minded travelers on the highway are all partof the day-long event, according to forester Diana Stull, who recommends visitors pick up a $4 audio tour of the historic route through the highlands.

“Pick up a copy of the Highland Scenic Highway Audio Tour CD, pop it into your CD player in your car, and head to the Nature Center,” Stull said.

“The CD contains interviews with local residents, former and current forest service employees, state DNR employees, and local historians.

“Traditional music serves as the background to the interviews which pertain to the 19 stops along routes 39 and 150 and feature logging history, recollections of Millpoint Federal Prison, CCC camp life, and historical information on the city of Richwood.”

Stull said CDs may be obtained at the Oakford Diner, Richwood Chamber of Commerce or Gauley Ranger District offices in Richwood, in Marlinton at the Pocahontas County Convention & Visitors Bureau or the Marlinton Ranger Station, or by calling the Cranberry Mountain Nature Center at 304-653-4826.

The classic car cruise-in at the nature center starts at noon, though participants who wish to display their automobiles should arrive by 11:45 a.m. and plan to leave it on display until 2 p.m. Prizes will be awarded, she said.

Visitors are also encouraged to bring a picnic lunch and enjoy “Music on Cranberry Mountain” featuring the Black Mountain Bluegrass Boys on the Nature Center stage starting at 1 p.m.
Photographers should ask at the center’s front desk about the season-long photography contest starting soon, she said. Prizes will be awarded at the end of season in several categories.

The Cranberry Mountain Nature Center is open Thursday through Monday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays). The Nature Center features a display area with live snakes, wildflowers, interactive children’s displays, and animals of West Virginia. There is also a nature store with books, clothing, and toys.

For more information about the Nature Center and its programs, call 304-653-4826.

For more information about the celebration, email Diana Stull at dstull@fs.fed.us or visit the forest service webpage.