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Old 03-22-2011, 08:15 AM
 
3 posts, read 6,853 times
Reputation: 10

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Hello all.

My wife and I are considering purchasing property in beautiful WV. Right now, we're considering a parcel in Southern Roane county.

We're only looking for about 20-30 acres, and we have yet to see one parcel of this size that comes with any mineral rights. The larger parcels that have rights are so far out of our price range they may as well not be available at all.

We're not interested in getting rich on petroleum speculation, nor do we have any objections to drilling for natural resources.

However, my wife is an avid gardener. We plan on purchasing this property to build a home in the future, but in the meantime, we plan on putting up some orchards, preparing for gardens, having a water well drilled, and camping out down there until we're lucky enough to get a job in Charleston, or until we retire.

Looking at the geological survey, there's been comparitively little coal mining in Roane, and little Marcellus activity in the southern part of the county. Of course, that could change.

I've seen some images of what happens to the land to give a driller access, especially for fracking, and it sure isn't pretty. We're worried that we'll invest years of sweat into our property, only to have some drilling company cut a swath through our forest, orchards, or gardens and leave a messy scar for generations.

What's the reality on the ground in WV? Are we making too big a deal out of this - we've seriously considered other states because the WV situation seems like a mess for surface owners who value the scenery. I don't suppose there's any way to get them to restore the trees back to something close to what they were - it doesn't seem right that they can tear down parts of your forest, and leave you with lawn grass, but that seems to be the way it is.

Is there any realistic way to work with a driller - perhaps choose where they drill on your acreage and mitigate the roughshod way they seem to slash into your property to get the equipment in? I know we can't stop drilling if it comes, nor do we necessarily want to, we just don't want an eyesore on our land.

Buying property in WV has been a dream both my wife and I shared even before we were married, but reading up on the mineral situation down there (we're currently up in Cleveland OH) has made us wonder if it's even worth pursuing. We're moving down there for the scenery, the dark skies, and the quiet and to have a degree of isolation and independence not really possible anywhere else.
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Old 03-23-2011, 01:42 PM
 
Location: Puerto Penasco, Mexico
967 posts, read 2,890,693 times
Reputation: 527
Chrisser,

As a pilot, I fly all over the state on a near daily basis. There is VERY little impact from mining (even MTR). In my estimation, less than 1% of what I see from the air is a "scar". Look for property that contains the mineral rights, that will help you protect your place. Even without them, most companies want to work with land owners when running wells and roads. Sure, they own the rights, but if they work WITH the owners, it usually work to everyones advantage.
Down here in Summers county (Between Beckley and Lewisburg) there is no active mining. The property you're looking for is all around. We have a very robust Locavore economy with younger people (30-40's, so relative!) moving in and starting small farms. I moved here from Virginia Beach, and we love it.
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Old 03-23-2011, 01:50 PM
 
3 posts, read 6,853 times
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Thanks HB. That's reassuring.

Beckley/Hinton is where we first started looking. We really like it down there.

However, there's a lot more affordable property up towards Roane. We're open to a pretty large part of the state - just depends on what we find.

I guess our concern with the scarring is more of a percentage.

If we had 100 acres, then a 1/2 acre drilling area would be almost meaningless.

But with 20 acres, that's a good chunk of your property de-timbered with a big, graveled access road leading to it. Would take decades for that to grow back.

Still probably not so bad if it's on the other side of your parcel from your home, but if it's destroying the view or the orchards you carefully constructed, then it would be kinda heartbreaking.
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Old 03-23-2011, 02:12 PM
 
Location: Puerto Penasco, Mexico
967 posts, read 2,890,693 times
Reputation: 527
The access roads I see most often look like ATV trails and not big graveled roads. I know that no one really wants them, but unless you have a bunch of wells on your place, I'd expect a pretty small footprint. I also looked in Roane county, but I found the air and water to be far, far cleaner down here. Google "sperlings best places" and type in 25951 (ZIP) and go to the "health" tab at the top, then compare that with the areas you're searching. For us, clean air and water were a "must have". For the record, I have yet to find a place with cleaner air/water! Let me know if you do.
~Mark
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