Court stops Pipeline’s timbering of “The Wilderness” (for now)

Today the Fourth Circuit issued an order preventing imminent tree cutting by the Atlantic Coast Pipeline on “The Wilderness,” a 1,000-acre farm listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has issued a “stay pending appeal” staying an earlier decision from the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia, which would have allowed the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to begin cutting trees on the property immediately. Appalachian Mountain Advocates represents The Wilderness in this action.

The Wilderness is a farm that has been in continuous cultivation since approximately 1750 following a land grant from King George II. Cattle raised on the farm were sent to feed soldiers during the French & Indian War. The home on the property was built by Revolutionary War General Samuel Blackburn and his wife Anne in 1797. An underground spring has provided water to the house since the early 1800s. The property contains forests that have never been timbered.

The Wilderness is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register. It has been deemed by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources to be a “Virginia Treasure.” The Virginia Outdoors Foundation holds two conservation easements meant to protect the property from development.

The farm is now owned by the Koontz family, who has consistently resisted the Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s efforts to obtain an easement to cross through the center of the property.


About Appalachian Mountain Advocates:
Appalachian Mountain Advocates (Appalmad) is a non-profit law and policy center dedicated to fighting for clean water and a clean energy future. Appalmad has a long history of winning precedent-setting court cases. The organization represents scores of landowners and grassroots organizations challenging four unnecessary interstate pipelines in Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Appalmad has worked for nearly 20 years to ensure the fossil fuel industry cannot continue to dump its costs of doing business onto the public. For more information, visit