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More Land Added to Monongahela National Forest

The Monongahela National Forest has gotten a little bit bigger.

The Charleston Gazette reports that 1,080 acres have been added by a deal between The Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Forest Service.

The Nature Conservancy acquired the property nearly a year ago and sold it to the Forest Service for $1.73 million. The money comes from a fund financed by royalties from offshore drilling. The land used to be owned by MeadWestvaco.

Conservancy spokesman Thomas Minney says the land is ecologically important. Among other things, it has habitat for the endangered Cheat Mountain salamander.

The Monongahela National Forest already sprawls across 920,000 acres in ten counties.

©2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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