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the Degree Confluence Project
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United States : West Virginia

2.1 miles (3.3 km) NE of Nobe (Calhoun), Gilmer, WV, USA
Approx. altitude: 290 m (951 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest Multimap topo aerial world confnav)
Antipode: 39°S 99°E

Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: Gas meter on hillside 100' down the hill (South of) the Confluence. #3: From N39-W81 looking down 40% slope toward tributary of Trace Fork. #4: Sandstone outcrop over tributary of Trace Fork 400' South of Confluence. #5: Access road in creek - Confluence is on hillside behind truck. #6: Close encounter of the rock kind - Turn North here.

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  39°N 81°W (visit #1)  

#1: Mixed hardwoods on the hillside location of N39-W81 in Gilmer County, WV.

(visited by Tim Roush and Dawna Roush)

25-Mar-2001 -- This confluence is in the heart of oil & gas country about 9.7 miles WNW of Glenville, the county seat of Gilmer County, W.Va. It is about 6100 feet up an unnamed tributary of Trace Fork at the northern end of County Road No.16.

A friend of mine learned about the Confluence Project and suggested I try to visit a confluence in West Virginia. I visited the web site and was immediately intrigued with the idea. Fortunately N39 W81 had not yet been visited and it was the closest one to me, so my wife and I decided to make the attempt.

On a chilly Sunday morning in March, we left Parkersburg, WV driving east to Smithville where we turned south on State Route 16 to Five Forks. There we took the Trace Fork Road east for about 4 miles to County Road No.16, (you'll know where to turn when you see the red farmhouse with a 50-ton boulder leaning up against its west wall -- see photo). We turned north up the narrow dirt road until it eventually gave up and dropped down into the creek. From my planning, I knew that the county-maintained portion of this road (if you can call a road in the creek "maintained") only went up this creek 0.9 mi. and that the confluence was another 2000 feet beyond that. The USGS topo maps, however, showed the road continuing north so we hoped for the best. Eventually the road climbed back out of the creek and, to our relief, continued northerly past an old house and on to the vicinity of the confluence. When we got to a fork in the hollow on the west we parked and got out to walk the rest of the way. We hiked down a steep embankment (well, actually my wife slid down) only to find an oil & gas lease road in the hollow that we could have driven had we known it was there. From there it was an easy 600 foot walk up the lease road that led us to within 100 feet of the confluence.

39° north, 81° west is located about 100 feet northeast of the lease road on a steep, wooded southwest-facing hillside at an elevation of about 970'. The site is on a 40% slope in a mixed hardwood forest of oaks, maples, beech and hickory. To the southwest of the site is a small stream running southeast with an impressive sandstone outcrop hanging some ten feet out over the creek. To the northeast is a narrow ridge point some 200 feet distant.

The entire area is a prolific producer of oil and natural gas (see the gas meter in the photos) and pipelines, tank batteries and wellheads are found throughout the surrounding hills. Although many of these hillsides were cleared and tilled in the past by the hardscrabble settlers of the area, the hills have, over time, become reforested and the region now produces a large amount of commercial timber.


 All pictures
#1: Mixed hardwoods on the hillside location of N39-W81 in Gilmer County, WV.
#2: Gas meter on hillside 100' down the hill (South of) the Confluence.
#3: From N39-W81 looking down 40% slope toward tributary of Trace Fork.
#4: Sandstone outcrop over tributary of Trace Fork 400' South of Confluence.
#5: Access road in creek - Confluence is on hillside behind truck.
#6: Close encounter of the rock kind - Turn North here.
ALL: All pictures on one page (broadband access recommended)