(Editor's note: This is the latest installment from the Tyler County Planning Commission in conjunction with the Tyler County Bicentennial.)
In the two previous features of "Celebrating the Tyler County Bicentennial," the history of The Jug was related, as were the unfulfilled plans for a West Virginia State Park during the mid-1960's. This installment is dedicated to The Jug's present deteriorating condition and possibilities for its future.
Down through history The Jug has been a natural phenomenon and a center for commerce. But what is it today? It is still the location of a roadside tavern. But, The Jug's natural features are in jeopardy.
Today, the low water bridge which was also intended to direct the flow of Middle Island Creek on its natural course, no longer seems to be up to the task.
The greatest change in several decades was the acquisition of most of the land bordered by The Jug stream course by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. This land purchase continues south of The Jug and over Klondike Ridge into Foster and Wheelers Runs. This land is designated as The Jug Public Hunting and Fishing Area.
The years have taken its toll on the unique geology and geography of The Jug, in the form of erosion. The low water bridge has served its purpose over the years, to divert the non-flooding flow around the normal course of The Jug. But, today the Middle Island Creek is eroding the soil and rock at each end of the bridge. The DNR has lengthened the far end of the bridge, but that too is now eroding.
Currently the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, Department of Environmental Protection, and the Division of Highways are conducting studies on how to best correct the problem. It has been one year and three months since the last local contact from these agencies. Unless corrections are made, the normal pool of Middle Island Creek will eventually take a path of least resistance.
The remaining natural channel will become a strip of marsh and the special nature of The Jug will become history.