Mountain Watershed Association just took a big step toward a sustainable future! As our organization operates in a large, rural area, MWA staff members must use their own (mainly gas-powered) vehicles to travel around the 1,133,449 acre Youghiogheny River watershed. Although we carpool whenever possible, this reliance on fossil fuels stands at odds with our mission to reduce air and water pollution in our area. Seeing this issue, the Walter Limbach Family Fund made a donation specifically for us to purchase a Ford F-150 Lightning XLT. We’re thrilled with this opportunity, and incredibly grateful to our funders!
The Lightning, named MotorTrend’s 2023 Truck of the Year, is 100% electric. It will mainly be charged at our office in Melcroft, which is powered by rooftop solar panels. On a single charge, this truck can travel up to 320 miles (although we’re curious to see how it does in our hilly watershed). With its high clearance, four-wheel drive, and tons of new safety features, the Lightning will be a safe and steady vehicle to drive around our mountainous region.
With its large payload capacity and roomy bed, the Lightning also has plenty of space for gear and tools. This vehicle will be ideal for our conservation team to conduct weekly water sampling and monitoring, maintain our AMD treatment systems, and work on the Indian Creek Valley Trail (saving them several weekly trips using gas-powered vehicles)! While they’re out in the field, our conservation staff and volunteers can use the truck’s external outlets to run electric power tools, charge computers, and even inflate rafts on the go!
As our advocacy work relies heavily on in-person connections, our community advocates and organizers will now be able to travel to community meetings, site visits, county courthouses, and government offices with less environmental impact. On the weekends, you’ll see the outreach team using the truck to hold education workshops, attend local festivals, and organize river cleanups!
The Ford Lightning is an incredible tool that we’re excited to add to our operations! This modern pickup truck is built to handle any situation, hauling people as comfortably as cargo and trailers. The host of features opens up a world of possibilities in all of our work. Best of all, we’ll be able to complete these tasks with fewer expenses at the pump and a smaller carbon footprint on our earth.