After two days of presentations, join us for the optional field tour on Friday, March 20th. Vans will leave from the main conference facility at the Charleston Marriott.
Almost 12 million acres of West Virginia, about 79% of the state, is forested. Families and individuals, corporations, and other private entities own most of forest land (52, 34, and 1 %, respectively). The U.S. Forest Service, state of West Virginia, and other public entities own the remainder (9, 3, and 2 %, respectively).
Our all-day field trip includes visits to a privately owned forest under active management and a visit to view reclamation of mine land to forest. The sites are roughly within an hour to an hour and a half drive of downtown Charleston and each other. We will leave from the Charleston Marriott Town Center.
At this privately-owned forest, near the town of Walton in Roane County, we will see examples of projects under a recent stewardship improvement plan including: improvement harvests, non-commercial timber stand improvement, considerations for riparian and wetland area protection, invasive plant issues, and wildlife habitat creation. Our tour will be conducted by the consulting forester who developed the 2017 stewardship plan.
We will arraign for lunch to be provided at one of the picnic shelters at Kanawha State Forest (https://wvstateparks.com/park/kanawha-state-forest/).
Reclamation of mine sites to productive forest land is a perennial topic in West Virginia. Our second stop is a site where the Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative (ARRI) forestry reclamation approach has been implemented. The goals of ARRI are to encourage the planting of more high value hardwood trees in reclamation efforts, to increase the survival and growth rates of these planted trees, and expedite the establishment of forest habitat through natural succession on these sites. Our tour will be led by a core team member of ARRI from the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement. For more information on ARRI visit – https://arri.osmre.gov/Default.shtm.
Data on the forests in West Virginia are from this report – https://www.fs.fed.us/nrs/pubs/ru/ru_fs123.pdf