A bill that would allow logging in State Parks has created conversation and controversy within the state. The Rambling Root in Fairmont is partnering with several West Virginia organizations to host a community discussion and fundraiser in response to the new State Parks legislation.
Kanawha Forest Coalition, Marion County Indivisible, West Virginia River Coalition and more will lead discussions of the legislation and give background information.
Senate Bill 270 was introduced January 15 which will amend current legislation to authorize the Division of Natural Resources to create a management plan for State Park lands. The bill includes the potential collection and sale of timber within the parks.
Rambling Root’s Abigail Amor said she is opposed to some components of the bill but is looking forward to hearing multiple sides of the discussion.
“In some ways, it does propose good things as far as trying to limit the amount of trees that can be logged in the state parks, but I just see it as a really big doorway that if we start to let some of them be logged then they can just keep going, but I don’t understand how we can try to log the parks and then hope that people are going to still want to be going and taking hikes while you see logs trucks going in and out.”
Governor Justice said the management and care of maturing forests within the State Parks and expanding recreation is the goal of the legislation. He also said the Division of Forestry will consult with the Division of Natural Resources and the State Park Superintendents to come up with a viable plan.
The opponents of the bill are not well informed on the subject and use scare tactics and untruths to make the public think the legislation will allow clear-cutting, according to Governor Justice.
The bill would lift an 80-year ban on commercial logging in West Virginia’s State Parks and potentially pay for state park maintenance and upkeep. Governor Justice feels the selective cutting would increase wildlife, lessens the chance of wildfires, create more accessibility for visitors, and bring revenue into the parks.
Ramblin’ Root is hosting the event Friday from 5-8 p.m. Funds raised will benefit West Virginians for Public Land alliance which is coordinating the #SOSPARKS campaign.