State Parks’ Harvests Bill

Governor Jim Justice said in a press release during the Legislative Session that proper management and care of our maturing forests within the state parks and expanding recreational opportunities is the goal of a legislation (SB 270/HB 4182) before the West Virginia Legislature and that opponents aren’t well informed as to what the proposal really is designed to accomplish.

“The facts are we need to do a better job managing these forest lands within our State Parks,” Gov. Justice said. “If we don’t, wildlife species will continue to decline, substantially. The trees won’t bear fruit, the wildlife will die a brutal death or leave to find food in other locations, there will be few birds, and the potential for wildfires to ravage these areas increases dramatically.”

“You’ve got to have a responsible management plan and our Division of Forestry and our State Foresters, in consultation with the Division of Natural Resources and the State Park Superintendents, will come up with the right plan. They are the experts. Once we do some very selective cuts then those log roads can be converted into trails and provide better access for visitors.”

Gov. Justice went on to say that opponents to the Legislation really aren’t well-informed on the subject and have used scare tactics and untruths to make the public think it is nothing more than a clear-cutting timber operation.

“We are not cutting away any pristine forests,” Gov. Justice said. “For years these lands have been under-managed and we just can’t continue to operate that way. This is a conservation effort designed to restore and improve the health of our state park lands. Those who are claiming  anything else just don’t know what they are talking about. Again, these efforts will substantially increase all wildlife species.”

What a very selective cut DOES for our parks:

  • Significantly increases wildlife
  • Lessens the chance of wildfires
  • Creates more accessibility for our visitors
  • Reduces Disease and Insect infiltration
  • Brings in revenue to improve all aspects of our parks

What a very selective cut DOES NOT do for our parks:

  • Take away any of the pristine look at the parks
  • Allow clear cutting
  • Allow for more than 4 trees to be cut per acre
  • Allow for cutting in areas that are currently being used or are easily accessible

“I trust that our lawmakers are conducting their due diligence and will conclude that this is unquestionably the right way for us to proceed in the future.”