Proposal to allow logging in WV state parks getting mixed reaction

A bill in the West Virginia Legislature would allow logging in state parks. (WCHS/WVAH)

West Virginia state parks could be open for logging if a bill before the Legislature becomes a reality. Supporters say it's a responsible management of trees in state parks, while others worry about the long-term impact of logging.

It's the relaxing sounds of nature that bring John and Roberta Maynard to Chief Logan State Park in Logan County on a regular basis. They are concerned about a bill in the Legislature that would open state parks to logging.

"I don't think they need to be thinking that way," John Maynard said. "There's a lot of timber in West Virginia still yet that hasn't been touched without coming into a park like this."

The bill calls for logging limits not exceeding the average of four trees per acre per tract, and not to exceed half the sellable timber on an acre.

"This park isn't that big. It wouldn't look good if you come in and took the timber out. Even restricted wouldn't look good," he said.

Sen. Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, said, however, he would "love to make sure that everyone understands that we're not destroying our state parks."

The bill is a proposal from Gov. Jim Justice. Carmichael, the bill's sponsor, said lawmakers have no intention of damaging the beauty of state parks.

"The effort here is to avoid a situation perhaps like in California where we had devastation from forest fires and so forth. We're trying to responsibly manage the state park area," Carmichael said.

But John Maynard is not convinced.

"I wouldn't like it. I really wouldn't. Can't come down here and enjoy nature if you have all these log trucks running around. It wouldn't look good," said Maynard, leaving him to wonder how long he and his wife will be able to enjoy peacefulness of a state park.

The bill was sent to the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and the Senate Finance Committee.

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