The Forest Stewardship Program (FSP) provides technical assistance, through State forestry agency partners, to nonindustrial private forest (NIPF) owners to encourage and enable active long-term forest management. A primary focus of the Program is the development of comprehensive, multi-resource management plans that provide landowners with the information they need to manage their forests for a variety of products and services.
NRCS accomplishes its mission by working closely with West Virginia’s 14 conservation districts and six Resource Conservation and Development Councils (RC &D). These locally elected or appointed community leaders ensure that local conservation concerns are met. The WV Conservation Agency and NRCS balance their specific local needs with a coordinated state and national conservation effort. NRCS employees serve all 55 West Virginia counties from 31 field offices across the state. Staff includes engineers, conservationists, technicians, soil scientists, RC&D coordinators, and volunteers. These employees work hand-in-hand with land users to conserve natural resources on private lands. The NRCS manages the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (www.wv.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/whip.html).
The mission of the West Virginia Division of Forestry is to protect and manage all State Forest resources through partnerships emphasizing a stewardship ethic. Forests provide a multitude of benefits and are a source of emotional, spiritual, and financial well being for the population in general. These benefits have tangible and intangible values. It has been said that the quality of life for modern man is in direct proportion to the health, quality, and abundance of the forest resource. The WV DOF manages the WV Forest Stewardship Program, the Forest Land Enhancement Program (FLEP), and the WV Forest Legacy Program.
The West Virginia Conservation Agency (WVCA) coordinates statewide conservation efforts. The West Virginia State Code charges the WVCA to conserve natural resources, control floods, prevent impairment of dams and reservoirs, assist in maintaining the navigability of rivers and harbors, conserve wildlife, protect the tax base, protect public lands and protect and promote the health, safety and general welfare of the people. Through the guidance of this agency and its partnerships, including six RC&D councils, resources are brought to local communities and land users to address a broad range of priority conservation issues. They are spearheading the Multiflora Rose Control Program.
Taylor County Tour: Thursday, July 8 at 6 pm
Forest Stewardship property tour near McGee in Taylor County, WV. Light refreshments served beforehand at 5:45 pm.
Nathan Kincaid was the 2007 Tree Farmer of the Year. He will lead us on a tour of his 436-acre property, where he's had a Forest Stewardship plan since 2002. When he purchased the property, it had been heavily logged and Nathan’s goal was to rehabilitate it. He first removed cull trees and grapevines as well as tree-of-heaven, a highly invasive tree species. He's now working on reforesting his property with oak, walnut, and cherry, using a very efficient tree planting technique that he designed himself. Nathan has also constructed some roads. We'll see many good examples of replanting and forest regeneration.
Putnam County Tour: Saturday, July 24 at 10 am
Forest Stewardship property tour near Winfield in Putnam County, WV. A light lunch will be served after the tour.
Gary Young will lead us on a tour of his 900-acre Tree Farm property, where he has completed wildlife food plots, roads, and other improvements. Tree-of-heaven, a highly invasive tree, is growing on part of Gary’s property. We will discuss the problems that tree-of-heaven can cause and see a demonstration of the best methods to remove this destructive species. We’ll also visit Gary’s large trophy room, with specimens from around the world.
Pendleton County Tour: Saturday, August 21 at 10 am
Forest Stewardship property tour near Franklin in Pendleton County, WV. A light lunch will be served after the tour.
Charles Agle will lead us on a tour of his 355-acre property, which is under a conservation easement and which has a sustainable forest management plan. Charles has planted wildlife food plots with native bluegrass and has done a mast tree release. He has worked to reintroduce American chestnut on his property by planting the blight-resistant variety grown by the state tree nursery. Agroforestry is also one his interests and he is beginning to raise shitake mushrooms. Charles is passionate about finding ways to make forest land profitable while continuing to protect and enhance it.
Hardy County Tour: Saturday, September 11 at 10 am
Forest Stewardship property tour near Moorefield in Hardy County, WV. A light lunch will be served after the tour.
Lee (Buck) Barb will lead us on a tour of his maple syrup operation, where he taps 4,000 trees with a vacuum system to maintain consistent sap production. Buck uses the reverse osmosis process instead of boiling the sap down, which reduces his fuel costs by over 70 percent. Buck is very knowledgeable about the history and lore of maple syrup production in this area as well as the newest technologies that can help producers maintain a viable maple syrup operation.
Preston County Tour: Saturday, September 18 at 10 am
Forest Stewardship property tour near Bruceton Mills in Preston County, WV. A light lunch will be served after the tour.
Bill Slagle will lead us on a tour of his Walnut Meadows farm near Bruceton Mills where he raises black walnuts, ginseng, shitake mushrooms and other products. Agroforestry practices require intense management and the Slagles say they have made a lot of mistakes along the way, but that is how they've educated themselves.
The Slagles were selected as West Virginia's 1998 Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year. Some of their numerous Tree Farm activities include selective timber harvests, forest stand improvement thinnings, prunings for veneer sawtimber, access road construction, a ten-acre walnut planting, a two-acre paulownia planting, cultivation of seven acres of ginseng, commercial shitake mushroom production, nature trail construction, and the collection of mosses and greenery for the floral industry.
Bill also has a collection of antique farm machinery and a large and active woodshop. Native brook trout have recently returned to his stream.
Marion County Tour: Saturday, October 2 at 10 am
Forest Stewardship property tour near Fairmont in Marion County, WV. A light lunch will be served at 12:30 pm. Afternoon tour at 1:30 pm.
State Landowner Assistance Forester Juergen Wildman will lead workshop participants on tours of his own property and an adjacent property. Juergen has planted many hardwoods and conifers on his land, and will demonstrate planting techniques using two types of tree shelters. He has also experimented with various techniques to eradicate highly invasive plants such as oriental bittersweet and multiflora rose, and will share his trials and tribulations so we can learn from his experiences. Juergen will cover many other topics including his ginseng crops, the correct way to thin red maples, and the effects of heavy deer grazing on forest regeneration.
Jim & Dot Ice's property, which we'll visit in the afternoon, is the oldest Tree Farm property in West Virginia: it was signed up in 1956 and nominated for national Tree Farm of the Year. We'll see an area that has been high-graded in the past and the forest stand that has resulted, which is dominated by beech, maple, gum, and other low-value trees. We'll see examples of what makes a good road system through a forested property, and visit an interesting old family cemetery on the Ice’s property.
The West Virginia Wildlife Diversity Program (WDP) and Natural Heritage Program are responsible for those species listed by the federal government as threatened or endangered, as well as nongame wildlife and their habitats. Nongame wildlife includes those species which are not fished, hunted or trapped. More than 80% of West Virginia’s wildlife is classified as nongame, including: 299 species of birds, 67 mammals, 46 amphibians, 42 reptiles, 180 fishes, 130 butterflies and thousands of other invertebrates, as well as over 2800 plant species.