Pocahontas state forest tour scheduled - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Pocahontas state forest tour scheduled

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West Virginia's Division of Forestry will conduct a public tour at Calvin Price State Forest in Pocahontas County at 11 a.m. Dec. 15.

This is an informational tour for the public to learn about plans for a proposed timber management project prescribed to provide young forest habitat good for grouse, woodcock and the golden-winged warbler. The proposed harvest area is located on the west face of Beaver Lick Mountain, behind the yellow gate on the east side of Beaver Creek. This is the opportunity for the public to learn about the project in order to provide written input.

Participants should gather at the maintenance area along the entrance road to Beaver Creek Campground. Bring substantial footwear, clothing appropriate for the weather, snacks and water. The tour will involve a one-half to one mile hike mostly on old skid roads, and there are some hills along the tour path.

The forest was the last to be added to the West Virginia State Forest system. It is named in honor of the late Calvin W. Price, a Marlinton newspaper editor, prominent citizen and leading proponent of the purchase and ultimate designation of this area as a state forest.

Calvin Price State Forest consists of more than 9,400 contiguous acres located in southern Pocahontas County, adjacent to Watoga State Park, near Hillsboro. A small area in the southeast part of the Forest extends into Greenbrier County. The bulk of the forest was purchased from the New River Lumber Company in 1953.

Unlike most of the other state forests, Calvin Price has no developed recreational areas. This is due largely to the forest's close proximity to Watoga, one of West Virginia's largest recreational parks. Some primitive camping areas are available, and hunting opportunities abound for both small game and large game hunters. Nearly two-thirds of the forest is accessible only by foot.

A management plan was implemented in the 1970s but harvesting had to be done earlier than expected. A severe ice storm in 1979 felled about 400 acres of timber, necessitating salvage operations. Since that time another harvest has been conducted and a third is scheduled for completion in late 2014. The three harvests average 355 acres in size and will remove about 1.2 million board feet per harvest.

The focus of forest management on Calvin Price is directed toward maintaining the vigorous growth and good health of the forest. The harvests are focused on diseased, damaged, suppressed or overstocked stands, removing only those trees necessary to sustain productive woodlands while providing for a diverse mixture of wildlife habitat.

For information about the tour, contact State Lands Manager Barbara Breshockat 304-256-6775 or via email at Barbara.A.Breshock@wv.gov.