Tree Cutting Controversy Discussed in Sissonville

By: Jennifer Rizzi Email
By: Jennifer Rizzi Email

SISSONVILLE, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A proposal to harvest trees at one 4-H Camp is stirring reaction from the community.

Kanawha County planners held a public meeting Monday night to discuss a proposal to timber Camp Virgil Tate.

They say money from the harvesting would go straight into a fund to build a new community pool.

"It may take about three years to do the whole thing and do it responsibly," said county engineer John Luoni. "But we'll be following it very closely."

Camp leaders say they've needed a new pool since the current one, which was built in the 1960s, closed down five years ago.

"The concrete is totally falling away," manager Justin Lynch said. "It's completely unsafe and just rotting."

Neighbors like Delbert Atkins say they'd like to see a new pool but aren't happy with the idea of harvesting trees.

"You need to put on your boots and walk through the property before doing this," Atkins said. "We need to be thinking about the generations that are going to go to this camp and see a good stand of timber."

But camp leaders say harvesting will actually help the health of the forest.

"The trees are old and dying and rotting out, and they're taking useful timber as they fall down," Lynch said.

Division of Forestry members say they will be involved at every step in the process if the proposal goes forward.

Officials say building a new pool will cost about $750,000. About $40,000 of that money is expected to come from timbering the camp property.

The rest will come from harvesting surrounding areas, camp leaders say.

The issue will be discussed again at Wednesday's county commission meeting.

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