Destruction to Kanawaha State Forest

By: Laurabree Austin
By: Laurabree Austin

Some say the destruction of landscape in a popular state forest is a big mistake. 300 trees are now gone forever at Kanawha State Forest because a gas company built a road in the wrong place.

Equitable Production was supposed to expand an existing road, but instead started fresh and destroyed a large section of land.

The plan was to expand this small road so the gas company could get their equipment through. Instead, they went over a ridge that crosses Wildcat Ridge Trail.

Park superintendent, John Henley really couldn't believe the mistake when he first saw it.

"I wish it hadn't been made. The first thought was, what are we going to do to correct this."

The clearing with trees now piled up on their sides is not the kind of sight mountain bikers expect to see. People who visit the park will usually never see the gas company but this was a major error that will take years to repair.

"My hope is in five or 10 years folks might not even notice if they come, they might notice a clear area but they'll see trees. Hopefully in 20 years won't notice at all," said Henley.

Workers from equitable production are still drilling in the park several miles away.

Equitable production says, “There are thousands of natural gas wells that are drilled throughout the region and this is an extremely rare situation and when it does happen, we like to be responsive to it.”

300 trees are now gone and this area will have to begin again.

Equitable Production says they will pay for the cost of the trees. They've also offered the park use of any of their equipment if needed to help repair the area.

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