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Controversial West Virginia state park logging bill heard by Senate committee; no vote


Charleston Gazette-Mail

Stephen McDaniel, director of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The same day the West Virginia Statehouse opened its doors to visitors for Tourism Day at the Legislature, a Senate committee heard remarks about a bill critics say will hinder state tourism.

Senate Bill 270 would authorize the Division of Natural Resources to log in state parks and sell the timber to pay for maintenance work. A new committee substitute limits the bill to Watoga State Park, a 10,000-acre state park in Pocahontas County, as a pilot program. The logging is limited to four trees per acre, and proceeds would go to the treasurer and be credited to the Division of Natural Resources.

The Senate’s Natural Resources Committee heard remarks about the bill Monday afternoon but didn’t vote on the bill.

The bill was introduced at the request of Gov. Jim Justice and would lift a ban on state park timbering implemented in 1931, and would improve forest health and recreational activities in the park, proponents of the bill say.

For Addition Information: WVDNR Director Stephen McDanial and State Forest Director Barry Cook recently discussed Senate Bill 270 and discuss the plan with WV Press Executive Director Don Smith on WV Press InDepth.

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