April 2016 
AFHA Spring Stakeholder's Meeting: Thursday May 12, 2016

Our annual spring Stakeholder's meeting will be held on Thursday, May 12 in Philippi, where we will explore the progress being made in heritage preservation and development in Barbour County.

Please mark your calendar now to join us.  All are welcome! More information or to RSVP for
our lunch count, please visit our website, or call or email us at (304) 637- 6182 
and info@appalachianforest.us

Tucker County Development

By Daniel Minkel
AFHA AmeriCorps Member

Tucker County has time and again endured alternating periods of struggle and innovation in its efforts to keep its heritage alive. The county is yet again standing at a fork in the road.  The Appalachian Regional Commission's (ARC) Highway 48, locally known as Corridor H, is near completion. Corridor H’s purpose is to connect the state of West Virginia to the metropolitan areas of Washington D.C and Baltimore to expand the economic possibilities open to the state.

Map of Corridor H, from their website

What does this mean for Tucker County? Investment in Corridor H to entice new businesses may see surprisingly quick returns. Several businesses have already shown interest in relocating to the Tucker County Industrial Park, just outside of Davis, WV. Over the past decade, Tucker County has experienced 12% economic growth in comparison to the state average of 1% (Woodlands Development Group Small Business and Housing Needs Assessment Study). With the completion of Corridor H, this statistic has potential to increase significantly.

Corridor H offers fast, direct access for visitors looking to experience Tucker County. The county already attracts a steady flow of tourists and visitors to the numerous ecotourism sites and festivals held here. Corridor H has the potential to greatly increase this flow of tourism. The increase of tourist dollars that would follow would provide a boost to our local economy. Under usual circumstances, this would be something to praise. However, Tucker County lacks the necessary resources to properly manage the potential economic boom.
 
My work under the Tucker County Development Authority (TCDA) and Tucker County Planning Commission (TCPC) looks at our current economic scenario and searches for possible avenues of action to enhance economic growth in a way that respects and protects Tucker County’s heritage and natural surroundings.The TCPC has been working with the Smart Growth America Grant Program to identify potential assets and steps we can take to address our need for managing growth. One method is to draft a comprehensive plan for Davis as it will serve as the gateway destination for Tucker County from Corridor H. In addition, the TCPC has assembled a team of local stakeholders, public land managers, and development officials to attend The Nature Conservancy’s Balancing Nature and Commerce in Rural Landscapes and Communities course. It is our goal to expand economic opportunity in the county without sacrificing the integrity of our natural surroundings and community character.
 
For more information on Smart Growth America please visit their website.

Get Your Buzz On Here at the Mon

By Kendra Sultzer
AFHA AmeriCorps Conservation Member

Spring is quickly springing and with it comes lots of fieldwork to be done in the Monongahela National Forest.  As the Ecosystems/Wildlife AmeriCorps member at the Marlinton Ranger District, I’ve been lucky enough to dip my feet into a bunch of different project puddles.  The biggest one I’ve been splashing about in recently is planting pollinator gardens around recreation and administrative areas of the forest.  What does this entail?  Researching native wildflowers and then actually planting them.  I garden for my term of service!!  I haven’t done too much gardening before, so the whole experience is a learning process: wait between tillings for the grass to die.  Weigh down the harrow when running it behind an ATV.  Plant flowers in clumps so they’re easier to locate. 

One of the garden sites at the White Sulphur Ranger Station in the middle of preparation.

Selecting species that are showy and attractive to pollinators is a priority as well as incorporating wildlife components.  These include bat and bird boxes, bee blocks, and providing nesting habitat and water.  These gardens will reduce fossil fuels used by the Forest Service in mowing and will provide habitat that pollinators sorely need.  Without pollination, we can’t eat all the foods we love, including blueberries, chocolate, peaches, and vanilla, to name a few. 

Currently, I’m in the process of preparing the sites for planting in the coming weeks. Three different groups of kids are coming to help with the planting at two of the Forest Service offices. When kids come help, they will spend time outside, learn about pollinators, and be encouraged to plant their own gardens.  What better way to celebrate Earth Day than by getting dirty and planting some seeds? 

I’ll be planting more sites in the near future, so if you find yourself around Marlinton, White Sulphur Springs, or Richwood and want to help with planting or have a burning desire to run a rototiller around some areas, feel free to give me a shout at ksultzer@fs.fed.us or 304-799-4334 ext. 42.


Our next concert is Wednesday, April 20th at 7:30pm featuring Jay and Autumn McClung at the Darden Mill. For more information, visit the event page on facebook.
Our new exhibit at the Appalachian Forest Discovery Center (on the first floor of the Darden Mill in Elkins) will be opening at the beginning of May. The exhibit is entitled "Working in the Woods: Logging in the Appalachian Forest Heritage Area." For up-to-date information, follow us on facebook.
Experience the heritage of your area! Sites of the Month spotlights events and locations within the region, based on AFHA's four themes: forestry, history, culture, and nature.

Parsons Nursery, in Tucker County, was established in 1928 to resupply trees to the logged over Monongahela National Forest. Soon afterwards, a CCC camp was assigned to the Parsons Nursery, and assisted with planting saplings to regrow the Monongahela National Forest. From its founding in 1928 until the late 1940’s, the Parsons Nursery was the largest tree nursery in the eastern United States. It is estimated that CCC members from Camp Parsons planted between six and eight million trees. The Fernow Experimental Forest continues operation at this same location.

Sites Homestead, in Pendleton County, is a structure at the foot of Seneca Rocks built in 1839. The house began life as a single pen log cabin, with frame additions added on later. Originally built by Jacob Sites, it was sometimes used as traveler’s lodging and referred to locally as the Wayside Inn. It remained in the Sites family until 1968, when it was purchased by the US Forest Service. It was restored and is now used by the Seneca Rocks Discovery Center.
Trillium Performing Arts Collective, in Lewisburg, Greenbrier County, is a performing arts organization and school that enriches Lewisburg and the surrounding area. Based out of the Historic 1939 Lewis Theatre building, Trillium’s “mission is to encourage artistic expression and creative opportunities through education, participation, and performance”, in dance, music, theater, and film.
The Glades, in Garrett County, MD, is a 601 acre preserve managed by The Nature Conservancy. At 18,000 years, this preserve is one of the oldest examples of mountain peatland in the Appalachians, and contains peat up to nine feet deep. An ombrotrophic system (fed solely by rainwater), The Glades provide a home for many rare plant and wildlife species, such as Sphagnum moss, small cranberry,  bog clubmoss, the Nashville warbler, and Alder flycatcher. The Glades are open to public use with prior permission from The Nature Conservancy.
Do you have a suggestion for Sites of the Month? Email us at: info@appalachianforest.us and let us know your favorite sites throughout AFHA!
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Our mailing address is:
Appalachian Forest Heritage Area
P.O. Box 1206
Elkins, WV 26241