Timber Industry

Jean Snedegar

Most of the state’s trees are harvested by small-scale logging operations, using chainsaws, but a growing number of logging companies use large, mechanized logging machines that can do much more, faster.

Jean Snedegar joined veteran logger Jerry Huffman on Knobley Mountain, in Grant County.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, most trees harvested in West Virginia are collected by small-scale logging operations with chain saws. But a growing number of companies use large, mechanized logging machines. In the next part of our occasional series on the timber industry, Jean Snedegar joins veteran logger Jerry Huffman on a job on Knobley Mountain, in Grant County.

Also this morning, we hear from 38-year-old Dave Hathaway, a laid-off coal miner. His story is part of our Struggle to Stay series, where we follow six people as they wrestle with the decision, do I stay or do I go? Unlike many others Dave is determined to STAY in Appalachia.

The Allegheny Front’s Reid Frazier went to visit him at his home in Greene County, Pennsylvania, just after his new baby was born to hear how his job search is going.

Jean Snedegar

Halfway between Mill Creek and Helvetia, West Virginia, four miles or so off the main road, Scotty Cook, the owner of a small-scale logging operation in Elkins, trudges along a muddy, deep gullied logging road. 

Cook has been working in the industry for about 20 years and got started because of his family.

"My dad and them, they [were] in it all their lives," he said. "Tradition I suppose."

Kelly Riddle, of Allegheny Wood Products, in a timber stand in Preston County, W.Va.
Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

In the next part of our occasional series on the timber and forest products industry, we find out how timber cruisers -- or procurement foresters -- help landowners decide when to harvest trees in a timber stand, which trees to take and which ones to leave behind.  

Independent producer Jean Snedegar joined Kelly Riddle, of Allegheny Wood Products, in early June at a privately owned forest near Kingwood, in Preston County.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, as the opioid epidemic continues devastating lives throughout our region, health officials are reporting a spike in “second wave” epidemics, like hepatitis C. Kara Lofton reports that one way to combat the epidemic may be more needle exchange programs.

We also hear from independent producer Jean Snedegar, who brings us the next installment of our series on the timber industry. This time she focuses on timber procurement.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, independent producer Jean Snedegar takes us on a journey through the history of the Mountain State's timber legacy.

And A Change of Tune's Joni Deutsch kicks off her second season of 30 Days of West Virginia Music series. We'll hear a portion of her interview with Adam Meisterhans, of the band Rozwell Kid.

A large log landing -- Green Mountain, Tucker County, circa 1910.
Photo courtesy of Robert C. Whetsell

"Just as we came to the hills, we met with a Sycamore.....of a most extraordinary size, it measuring three feet from the ground, forty-five feet round, lacking two inches; and not fifty yards from it was another, thirty-one feet round."

– George Washington, written while exploring the Great Kanawha River, Nov. 4, 1770

Melissa Thomas Van Gundy at the  Fernow Experimental Forest in Tucker County, W.Va.
Jean Sendegar / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Editor's Note: This story is part of an occasional series from independent producer Jean Snedegar about the timber and forest products industry here in the Mountain State – from seedlings to final products.

One of the oldest and largest industries in West Virginia is the timber and wood products industry.  West Virginia is rich in this renewable natural resource, but the housing downturn that began 10 years ago hit the industry hard.