U.S. Forest Service

A New Disease Strikes Oak Trees in W.Va.

Jan 9, 2017
Danielle Martin, U.S. Forest Service, Coopers Rock State Forest, oak trees, oak
Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Last fall, Danielle Martin, a forest pathologist for the U.S. Forest Service in Morgantown, and her colleagues noticed something different about the oak trees in Seneca State Forest. The trees secreted an amber-colored sap, and bore cankers - which look like canker sores - underneath their bark. 

early fall at Dolly Sods, WV
wikimedia / ForestWander

Updated on 10-06-2016 10:50 a.m.

The Closure Order for the Dolly Sods Wilderness Area was lifted on October 5, 2016 and all trails are now open. A Fire Ban in the Dolly Sods Wilderness Area is still in effect due to prolonged drought and will remain in place until weather conditions improve.  Gas powered backpacking/camping stoves are allowed in the wilderness area.  The current Fire Ban no longer includes the Red Creek Campground and Dolly Sods Picnic Area.

Updated on 09-29-16 5:55 p.m.

Two out of the five wildfires in the Dolly Sods Wilderness have been completely extinguished, and two more fires have been 100 percent contained, according to the U.S. Forest Service team that is managing the Red Creek Fires. There is a fifth fire that firefighters haven't yet been able to contain. This fire was discovered Wednesday, September 29. An explosive safety specialist has been called in to inspect the area surrounding the fifth fire to make sure there are no unexploded ordinances nearby. During World War II, the Dolly Sods Wilderness area was used as a training ground for soldiers, and many artillery and mortar shells shot into the area for practice still exist.

The southwestern portions of Dolly Sods in Tucker County are closed until further notice. The rest of the wilderness area is still open for camping and hiking.


The fires are a 4-mile hike from the nearest road. Thirty Forest Service employees are managing the fires, with the assistance of horses that have packed in supplies.

 

Updated on 09-28-16 4:40 p.m.

According to the U.S. Forest Service, there are now five wildfires burning in the Dolly Sods Wilderness Area.  All of the fires are small, less than an acre in size.  Three of the five wildfires are 80-100 percent contained.  It has been determined that three of the five wildfires were caused by unattended campfires.  The cause of the fourth and fifth fire is still under investigation.  Fire suppression efforts continue Wednesday and rain is forecasted for the next couple of days, which authorities say should help their efforts to fight the fires.

The Big Stonecoal Trail, Little Stonecoal Trail, Breathed Mountain Trail, Rocky Point Trail and Dunkenbarger Trail all remained closed in Dolly Sods. A fire ban is in place throughout most of the Dolly Sods area.

Updated on 09-26-16 9:30 p.m.

This past weekend was the peak time for tourists to visit Dolly Sods to see the leaves change for fall. But some of these visitors left behind smoldering campfires, and now four wildfires are burning in the area.

The first fire was discovered two weeks ago on September 16th. That fire is still burning, as well as three more that were discovered last Thursday, and this past weekend. Unattended campfires are believed to have caused three of the fires - and the cause of the fourth is still under investigation.

Dominion Resources

The U.S. Forest Service is issuing a permit to survey a 12.6-mile segment of the George Washington National Forest for the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline in Highland and Augusta counties, in Virginia.

  

Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC

The U.S. Forest Service extended the comment period on whether portions of the Jefferson National Forest can be surveyed for a possible pipeline route.

A special-use permit would be required before surveying could be done in the national forest for the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline.

The Forest Service's original deadline for comments was Feb. 13. Comments will now be taken until April 2.

A former U.S. Forest Service employee faces up to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to stealing government money.

U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld II says 41-year-old Kwaku A. Akomah of Fairmont also faces a fine of up to $250,000.

Ihlenfeld says Akomah made unauthorized personal purchases with government funds, including buying more than $1,000 in gas for his personal vehicle. An investigation by the Forest Service revealed the purchases.

Akomah pleaded guilty on Tuesday to one count of theft of government money.

Dominion Resources

  Friday is the last day to comment on whether surveys for a proposed natural gas pipeline should be allowed in the Monongahela National Forest.

The proposed 550-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline would run through West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina. Its path includes about 17 miles through the national forest in Pocahontas and Randolph counties in West Virginia.

Dominion Resources

  Federal officials are seeking the public's input on whether surveys for a proposed natural gas pipeline should be allowed in the Monongahela National Forest.

The proposed 550-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline would run through West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina. Its path includes about 17 miles through the national forest in Pocahontas and Randolph counties in West Virginia.

early fall at Dolly Sods, WV
wikimedia / ForestWander

West Virginia and 40 other states are losing money after Congress ended subsidies to counties that contain national forest land.

Agriculture officials announced Thursday that the U.S. Forest Service is distributing more than $50 million to 746 timber counties nationwide. That's compared with about $300 million during the final year of the Secure Rural Schools subsidies program.

West Virginia is set to receive about $282,000 this year, down from about $1.97 million last year.