Wood products

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.

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.