Lumberjackin Bluegrassin Jamboree celebrates 31 years


The Lumberjackin’ Bluegrassin’ Jamboree took full swing earlier this month at Twin Falls State Park.  The annual event includes speed competitions, vendors, and bluegrass music.

Three school clubs from Penn State, Virginia Tech, and West Virginia University competed in various team events such as a log roll, cross cutting, chainsaw, bolt splitting and chopping.  The students’ participation exposes them to the timber industry. 

Entrance to Twin Falls State Park in Wyoming County


Twin Falls Activity Coordinator, Brian Danford, oversaw the student competition.

“All these students are learning how to, basically what people did in the olden days because they used cross cut saws and hand axes because, to fell trees,” Danford said. “Now days it’s more mechanized and they have chainsaws and everything else in order to get the wood out.  But we want to teach them the culture so and get them some good competition.” 

The co-ed teams competed for most of the day.  There were male, female and co-ed events, including the jack and jill competition, where a male and female crosscut saw team would go against a team from another school. 

The jamboree celebrated its 31st year.  It’s a community event that focuses on the importance of the timber industry in West Virginia. 

According to the West Virginia Forestry Association, the industry contributes just over $3 billion dollars to the state’s economy.  Traditionally, timber ranks as one of West Virginia’s largest major industries following coal.

When the western Virginia, now West Virginia, virgin forests were discovered, they were filled with large trees, some reaching heights of 140 feet and 27 feet in diameter, which included oak, maple, poplar and the American Chestnut.

The chestnuts were killed off in the early 20th century by a fungus.  Efforts are currently underway by the American Chestnut Foundation to restore the tree.  Other trees under attack include the state’s hardwoods by the gypsy moth and hemlock trees by the hemlock woolly adelgid.  The West Virginia Department of Agriculture is working to combat the adelgid through chemicals and natural predators.  But Amanda Cadle who was watching the competition, shared a unique way of replanting hemlock trees, which she learned from a family friend.

“And so my friend, wanting to preserve the memory of his father,” she explained, “took his idea and cut some branches off of that tree right after they cut it.  Probably about the size of a seedlin, you know about this big around.  You just take a hatchet and you just kinda split the end and you just plant it in fertile soil.” 

Cadle added that soaking the branches in water before planting them is helpful.  She says her technique is working.  However, her trees are in an isolated area away from the adelgid’ at a lower elevation and therefore in a somewhat protected environment. Whether or not her technique will work in other locations remains to be seen.

In addition to the lumberjack and jill competition, the Lumberjackin’ Bluegrassin’ Jamboree held a variety of other attractions including vendor’s arts and crafts, bluegrass music, square dancing, and hayrides.

The three day jamboree usually hosts around 3,500 visitors.

This year, Penn State came in First, WVU second, and Virginia Tech came in third.