Tree farm tour, workshop to be held on Saturday

Landowners from across the area are coming to Pocahontas County Saturday for the free Woodland Owners Tree Farm Walking Tour and Christmas Tree Growers Workshop.

The event will run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and is sponsored by the West Virginia Woodland Owners Association, West Virginia University Extension Service/Appalachian Hardwood Center, West Virginia Christmas Tree Growers Association and the West Virginia Tree Farm Program.

Jack Sturgill will lead the tour at his property near Durbin, and will provide key strategies in maintaining access roads, conducting tree thinning, crop tree release and grapevine control, harvesting timber and growing Christmas trees.

Participants will also visit wildlife food plots and habitat areas on the property, as well as discuss invasive plant control, including Japanese stiltgrass.

The walking tour will cover generally flat ground with a few relatively steep sections, so it is recommended to wear sturdy walking shoes. Following the walking tour, a free lunch will be provided.

All events are free but require a reservation. Registration starts at 9:30 am.

Following the field tour and lunch, a Christmas Tree Growers Workshop will be held from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. with Ed Grafton.

The Woodland Owners event began in 1999 and was designed to help educate the general public and resource professionals about land management. The event is open to only landowners who have land in West Virginia, but some of the participants live in surrounding states like Virginia, Maryland and Ohio.

Whether they own a wooded property and wonder about projects to make it more productive, or just like hearing about what woodland owners do to improve the woods they love so much, the workshop provides them with a forum to exchange information and share their experiences.

“It shows them signs to point them in the right direction,” said Dan Magill, one of the coordinators for the tour.

The tour serves 20-60 people per session, many of whom are repeat participants.

Also, Certified Forest Education (or CFEs-Category-1) credit is being offered for this event, provided a participant stays for both the Woodland Educational Tour and the Christmas Tree Workshop.

One of the highlights of the workshop is teaching how to build a proper access road in the landowner’s woodlands, which, Magill said, helps manage the property, allows the landowner to properly prepare for wildfire and to accomplish different forest management activities.

“We are always looking for new people to come and participate,” Magill said.

For more information or to RSVP contact Magill at 304-293-9419 or by e-mail at

Contact Chad Clem by e-mail at