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Division of Forestry headquarters opens

The Inter-Mountain photo by Sarah Goodrich Woody Thrasher, West Virginia Commerce Secretary, spoke during a small ceremony, as the West Virginia Division of Forestry officially opened its Region 3 headquarters in Upshur County.

BUCKHANNON — Community members, landowners and wood industry representatives gathered together to welcome West Virginia Division of Forestry’s Region 3 headquarters to Buckhannon.

The Region 3 headquarters is the first new office to open since the Division of Forestry converted its former three-region system to six in October. Other counties in Region 3 include Braxton, Clay, Lewis, Nicholas, Pocahontas, Randolph and Webster.

Division of Forestry Director Barry Cook explained that, under the Forestry’s previous three-region system, the territories were too large for foresters and residents to get to know each other. Now the six region system will allow stronger communications between the foresters and community members.

Regional Forester Jason Jones, who will head Region 3, explained that by breaking down into the smaller regions, each county will now have a its own forester.

“When we were bigger regions, one forester was covering three or four counties,” he said. “Everyone in Upshur County is going to know where to come and meet their forester, where to ask questions, whether it be about their timber, a logging question or a fire question. It’s more centralized, one per county, and will help the residents a lot more.”

As part of the Buckhannon regional office, there will be six full-time employees that will have offices in the county, and five employees throughout the region with field offices.

As regional foresters, the main concern in West Virginia is fire control, fire suppression and extinguishing fires anywhere in the state.

Foresters are responsible for Land-owner Assistance, which aims to help farmers and private landowners. Another duty is Logging Sediment Control Assistance, in which foresters will work with loggers for inspections, making sure there is no mud in the stream and taking care of the sediment when the soil is disturbed.

“Out of the Buckhannon regional office, the Region 3 houses the most state forest in the state, so that’s going to be one of our biggest projects is working closely with the state land’s manager and getting these regional guys helping him until he gets everything built up and managing the sate forest properly,” added Jones.

Woody Thrasher, West Virginia Commerce Secretary, joined the small ceremony to express his support about the new addition to the county.

“I do want to thank each and every one because I don’t know of a more committed group to the profession that you have in foresters that do their work day in and day out,” he said.

Thrasher added, “In summary, what I want to bring to you is a message from the governor — he is just thrilled to pieces about where forestry has gone over the last year, and he is doing everything in his power to really move this division forward and move this whole industry forward.”

The Region 3 headquarters is located at 61 Fifth Street, Building 1, Suite 201 in Buckhannon.