Bill allowing logging in state parks falls apart

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The bill that would allow regulated commercial logging on West Virginia State Park lands is dead, according to Cabell County Sen. Mike Woelfl.

The announcement Friday came in the middle of a news cycle dominated by the two-day education walkout. Education union leaders announced the work stoppage will continue through Monday.

The bill would have allowed logging in an effort to manage the land, as well as to raise $50 million for deferred maintenance projects at state park facilities.

Woelfl said in a press release Friday these lands were managed by nature long before the establishment of the state park system.

“In fairness, the proponents of Senate Bill 270 were knowledgeable, acting in good faith and clearly well-intentioned. They brought long overdue attention that state parks suffer from a protracted lack of adequate funding sources,” the Democrat said. “In the end, spirited and effective citizen opposition via petition, email, telephone, and personal contact with legislators carried the day.”

Among those against the proposal: state Agriculture Commissioner Kent Leonhardt.

“Our state parks were given to us as a gift to show old growth timber and the natural selection of the species in the state. We’re trying to attract young people to our state, and young people want those outdoor activities,” he said on a Jan. 23 edition of MetroNews “Talkline.”

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