Partnership Profile: Green Forests Work and Snowshoe Mountain Resort

Volunteers work to plant trees across an open tract of tilled soiled among the mountain forest.
 

Monongahela National Forest Celebrates New Partnership with Green Forests Work and Snowshoe Mountain Resort

Green Forests Work, Snowshoe Mountain Resort, and Monongahela National Forest kicked of their new partnership at the Sharp’s Knob Tree Planting event Saturday, May 19, in Pocahontas County. Snowshoe’s “Green Team”, made up of employees from the resort, provided most of the labor for planting the trees, although the event attracted volunteers from as far away as Charleston and even one volunteer from New Mexico who was visiting the area for the first time.

 

 

About the Partnership

A row of buckets full of saplings ready for planting.

This new partnership builds on existing relationships with The Nature Conservancy, Scott Eggerud with the Office of Surface Mining, and Dr. Chris Barton, professor of forestry at the University of Kentucky, who established Green Forests Work and has been working with the Forest Service and many other partners to re-establish native species on the Mower Tract for several years. It also brought in our newest partner, Snowshoe Mountain Resort, who donated funding to help with preparing the project site.

The volunteers planted about 1,700 trees on 35 acres of the former strip mine, including 1,100 red spruce, 500 American chestnut and 100 speckled alder. The Nature Conservancy donated the red spruce for this project. They have a particular interest in the Sharp’s Knob project, as they purchased the land in the early 2000s and donated it to the Forest Service to become a part of Monongahela National Forest.

 

A Project of Historical Significance 

A kneeling map smiles for the camera as he plants a tree into the tilled soil.

Forest Service ecologist Amy Coleman talked to the group about the historical range and importance of red spruce, which once dominated more than 500,000 acres in West Virginia prior to the logging era of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Today, less than 10 percent remains in the state. Red spruce forests provide a dense, all-season canopy that results in a cool, moist micro-climate during the summer months, creating habitat for rare plant and animal species.

Dr. Barton explained that American chestnut is the iconic tree for all of Appalachia and at one time it was said that a squirrel could travel from one chestnut tree to another all the way from New York to Georgia, without touching the ground. The chestnut trees planted at Sharp’s Knob are 1/16 Chinese chestnut and have a fairly good chance of surviving to maturity.

Scott Eggerud explained that Sharp’s Knob is a legacy site that was mined in the 1970s. At that time, mine reclamation included planting red pine, which is not native to West Virginia, and aggressive compaction to prevent erosion. He said that site preparation, such as plowing up the compacted soil, is imperative to the success of the restoration effort. Based on past projects, the trees planted at Sharp’s Knob will have an 80-85% survival rate. The red pine will be removed from the site as Phase 2 of the project

A seedling of a red spruce is planted into tilled soil.

 

Getting Involved

We hope to have another volunteer planting event next spring and would love to have you join our restoration team. For more information:





https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/mnf/home/?cid=FSEPRD585444