Central West Virginia Wood Enterprise Cluster Pre-Feasibility Project
With the limited employment options and abundant timber resources in central West Virginia (Calhoun and surrounding counties) local residents have expressed an interest in exploring how their forests resources might be sustainably utilized to create local jobs.
With the closure of mills in the area, resulting from the economic downturn and collapse of new home construction, central West Virginia landowners are left without good local markets for their forest resources.
To provide employment opportunities as well as opportunities for marketing of timber, the Appalachian Forest Resource Center seeks to partner with other interested parties to evaluate the potential for forest related enterprises in Calhoun and Roane counties.
The eventual vision for the project would be a Forest Enterprise Park, with facilities developed to house primary and secondary hardwood enterprises, dry kilns, and integrated use of forest and mill residues. Given the interest in the marketplace (and among investors, such as the Natural Capital Investment fund) in “green” business, one aim of the effort would be to create a highly efficient operation, with utilization of waste, use of renewable energy (EG wood waste) for kilns, and tracking of certified wood.