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Kanawha County planning panel OK's timbering at Virgil Tate

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Members of the Kanawha County Planning Commission have given their blessing to a proposal to timber parts of Camp Virgil Tate.

Officials at the facility near Sissonville want to cut trees in the forest around the camp to help pay for a new swimming pool. Camp Virgil Tate's swimming pool has been closed for several years and can't be repaired.

Camp officials first unveiled the plan publicly at a hearing last week. They want to selectively timber about 40 acres owned by Camp Virgil Tate and about 400 acres owned by the Kanawha County Commission. County Commission President Kent Carper said at a meeting Tuesday the county would be willing to turn over all proceeds from the county's timber to Camp Virgil Tate.

Kanawha County Engineer John Luoni, a staff member for the Planning Commission, said the commission voted in favor of the timbering plan at a regular meeting Wednesday. He said West Virginia Division of Forestry Director Randy Dye attended the meeting to talk about the best ways to plan the timbering operation to minimize damage to the camp, and ensure oversight of the process.

"I think, if we have the right safeguards in place, this can be done in an intelligent manner," Luoni said. He said few residents are opposed to the idea.

Camp officials hope to make about $300,000 from the sale of timber from the camp.

Luoni said the Planning Commission would recommend that the County Commission sign off on the timbering plan, as well. Carper and Commissioners Dave Hardy and Hoppy Shores are expected to vote on the proposal at their July 18 regular meeting.

Reach Rusty Marks at rustymarks@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1215.


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