CALVIN PRICE STATE FOREST
CALVIN PRICE STATE FOREST
Calvin Price State Forest was the last to be added to the West Virginia State Forest system. This State Forest is named in honor of the late Calvin W. Price, a Marlinton newspaper editor, prominent citizen, and leading proponent of the purchase and ultimate designation of this area as a State Forest. Calvin Price State Forest consists of more than 9,400 contiguous acres located in southern Pocahontas County, adjacent to Watoga State Park, near Hillsboro. A small area in the southeast part of the Forest extends into Greenbrier County. The bulk of the Forest was purchased from the New River Lumber Company in 1953.
The first settlers to this area found vast stands of pine trees that reached a maximum development of approximately 100,000 board feet per acre. After harvesting pine stands in New England and the Great Lakes areas in the 1880's, loggers traveled to the Greenbrier River Valley to harvest this untapped resource. By the 1930's the task was completed and domestic farming was the predominate activity in the area. When the land was purchased in 1953 the forest had been largely cut over and the land was being heavily grazed by livestock.
The rich, moist sites of Calvin Price State Forest are home to a high quality mix of oaks and yellow poplar. Current oak stands rarely exceed 15,000 board feet per acre, but are highly valued in today's multiple-use management scheme. White pine is re-establishing a presence on many managed areas, as well as, poorer, less productive sites. Drier areas of the Forest primarily still produce white pine, which also is found along most of the stream bottoms. Today, pure stands of white pine only are found along the streams of the Forest, with volumes currently approaching 30,000 board feet per acre.
Unlike most of the other State Forests, Calvin Price has no developed recreational areas. This is due largely to the Forest's close proximity to Watoga State Park, one of West Virginia's largest recreational parks. Some primitive camping areas are available at Calvin Price State Forest. Hunting opportunities abound on Calvin Price State Forest for both small game and large game hunters. Nearly two-thirds of the Forest is accessible only by foot.
Immediately upon acquiring this land in 1953, foresters began using the multiple-use forest management approach. Much of the early work was intended to prepare the forest for sustained management. Some small pulpwood and rail harvests were conducted and some timber stand improvement work was done. A management plan was implemented in the 1970's but harvesting had to be done earlier than expected. A severe ice storm in 1979 felled about 400 acres of timber, necessitating salvage operations. Since that time another harvest has been conducted and a third is scheduled for completion in late 2004. These three harvests average 355 acres in size and will remove about 1.2 million board feet per harvest. The focus of forest management on Calvin Price is directed toward maintaining the vigorous growth and good health of the Forest. These harvests are focused on diseased, damaged, suppressed, or overstocked stands, removing only those trees necessary to sustain productive woodlands while providing for a diverse mixture of wildlife habitat.