West Virginia ag commissioner opposes governor's parkland logging plan

FILE -In this Tuesday June 28, 2016 file photo, Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Greenbrier owner Jim Justice, gestures during an interview at the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, W. Va. Justice, billionaire owner of The Greenbrier resort and Democratic nominee for governor, closed his hotel for business and opened it as a free shelter after the June 23 floods that killed 23 people, including 15 in Greenbrier County. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia’s agriculture commissioner has recommended the Legislature and Gov. Jim Justice kill a bill that would open state parks to logging.
Commissioner Kent Leonhardt says the initiative to harvest trees within the parks system to fund park improvements is “poorly thought out.”
He predicts a negative effect on visitors and tourism, saying a better approach is instead using excess funds from more logging in state forests.
The bill calls for logging limits not exceeding “the average of four trees per acre per tract” and not to exceed half the sellable timber on an acre.
Conservation groups oppose lifting the 80-year ban on commercial logging of parklands.