HOME

NEWS

CHARITIES

VOLUNTEER

ACTION CENTER

ADD CHARITY

CONTACT

SUPPORT

World Environment Community Health Animals Celebrity Submit A Site Find A Charity
Big Woods State Forest gets boost from Va.

By Scott Harper, The Virginian-Pilot

2215 days ago   Article ID# 1231450
Original URL

 

Nature Conservancy

NORFOLK, VIRGINIA (The Virginian-Pilot) - A new state forest, the first one in southeast Virginia, was christened Monday in a remote but ecologically rich tangle of pine trees and makeshift gravel roads about an hour's drive from downtown Norfolk.

Big Woods State Forest and Wildlife Management Area encompasses more than 4,400 acres and cost $6.4 million. It adjoins another 3,200 acres owned by The Nature Conservancy, an international environmental group, in what officials described as one of the largest protected blocks of southern pine forests left in Virginia.

"There's a lot of us here today who've waited a long time for this," said David Whitehurst, an administrator with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, at a ceremony in the middle of the new sanctuary, about six miles southwest of Wakefield.

The conservancy bought the land from International Paper in 2006, then transferred it to the state last summer when enough money was available. The state has been preparing roads, trails and signs since then in anticipation of ecotourists and nature lovers.

There were cookies and drinks at Monday's ceremony, but officials cautioned attendees not to drink too much: Portable toilets had not yet arrived from Richmond.

"But there is plenty of privacy in the woods," Whitehurst quipped.

The state intends to build on the work of the conservancy next door at its Piney Grove Preserve, where Virginia's rarest bird, the red-cockaded woodpecker, has been nurtured back from near-extinction.

The game department will place artificial nests for the woodpeckers in mature pine trees so the birds might continue their comeback, said Bob Duncan, the department's director. The population has grown from fewer than a dozen birds to nearly 70 since the conservancy started its recovery program.

Duncan said aiding the woodpecker will also help the bobwhite quail, another troubled species that likes the grassy understory of old pine woods.

In addition, the state Department of Forestry intends to plant longleaf pines on its portion of the woods in the hope of reviving the trees. Where southeast Virginia once boasted 1 million acres of longleaf pine, the number today is about 1 percent of that, officials said.

"In Virginia, we don't count the number of acres that are left, we count the number of trees still standing," said Brian Van Eerden, a scientist and resource manager with The Nature Conservancy.

State foresters also want to diversify the new Big Woods forest, which under International Paper had become dominated by loblolly pines, which grew quickly and were cut down and made into paper products.

Dennis Gaston, state forester for eastern Virginia, said plans include planting more hardwoods, especially along stream beds, to benefit water quality and return the forest to a semblance of its former self.

The new sanctuary also should benefit the nearby Nottoway River, which the city of Norfolk taps for some of its drinking water. Having a well-managed state forest, officials said, can only help to protect the integrity of the river.

Big Woods becomes the 21st state forest in Virginia and the 39th wildlife management area. During a tour Monday, wildlife experts talked about its many inhabitants, including fox, bobcat, coyote, wild turkey, deer and rabbit.

Under terms with local hunt clubs, the sanctuary will remain open to some hunting, including the use of dogs. And, as with all state forests, commercial timbering will be allowed under periodic contracts with private buyers.

Not all amenities have been added to Big Woods, and officials still are working on public access strategies and permit requirements. Horseback riding will be allowed, as well as hiking, bicycling and nature photography.

Copyright 2017 The Virginian-Pilot   (Copyright Terms)
Updated 2215 days ago   Article ID# 1231450

Nature Conservancy    View Charity Profile    Visit Website

More Nature Conservancy News

Nature Conservancy outlines land protection strategy in Oregon, Washington, elsewhere

220 days ago From oregonlive.com 

PORTLAND, OREGON - ...

China’s young celebrities appeal for wildlife protection on World Wildlife Day

230 days ago From ifaw.org 

YARMOUTH PORT, MASSACHUSETTS - ...

$3.3m in new grants to protect Kalimantan forests

309 days ago From thejakartapost.com 

JAKARTA, INDONESIA - ...

Venus flytraps need protection from poachers in North Carolina

325 days ago From nytimes.com 

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - ...

4 bold collaborations tackling California's drought

365 days ago From greenbiz.com 

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - ...

Go to page:   1    2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  Next >> 

<< Return To Environment News

Action Center

Climate change will bring more and more heat waves

Action: Climate Change

The heat in Malaysia often feels next to unbearable. For days on end, the sun is scorching and the heat is sweltering. That, ...

End Phosphate Mining in Manatee County

Action: Wildlife Conservation

The expansion of phosphate mining in Manatee County would threaten freshwater resources in the Myakka and Peace River watersh ...

Amazon basin deforestation could disrupt distant rainforest by remote climate connection

Action: Stop Deforestation

The ongoing deforestation around the fringes of the Amazon may have serious consequences for the untouched deeper parts of th ...

Stop coal mining assault on this roadless forest

Action: Stop Pollution

President Trump has been clear since day one that he’s turning over the nation’s public lands and environment to King Coa ...

Defend our wildlife from the search for Atlantic oil

Action: Save Our Oceans

From Maine to Florida, people along the East Coast strongly oppose offshore oil and gas drilling in the Atlantic Ocean -- yet ...

View All Actions >>

 

 

Charities

News

Follow Us

Support

Find A Charity

Action Center

World

Community

Facebook

Twitter Support

Contact

Volunteer

Add A Site

Environment

Animals

Google+

Privacy Policy

Copyright

 

 

Health

Celebrity

Terms of Service

Copyright The Charity Vault All rights reserved.