The state has programs for conservation, i.e. planting native trees and so forth. In exchange you get a tax break…Taxes are already so low, it wouldn’t really be worth it for us to go through all of the effort…As land gets more and more scarce maybe some day down the road this land will increase in value, but that long ways away for this area…
Not certain, but I’m pretty sure there are some sheep farmers up that way. I’ll have to take a look at that article about the black locust…That’s another one of the other species of trees we have and seems to do well…
I recently heard West Virginia passed some hemp friendly laws, essentially allowing property owners to grow…not sure about the rules and regs but is has recently gotten popular down around the Beckley area…There are even hemp consultants that will come in and evaluate your land to determine the viability of growing…This is probably the least likely direction I’d chose as it is extremely labor-intensive and then costly to secure…
PawPaw, persimmon, and nuts with good timber qualities. A large planting of seedlings may produce something useful.
Well … Being a tree hugger. I Allways hate to here of people logging. Especially older oaks.
You say they are~ 60 yrs old. Those are just teenage oaks.
Just getting into the “beginning” of good nut Bering age.
And the best of them are the ones I would want to keep.
Sadly ,… Those are also the ones the loggers want.
And also likely the best foundation of of the habitats there,
And your future permaculture ideas.?
Assuming the decision has been made to log them.
then taking good care of what’s left , would be where I would start. Culling trees damaged by the logging is a good start. Choosing the best remaining trees, and thinning around them , so that the best trees have good growing room, can really make them more productive in the future, ( timber , nuts, etc) . Cutting out the junk trees will allow something better to grow.
Not logging now, but thinning around "all "the good trees will give you a better return latter.
( did I mention iam a tree hugger ?)
Also , your land is in the heart of the cerulean warbler habitat.
The NRCS has funds available , to help preserve their habitat.
That fits with my suggestions above. $ available to help accomplish this, may be enough to pay to have this work done. which benefits more than this little bird.
And could fit some of your other ideas.
So contact NRCS . Check it out.
I have done a lot of this work here this winter.
Since you live so far from this property, you need something that will work with a realatively low level of management.
A managed wood lot / permaculture project fits the bill.
Good luck , whatever you do …!
My first suggestion is to just sell it. Your brother is in the other side of the country and you are only able to get out there once a year or so. You’re essentially paying taxes on memories and a one day visit. Nothing will give you as much profit for your effort as just selling it. It sounds like you don’t want to sell it though, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
My next suggestion is to lease it to deer hunters. If the deer population is good with a few big bucks in it, a group of hunters may be willing to pay quite a bit more than what you pay in taxes and you could still visit in the spring/summer whenever you wanted.
I would set goals before turning loggers loose to cut all the good timber on your land. In our neck of the woods the grade lumber market is awful. The only logs worth anything right now are walnut and stave white oak logs. With walnuts, if your trees aren’t that big, another 20-40+ years can double their value compared to now, especially if a lot of them aren’t big enough to veneer right now. So long story short, if you get a money hungry crew in there, they can cost you quite a bit of money in the long haul while seeming to make you more money in the present.
While it doesn’t help financially, your kids will remember their visits with you to that land.
Nice looking property. When I lived in Morgantown a lot of the properties were surface rights only and the mineral rights belonged to someone else. If you have mineral rights they might be worth something. The logging companies do usually make a mess but the roads they leave behind are valuable for access. If you could lease/sell the mineral rights, lease for hunting, possibly lease to someone for cattle pasture/hay (if they fence and maintain it), also possibly lease for cell phone tower(s), you could bring in a nice income, have the property looked after, and keep it as an investment for future timber sales. You could put in some hardy nut trees as others have suggested if you add some protective fence around each tree and do a little maintenance each year. It’s hard to grow much if you aren’t around to care for it. Good thinking having a caretaker. It is amazing how much of a mess people will make on vacant property if you don’t have someone keeping an eye on it. In the past we wound up with plenty of hunters, mudders, christmas tree seekers, trash dumpers, and even one marijuana stand.
As to the logging and the logging roads…
I would want to be involved in where and how, any roads are constructed.
Some loggers make a mess of land, building roads that can only be used with a bulldozer, and are useless for later acsess in say a pickup.
“If” they are going to build haul roads. I believe you would want them to be useful latter. And request ( demand )
they dress them up when they are done hauling.
Many logger around here destroy farms building inappropriate roads , that are useless , and cause erosion problems for decades .
When it comes to logging a property, I’d NEVER allow a logger on my land unless I have already hired a consulting forester. It usually costs somewhere from 10-20% of the logging proceeds to hire a forester, but it is well worth that cost. It is quite possible that a good forester will recoup that cost for you by keeping the loggers honest.
Cutting timber (and possibly mining or fracking or quarrying?) will more than pay the taxes for many years. Somebody can hack the bank account or steal what is hidden under a mattress…but land is always there.
That’s my comment on that.
And you can sell a couple acres off for somebody to build a cabin if you get to needing money.
Hi I’m new here.
I think you have a lot of really great suggestions already, but I just want to add my little bit.
Some people mentioned leasing the land or permaculture projects, such as silvopasture. I would agree that leasing and silvopasture could be good options. Another thing you could potentially do is advertise the leasing for people interested in running agroforestry farming. They could run livestock animals that do minimal damage to forest ecosystems, such as ducks, through the forested areas. They could set up mushroom logs as well. You could also see about short term leasing the land to foragers. I don’t know what the foraging laws are in the state your land is in. When I lived in Vermont, you could legally forage in any area that wasn’t specifically marked by the owners as private property/no trespassing. Mushroom foraging can potentially be lucrative for some foragers, and if there’s proof your property has species like chanterelles or boletes on the property, it could be an attractive prospect to them. You could even do 2-3 day leases for foraging clubs.
If you’re planning on leasing it, it’s just a matter of knowing the different potential target consumers. Like I mentioned, permaculturists and foragers are potentials. Local flower farmers are also potential, for the open areas. Any spot on a property with enough parking could be targeted towards people looking for land to rent temporarily for events/festivals. Someone else mentioned tiny homes, and that’s a good option too. People with tiny homes are always looking for a place they can legally park.
If there’s a common thread to a lot of the suggestions it’s that you need to know your neighbors and what people in the general area do. So next time you’re out there, post up at the counter at the diner or general store in Hinton and start rubbing elbows. The vast majority of people in rural areas are incredibly helpful, open people. In other words, an internet forum is only going to take you so far in this situation.
Hey @Hillbillyhort, I’ve known plenty of tree huggers and can certainly appreciate the perspective. Personally I’ve got a great love for nature which is why I really want to hang on to the place…When my folks bought the land around 1970 the idea was to turn it into a hippy commune/homsestead and live off the land. When I was 2 we lived in a tent before my dad actually finished the cabin…That aside, I think the reality of taking on such a task was a bit more daunting then they anticipated…
Yes, the decision was made a couple years back to log. We had a relationship with a forestry consultant who is going to oversee the operation. We walked the property and agreed on a suitable DBH that would allow us to thin out the older trees, make some money and leave enough younger ones to grow back over the years and still provide wildlife habitat.
By nature, logging operations are disruptive. There’s no way around that and while this is a selective versus clear cut operation, I’ve seen plenty of logging jobs and I’m not under any illusions as to the impact. Having said that, it was important for us to know that the job would be done responsibly. In addition W. Va. state laws dictates how things have to be put back when the job is complete and the timbering companies can be fined if they’re not in compliance. I’m sure timber companies have ways to get around these things which is why hiring the consultant was so important.
Thanks for all the insight, and I appreciate the link…Not sure whether I’ve seen any cerulean warblers when I’ve been up there, maybe it wasn’t the right time of year…That is definitely worth looking into.
The cerulean warbler is not often seen , even where they are abundant, as they are little and mostly are in the tree tops, so hard to “see” . But … you can hear their calls,and know they are there.
Your land, is in the heart of their breeding ground, according to the maps
We toyed with selling it, and even though my brother is all the way out in California he still wasn’t interested…I don’t know what it is, but there is something about owning your own piece on land that give you a sense of comfort…but, when you boil it down, I’d say you hit the nail on the head, we’re essentially paying taxes on memories…
The gentleman who caretakes the property for us does it with permission that he can hunt land. We’ve got lots of deer, and a nice population of wild turkey, that’s what he’s more interested in…It’s worked out to the benefit of both parties… He knows the other families on the mountain and is friendly with the game warden…He comes in and makes sure the brush is knocked back and our no-trespassing signs are up on the property lines…
Like most states, W VA is divided into regions…Our particular region is not known for good timber, so comparatively speaking prices paid are usually lower…Fortunately for us, we have some very good timber and when we sold it, a little over 2 years ago we got a nice price…
You’re point about money hungry logging outfits is well taken. That’s the primary reason we hired a consultant…Our caretaker had his property logged by an outfit that absolutely destroyed his property…
One of the benefits of having the logging done is the road improvements (at least in our case)…as it stands, the main road in (the one that would be used for the trucks) is in terrible shape. It winds a 1/2 mile along the side of the mountain and is completely washed out in areas and barely passable with a 4x4…When the company came out to do the timber survey they almost decided not to take the job because of it…So, before the operation can even start, they need to make the road safe for a truck, and I use the term “road” in the loosest sense of the term… Our main concern was the culverts…Most companies will put them in during the job and dig them out when they leave…we negotiated to keep them…Based on my conversations with them, road conditions will be vastly improved over what we currently have…
I can understand sentimental attachment to land. My grandpa sold the family farm in the late sixties and moved the family into “town” (less than 100 people). Dad had permission to go visit the old farm and mushroom hunt. I always enjoyed going once every year or two and hearing dad tell stories from growing up there. About 5 years back the property was going to be sold and Dad wasn’t going to have permission to visit anymore after the property changed hands. We went on one last visit and found some good mushrooms and reminisced. Some memories are worth paying taxes on.
If the caretaker is already doing a good job and you’re happy with him, it probably isn’t worth the headache of leasing it to someone else. You might make some money leasing it, but they likely won’t care for the land as well as he does. Even though you’re not currently making money off of the land, maybe the status quo is the way to go.
Thanks @drusket, our deed includes mineral rights…This was something I didn’t learn until a few years ago, my mom had always insisted we didn’t. Regardless, it doesn’t mean much since we’re not in an area where there is anything of value below ground, might be a coal seam but nothing worth bothering with…
The folks with the property at the top of the mountain have some great grazing, nice pastures…We’re just way too hilly for that…We’ve gone through our share of caretakers and you’re 100% correct, the right one makes all the difference…When we were in between, we had problems with folks dumping on our land…It’s amazing how inconsiderate people can be. It’s even worse when your an absent tenant land-owner…they think it’s open season…Fortunately for us that’s not a problem now…
We’re fortunate in that we still have lots of friends up there and know the old families on the mountain…many of them have been there close to 100 years…Hinton and our holler up in Chestnut Mountain is the kind of place where everyone knows everyone’s business, for better or for worse…Like a lot of these remote rural areas, any improvements that would draw outsiders to the area can sometimes be seen as a threat and that’s something I want to be very mindful of…
Wanted to give an update on what’s going on with the property…It’s been almost 3 years since we signed the timber deal and as of December 17th this year the contract would have expired. Timber prices aren’t nearly what they were when we sold and the gentleman who was going to oversee the job for us said he wouldn’t be surprised if they walked away from it.
Well I heard from the timber company about a month ago…The guy we were initially dealing with left and the new guy said they were going to get started once they were able to fix our road. There’s been a ton of rain up there recently and everything was a muddy mess, but they brought a truckloads of riprap in and widened the road a bit and it doesn’t even look like the same place…wish I had a before and after…
Waiting for the equipment to be moved in for the landing and we expect they’ll start logging next week. The forester we hired to look after the job will be out there every day keeping an eye on things…I’ll be honest now that it’s so close I started having some reservations, but I know we’ll still have the land and the trees we’ve harvested will grow back over time…the road is a huge asset for us, actually looking forward to being able to finally drive into our property after all these years…
I am in a mushroom kind of mind. I wonder if there is a minium size thats useless to the lumber company. You might want to specify a area for them to place them eg so they dont have to pay to remove them then start a shitaki or chicken of the woods patch.