Tours give opportunity to learn about land use in Sussex County

BLACKSBURG, Va., Sept. 28, 2004 – Virginia landowners have the opportunity to see wise resource management in Sussex County during the Virginia Cooperative Extension and the Virginia Tech College of Natural Resources and Department of Forestry annual Forestry and Wildlife Field Tour, Friday, Oct. 29.

"The tour is designed to show forestry and wildlife management opportunities, acquaint participants with public and private sources of technical and financial management assistance and demonstrate multiple-use, sustainable, forest management practices," said Shawn A. Baker, coordinator of the Virginia Forest Landowner Education program of Virginia Cooperative Extension at Virginia Tech. The participants will see private, industry, and public lands and hear talks on how to manage the property by foresters, wildlife specialists, and owners. The programs focus on multiple-use management opportunities, Baker said.

"Learning about our natural resources is for all ages, so bring your family," Baker said, "and dress comfortably for the weather and walking in the woods. The tour will go in rain or shine."

Individuals can register in advance by contacting the registrar, Kelvin Wells, Virginia Cooperative Extension agriculture and natural resources agent, P.O. Box 1308 Sussex, Va., 23884-1308 prior to the tour date. Cost is $35 for those registered in advance and $40 when paid on the program date. Participants meet for registration at 8 a.m.; the tours start at 8:30 a.m. and end no later than 5:30 p.m.

Sussex County tour participants will meet at the Fresh Pride supermarket located on the north side of U.S. 460, east of the U.S. 460 and Virginia 40 intersection near Waverly.

An International Paper forester will discuss the company’s attempts to manage its land for birds and re-establish longleaf pine in Virginia. During the catered lunch at the Department of Forestry’s Garland Gray Nursery, participants will learn about the Firewise program, a safety education program for youth, and also learn how pine seedlings are grown, harvested, and packaged for planting. The last stop will be a chance to see a low-impact thinning operation being done under contract by Georgia-Pacific.

This annual education program is offered in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Forestry, Virginia Forestry Association, MeadWestvaco Corporation, Georgia Pacific Corporation, Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation, International Paper Corporation, Virginia Tree Farm Committee, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Virginia Division of Soil and Water Conservation, Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Resource Management Service, Inc., Forest Landowners Association, Inc., Mountain Forest Products, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Powell River Project, Forestland Group, New River/Highlands and South Centre Corridors RC & D.

Tours of the same style will be held at Dickenson County, Friday, Oct. 8, Bedford County, Friday, Oct. 15, and Fauquier County, Friday, Oct. 22.