Conservation: Community forest is a treasure to preserve

Parkersburg residents know our community holds many treasures. Among them is the Johnson T. Janes Nature Preserve, which is now receiving recognition as a Community Forest of the Old Growth Forest Network.

While the honor is meant to “bring public awareness to such local resources and to begin conversations about how to protect as well as enjoy forests in our local communities,” it also spotlights the effort by volunteers such as Parkersburg Tree Commission member Turner Sharp to preserve and learn about the land.

As Parkersburg City Planner Sam Tuten said, Turner’s work “will help future generations appreciate not only Johnson T. Janes but the whole state of West Virginia.”

Visitors can enjoy our local forest via a number of trails, best accessed from the dead end of 27th Street. And though getting out into our treasures is important, so is leaving them alone. The area is considered a nature preserve for a reason.

“West Virginia’s character and beauty is defined by our woodland, and something that people of West Virginia are proud of,” Tuten said.

Tread lightly, then, if you visit our community forest. We should be grateful to those like Sharp who cared enough to give us the chance to do so.