After a long silence during the recent recession when the demand for hardwood lumber tanked, the log trucks are rolling again. Loads of beautiful American white ash are being salvaged, unfortunate victims of the emerald ash borer. Ash wood is white and quite dense, strong, and straight-grained. It’s been the timber of choice for baseball bats and tool handles; it makes good furniture and flooring. We hate to see the woodpeckers working on its bark and to see it disappear from our woods.
I’d like to suggest to folks who have sold their ash trees that they use this as an opportunity to think about the future of their woods. What can you do now to insure that at least part of that resource is still there for you? Would you like to use this opportunity to manage your woods as a future/different timber resource, or for firewood, for wildlife or deer, or especially for your children or grand kids? If so, plan to investigate the upcoming statewide Penn State Forest Landowners Conference: Enriching Woodland Values.
Held in Altoona’s Blair County Convention Center March 24 and 25, it’s a biennial (every two years) gathering of woodland owners from across the state and beyond, with a phenomenal set of professional presenters and a wide array of topics. Attendees are sure to find something that interests them: select from nearly 100 presentations, multiple field tours, extended-learning workshops, a full hall of exhibitors, and perhaps best of all, time to compare notes with other landowners and the opportunity to corner the experts with your personal questions.
It may seem a long way to Altoona, PA, but it is right down I-99. Get a car-load together, take your family, assemble your hunting buddies, grab a neighbor. The trip will be worth every penny when you come back and look at your own woods with new eyes, understanding, and intention. We’ve extracted the value of ash, now it’s time to put some value back into our woods. Pennsylvania holds the most valuable hardwood resource in the United States, and you are the steward for your part of it.
There is still time to register: You can register online through today, March 14; telephone registrations will be taken through next Monday, March 20, by calling 1-877-778-2937; and after that walk-ins will be accepted at the Convention Center.