Public Is Encouraged To Submit Project Ideas For Spending Forest Money
Elkins, WV – As part of the Safe and Secure Rural Schools Act, reauthorized in 2008, a large chunk of the forest money allocated through that legislation is available for projects benefitting National Forest system lands. In West Virginia, six counties including Pocahontas have formed a Resource Advisory Committee to make recommendations on how that money should be spent, and they’re asking the public for input. Projects will benefit the Monongahela National forest in Pocahontas, Tucker, Randolph, Webster, and Greenbrier Counties, and the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest in Hardy County.
Pocahontas County Commissioner Reta Griffith is one of the members of the advisory committee. She explains the process.
“Each of the counties has been setting aside their Title Two funds so up to 2011 there should be about one million dollars that will be on the table” says Griffith. “I spoke with all the [County] Commissions from those counties as well as Clyde Thompson who is the Supervisor for the Monongahela National Forest. You have to do projects in and around the forest service that benefit the forest acreage or the forest itself as a whole; and so our committee has gotten together [and] is putting out a request for bids.”
Projects may be proposed by individuals, non-profit organizations, and local governments. The deadline for requests is October 15th, 2010 for the first round of projects. Griffith says that although the Title Two funds are for the whole state, she’s hoping that the funds will be used primarily in the six counties.
“There is a plan in place, for lack of a better term a gentleman’s agreement’ among the board, that we will try to direct the funds back to the county that it was originated for which means that Pocahontas County’s is the largest share.”
For more information about submitting a project to the Resource Advisory Committee, visit www.fs.fed.us/srs or call Kate Goodrich-Arling at 304-636-1800 ext 220.