Crummies Creek Tree Farm, WV
by Russell Richardson
This woodlot, consisting of 710 acres, is a minor tributary of the West Fork of the Little Kanawha River in Lee Magisterial District of Calhoun County. A majority of the forestland of Crummies Creek Tree Farm was moderately to severely harvested in the 1980s by a previous owner. In early 1993 a Forest Stewardship Plan was completed for the woodland that has helped direct the completion of several hundred acres of grapevine and cull removal, crop tree release and the development of miles of access roads and trails. Timber has been harvested in a variety of forest improvement cuts since 1994 including improvement cuts 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000 and 2002.
The forest soils in many of the coves at Crummies Creek Tree Farm are atypically fertile and support a broad array of understory plants of commercial and ecological significance. Since the early 1990s, the owners have been managing to promote and maintain the native populations of medicinal plants found in the Crummies Creek woodland. The process began by eliminating the commercial harvest and removal of plants, plant parts and log moss from the woodland so that exploited populations could recover. Black Cohosh is an extremely common understory plant on the north facing slopes and is closely associated with native populations of Goldenseal and ginseng. Since 1998 Ginseng and Goldenseal plantings have been established in several locations. A wild ginseng research plot administered by WVU is presently located in the northern hardwood forest type.
During thinnings and cull removal, large diameter culls with shaggy bark such as red maple and shagbark hickory have been left for the benefit of bats. There is a rattlesnake den in a rocky area near the center of the property and rock ledges and overhangs are the habitat for several species of bats. One area with a high ledge and big drop is a late summer gathering spot for turkey vultures. Ravens are regularly encountered throughout the winter and numerous pileated woodpeckers take advantage of the variety of snags created during timber stand improvement work.
More than 40 timber species grow on the property including: red, chestnut, black, scarlet and white oak, yellow poplar, sugar maple, red maple, basswood, cucumbertree, hickory and white ash. Black walnut, sourwood, sassafras, red bud, elm, black gum, locust and hophornbeam occur as associated species throughout the stands. The majority of the timber on the property is in the large pole to small sawtimber size classes.
The property shows historical evidence of multiple fires with no fires having burned within the past fifteen years. Japanese stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum) is becoming a major threat to the forest and Chinese tree of heaven has become established in several places. All of the stands on the property are immature and the consistent harvest of timber is a high priority for the woodland owners at this time. Much of the property is currently in a condition that should make timber harvesting a priority during the planning period.
Forest Statistics and Documentation
- Acreage: 710
- Forest Types: appalachian hardwood
- Model Forest Manager: Russell Richardson
- Primary Uses: timber and non-timber commercial products
- Affiliations/Links: University of West Virginia
Downloads of documents and maps
- Article in the Hur Herald on dogwood anthracnose
- Black Cohosh fact sheet
- Crummies Creek Management Plan
- Article from the Guild's Across the Landscape newletters
- Article in the Hur Herald on stilt grass invasion
- Description of recent invasive species field tour
- Japanese stiltgrass management for woodland owners
Virtual Tour of Crummies Creek
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