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New group seeks to save

Pike County’s forestland

By AMY S. LANSDON

News Editor

Jan. 22, 2000 10 PM

Pike County forestland owners and people who are interested in the preservation and use of the land have joined together to form the Pike County TREASURE Forest Association.

Members of the Alabama TREASURE Forest Association county chapters are steward-minded men and women dedicated to improving the forestlands of the state and nation. Through the county chapters. neighbors and fellow forestland owners will be able to share insight, give advice and work together to preserve the resources of the land.

Presently there are about 100 charter members in the Pike County TREASURE Forest Association, but President Beverly Taylor said they are looking for more.

To encourage people to be a part of the TREASURE Forest Association, the board members are planning a Charter Night Celebration at 6 p.m. Feb. 24 at the Troy National Guard Armory.

"I am proud of the fact that Pike County will be the first county in Alabama to have a Charter Celebration," said Taylor. "Like the pioneer people who settled this area we are blazing a path for others to follow."

Like Taylor and her husband Johnny, who own a certified TREASURE Forest in Goshen, there are many people in Pike County who are interested and concerned with the preservation and development of forestlands in Pike County. And the Taylors along with the other Pike County TREASURE Forest Association members and board invite others to be a part of the newly developed organization.

"More landowners are becoming more involved in the education of the general public and young people about the value of the land," said Taylor. "The average age of land owners in Alabama in 65 because many young people are getting out of farming. One of the purposes of the TREASURE Forest Association is educating these people on the resources of the land and how to manage it. Eventually, we’ve got to put something where the peanuts were. If our young people don’t learn how to manage the land, they will eventually have to sell it."

To the Taylors and others, who share the same interests in the land, making the Pike County TREASURE Forest Association a success is very important.

There are several separate, but equally important roles of the county chapters. The members work together to build a strong network of stakeholders in our natural resources to include landowners and other individuals, civic groups, schools, industry, clubs, churches and other organizations who enjoy and benefit from the use of any of the resources and who have a desire to promote good stewardship of the land; educate, encourage and inspire others in practicing responsible forest management of all resources; communicate to local leaders and the general public the importance of private landowners, and many other things to promote the state’s forestlands.

With over 22 million acres of forestland, Alabama is the third most forested state in the nation. These forestlands provide valuable resources and directly affect the economy of the state, including supplying one in every 12 jobs in the state, said Carol Dorrill, chairperson of the Pike County TREASURE Forest Association. Dorrill said the TREASURE Forest program in Alabama is one that other states use as a model for their programs.

"The National Stewardship Program is modeled after the Alabama TREASURE Forest Association," Dorrill said. "Pike County is one of the leaders in the state of county TREASURE Forest Associations. We will be the first in the state to be chartered. We want to be very involved and very active."

Four different types of memberships are available for the Pike County TREASURE Forest Association: Associate member for non-landowners, Growing member for landowners not certified TREASURE Forest, Certified members for those who are TREASURE Forest certified, and Acorn memberships for children from birth to 19 years of age.

Anyone who is interested in becoming a charter member of the Pike County TREASURE Forest Association can contact Dorrill at 735-2976 or Taylor at 484-3539. To have you name listed on the charter you must join before the Feb. 1, 2000 deadline.