By Jody Brumage
Early in his senatorial career, Robert C. Byrd recognized the potential benefits of expanding the role of the U.S. Forest Service in West Virginia as both a means of supporting conservation, recreation, and the state's timber industry. While the forest service had been a presence in the state since 1915 when the first tract of land was purchased for the future Monongahela National Forest, the agency's activity in the state greatly increased in the early-1960s. In an earlier blog post, we discussed the Forest Products Marketing Laboratory built during Senator Byrd's first term in the U.S. Senate in Princeton, West Virginia. This week's blog looks at a second laboratory, built in Morgantown in 1967.
The U.S. Forest Service continues to maintain an important presence in the state, through its administration of the Monongahela, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson National Forests, its laboratories, fish hatcheries, national recreation areas, and the Fernow Experimental Forest.