November 14, 2013
Scout Reservation joins Tree Farm System’s newest independently managed group
WASHINGTON—The Blue Ridge Mountains Council of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has joined forces with Richmond-based packaging company MWV and the American Tree Farm System® (ATFS) to create the newest Independently Managed Group (IMG) in ATFS, adding 13,600 acres of certified forestland to the Tree Farm system in Virginia. The newly certified forestland is the Blue Ridge Scout Reservation, a youth camp and outdoor recreation facility in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Pulaski County, Virginia.
Independently managed groups, or IMGs, provide a way for a third party—in this case, MWV—to hold a Tree Farm certificate on behalf of a group of private landowners. Under a program begun by the American Tree Farm System® in 2002, 15 IMGs now hold certificates for the private owners of more than 5.5 million acres of ATFS-certified forestland across the U.S. As the certificate holder for the Blue Ridge Scout Reservation, MWV is working with the conservation committee of BSA’s Blue Ridge Mountains Council to develop a management plan, ensure that certification standards are met, coordinate inspections, and plan sustainable timber harvests.
“Participation in the new IMG speaks to the Boy Scouts’ commitment to engaging youth in learning more about forest stewardship,” said Bettina Ring, senior vice president for family forests with the American Forest Foundation. “It also demonstrates MWV’s strong corporate commitment to sustainably managed forests. The addition of nearly 14,000 acres of sustainably managed woodlands to the Tree Farm System through this new IMG helps ATFS meet its commitment to ensuring healthy, well-managed forests for the future while also growing the next generation of conservation leaders.”
Training the next generation of conservationists is an important part of the Scouting program at the Blue Ridge Scout Reservation. Every year, more than 10,000 youth use the expansive forest classroom to hone their outdoor skills, build and maintain trails, and earn merit badges in subjects including forestry. “The forestry merit badge is a huge part of our education program,” said Greg Harmon, Director of Camping for the Blue Ridge Mountains Council. “Part of that badge is to talk to either a forester or a land manager about what it means to manage the forest responsibly so it will be healthy 50 or 100 years from now.”
“It is a sincere pleasure assisting members of the Blue Ridge Mountains Council of the Boy Scouts of America in meeting their forestry objectives for the Blue Ridge Scout Reservation,” said MWV forester Shelby (“Lee”) Spradlin, who has worked closely with the Boy Scouts to develop a comprehensive forest management plan for the property. “Through our Cooperative Forest Management Program, MWV has been providing forest management assistance to the Scouts for almost 20 years. Helping the Blue Ridge Scout Reservation become an ATFS-certified Tree Farm has been truly gratifying. This is well-deserved recognition for them.”
Photo: Dr. Bill Shiner, Chairman, Council Conservation Committee (left) and
Greg Harmon, Director of Camping.
Contact: Amanda Cooke at email@example.com and 202-765-3755.
The American Tree Farm System® is a network of 82,000 family forest owners sustainably managing 24 million acres of forestland. It is the largest and oldest sustainable woodland system in the United States, internationally recognized, meeting strict third-party certification standards. The American Tree Farm System® is a program of the American Forest Foundation.