Before You Cut Timber, Please Contact a Professional Forester

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Before You Cut Timber, Please Contact a Professional Forester

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Starting the process of successfully managing your woodlands is as easy as calling a toll-free number or typing in a web address. The "Call Before You Cut" program allows landowners to communicate directly with a professional forester and request information to guide them with long-term forest management plans. The toll-free number is 1-888-4WVCBYC (1-888-498-2292); the website is 

Jeremy McGill, assistant state forester with the West Virginia Division of Forestry, said people would not trust their health to an unlicensed professional so they shouldn’t trust the health of their woodlands to an unlicensed professional either.
“The Call Before You Cut program helps landowners find reputable and licensed professionals who will work with them to achieve their land management goals.”  

McGill said those goals vary and may include timbering, tree planting, creating recreational roads and trails or establishing wildlife and fish habitat. Most often, he said, management plans have a combination of those practices and other land uses. 

The main point McGill wanted to get out to landowners is that it can take a lifetime to grow a crop of merchantable timber, and if improperly harvested it can take a lifetime more before the mistakes of the past can be erased.

“Professional foresters work with landowners to decide on a personalized harvesting plan for their property. Not all tracts of timber are identical nor are the landowner’s objectives always the same, so it’s important to tailor the harvest to the stand.” McGill also said, as in any transaction, a landowner and professional logger or forester should have a contract outlining specifically what will be done on the landowner’s property to avoid the pitfalls inherent in a verbal agreement.

Call Before You Cut is a multi-state initiative. The program is sponsored in West Virginia by the Division of Forestry, West Virginia Forestry Association, Association of Consulting Foresters and the USDA Forest Service.  

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Leslie Fitzwater, Public Information Specialist, 304-957-9342 or 304-541-8102,

Jeremy McGill, Assistant State Forester, 304-558-2788 ext 51771,