Just behind the VFW Post in Elkins, Jerry Waybright spent Thursday at the Mountain State Forest Festival demonstrating the early days of the timber industry in miniature form.
He uses a smaller version of an early sawmill to show how the industry got its start. and Waybright said that even after all the timbering, West Virginia forests are just as strong as ever.
"We've got more trees now in West Virginia, and more acres than what we did in the 1900s. And most of the people think the big timber barons came in here and cut all the timber down," said Waybright.
The industry remains a valuable one to the state. The Division of Forestry and other industry groups set up inside the VFW to share their work and their services with the public. Fire Forestry Supervisor Jason Jones said it's an industry that still means a lot to the entire region.
"There's money in it, valuable timber, especially in this region of the state. Randolph, Pocahontas, Tucker, they're all right here, and you have some really nice timber in this area of the state," Jones said.
Jones hopes that the people who come by the displays at the festival will learn a lot about the industry and take some of that knowledge home with them, and maybe even explore the woods on their own.
"Next time they go in the woods, maybe they'll remember a pamphlet they picked up here, and they'll just take it and say, I remember reading this, let's go check it out. If they learn one or two things about the woods or the forest from the Forest Festival, then we're doing our job," said Jones.
Thursday was Kids' Day at the Mountain State Forest Festival.
Randolph County students came to the festival to enjoy a day of activities.
Superintendent Terry George said it's a great opportunity because some kids may not have another chance to go to the festival.
It's also a way for them to learn about the county's history.
"They're visiting a part of their culture that's tied directly to Randolph County. Randolph County is steeped in the history of natural resources, and one of those is the timber industry," said Randolph County Superintendent Terry George.
The Forest Festival will run through the weekend, and wrap up on Sunday afternoon.