shoupe commissioners

N.C. Forest Service Ranger Joe Shoupe addressing the board at its July 1 meeting. Shoupe outlined the service’s activities in the county over the past year.

NEWLAND — The Avery County Board of Commissioners saw a newly produced promotional video commissioned by the Economic Development Committee as part of what the EDC wants to turn into a running series of promotional content highlighting new projects in the county.

The footage in the video was captured the day the county’s new pool complex “The Dive-In” was opened in May. It showed County Manager Philip Barrier speaking about the facility, as well as footage of the pool in use and its different features. It also included overhead drone footage of the facility.

EDC Chair Ken Walter noted Barrier did his standup interview for the video impromptu, and it was created by Blue Ridge Film Productions.

Walter described the video as a concept for creating similar videos that would highlight other projects showing progress in the county. He gave examples of the new State Employees Credit Union facility and the Avery County High School construction and renovation project as some of the projects that could be featured once they are completed.

The commissioners later approved the EDC’s expenditures for the 2019-2020 fiscal year outlined in a public hearing held in the midst of the meeting.

The notice for the hearing included a paragraph about the expenditures reading, “Included in the expenditures: training and meeting expenditures not to exceed $1,800; travel expenditures not to exceed $500; advertising with the Chamber of Commerce and others not to exceed $2,000; and funding for Economic Development projects not to exceed $2,500.

North Carolina Forest Service Ranger Joe Shoupe gave a detailed report on the service’s operations in the county, noting that wildfires have not been an issue in the past two years due to heavy rainfall. He noted the service helps landowners with forestry on private property and expressed his concern about invasive plants and insects affecting local populations.

Shoupe had a quantified list of items the service has accomplished in the recent past. This is the list edited somewhat for clarity and style:

  • 30 management plans written for 994 acres
  • 288 acres naturally regenerated
  • 11 acres were site prepared and planted to white pine
  • More than 10 acres were planted for wildlife food plots
  • 20 acres of soil and water protection practices
  • Two acres of brush fuel mitigation
  • 60 pounds of tree seeds collected for nurseries to grow seedlings for the public
  • 26 landowners referred to consulting foresters or certified arborists for assistance with timber sales
  • 10 urban forestry assists
  • Nine articles on various forestry topics in local newspapers
  • Forestry talks given to all fifth-grade students at Environmental Field Day
  • Gave environmental talks to all eighth-grade students at Trout Release Day
  • Made appearances at the Minneapolis and Newland parades
  • Celebrated Arbor Day with Town of Beech Mountain and presented its tenth Tree City USA Award
  • Assisted with presenting Firewise training to Landscaper Workshop attendees
  • Attended several Avery County Firefighters Association and county chiefs meetings
  • Attended several Local Emergency Planning Committee Meetings
  • Assisted Emergency Management with an emergency training exercise at Linville Ridge
  • Manned an exhibit at Fall Color Ramble at Grandfather Mountain
  • Assisted Avery County firefighters with a booth at the Avery County Agricultural and Horticultural Fair
  • Attended several of the Avery Agricultural Board meetings
  • Conducted a Crop Loss Survey of local farmers for the N.C. Department of Agriculture after flooding
  • Met with cooperating agencies several times

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