"There's nowhere to go but up," said Division of Forestry Director Randy Dye, speaking to the House Finance Committee, about the state's forest industry.|
"The bright news, I think I can make this statement, we have hit bottom," he said.
Dye says West Virginia's forest industries have been decimated during the past five years.
"There have been 13 mills sold in the state and removed from their sites. They're gone, good chance they won't come back," he said.
Dye said another 30 mills, or a third of the state's total lumber business, are still holding their own, while others are doing limited operations.
Dye told legislators that most of the forest products now evolve around China.
He said a majority of the lumber logged in the state used to be shipped to North Carolina.
The North Carolina furniture industry has closed down for globalized manufacturing.
Dye says the 2008 bank failures and the recession have cut down business by more than a third since the booming years of 2004 and 2005.
"Number of acres logged 2004/2005, we had approximate activity on 250,000 acres. Last year it was 158,000," he said.