BACK MOUNTAIN FOREST

Agent Contact:
Bill Zimmerman, 304-667-7026

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 268+/- acres in the heart of the Allegheny Mountains
  • $348,000 Forester’s timber evaluation shows 1.417 MMBF of sawtimber as of 10/10/2018
  • Borders thousands of unspoiled acres of the Monongahela Nat’l Forest
  • 14 acres of flat to gently rolling agricultural land
  • Blue line stream
  • Dark skies with little or no pollution for star and planet gazing
  • Unrivaled long range views of distant mountains and valley farms below
  • Wildlife is abundant with several fur bearing species represented
  • Winged wildlife includes eagles, hawks, owls, ravens, and Neotropical songbirds
  • 20 minutes to Snowshoe Ski Resort, Cass Scenic Railroad and Seneca State Forest
  • Varied topography with seasonal streams interspersed with flats and hillsides
  • Elevations run from 2719 ft. to 4371 ft.
  • Land legacy of wildlife management coupled with outstanding long-term forest stewardship
  • Network of roads and trails provide access to nearly every corner of the property
  • Nearby public access to the Greenbrier River and River Trail – perfect for anglers and water recreation enthusiasts
  • A good percentage of commercially – operable ground supporting farming, forestry, recreation and potential for numerous future cabin sites
  • Electric and phone on property
  • Low taxes, low population density

ABOUT THE REGION

The Back Mountain Forest is located in north central Pocahontas County in the mountains of southeastern West Virginia. The Pocahontas County region is renowned for its highland forests—woodlands that ascend to windswept summits more than 4,000 feet above sea level. Its highest peaks are among the highest in the Allegheny range of the Appalachian Mountain.

Though home to fewer than 9,000 residents, the county is among the largest in West Virginia at 942 square miles and includes vast areas of forest, much of which is managed by the U.S. Forest Service as part of the Monongahela National Forest.

Much of the county lies within the National Radio Quiet Zone, an area of 110 square miles in Virginia and West Virginia in which radio transmissions are heavily restricted to facilitate scientific research at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory at Green Bank in northern Pocahontas County.

Heavy snows in the higher elevations may render forest roads impassable through much of the winter, though the valleys along the Greenbrier enjoy moderate winter weather. Heavy snows in December, January, and February help sustain tourism when more than 400,000 skiers and winter-sports enthusiasts visit Snowshoe Mountain, Silver Creek Resort, and the Elk River Touring Center.

LOCATION

Google Coordinates: 38.467459°(N), -79.888182°(W)
Address: Back Mountain Road, Durbin, WV 26264. No 911 address assigned to properties without structures.
Elevation Range: 2719 ft. to 4371 ft. +/-

Driving Directions:
FROM CASS, WV: 7.2 miles +/- (20 minutes +/-) on Back Mountain Road.

After crossing the railroad in front of the main Scenic Railroad building with restaurant in Cass, go left on WV-66 W, travel around the curve to the right; before the curve to the left, turn right onto Back Mountain Rd RT 1; travel Back Mountain Road for 2.1 miles to intersection with Gum Road; turn sharp right to continue on Back Mountain Road; from this intersection travel Back Mountain Road for 5.1 more miles. You will enter the property where the utility line crosses Back Mountain Road.

FOREST FARMING

The most common crops are medicinal herbs and mushrooms. Other crops that can be produced include shade-loving native ornamentals, moss, fruit, nuts, other food crops, and decorative materials for crafts. These crops are often referred to as special forest products.

Here are some specific examples of crops:

  • Medicinal herbs: Ginseng, goldenseal, black cohosh, bloodroot, passionflower, and mayapple
  • Mushrooms: Shiitake and oyster mushrooms
  • Native ornamentals: Rhododendrons and dogwood
  • Moss: Log or sheet moss
  • Fruit: Pawpaws, currants, elderberries, and lowbush blueberries
  • Nuts: Black walnuts, hazelnuts, hickory nuts, and beechnuts
  • Other food crops: Ramps (wild leeks), maple syrup, and honey
  • Plants used for decorative purposes, dyes, and crafts: Galax, princess pine, white oak, pussy willow branches in the spring, holly, bittersweet, and bloodroot and ground pine (Lycopodium)

FOREST/TIMBER RESOURCES

Complementing the property’s scattered old fields and aesthetic attributes is a timber resource that is well positioned for current timber income as well as value appreciation over the coming decades. With an attractive species mix, adequate stocking levels, and favorable diameter class distribution, the timber amenity represents a strong component of value to the investor.

The timber resource is composed of unusually high quality Appalachian hardwoods. This well managed timber resource can provide a great deal of flexibility to the next ownership in terms of potential harvest revenue and can be managed to provide cash flow opportunities to offset holding cost and long-term asset appreciation.

Capital Timber Value of the timber and pulpwood is been determined by a forester’s cruise to be $347,997 as of October 10, 2018.

Species composition:

The forest’s predominately well-drained upland terrain has led to a 1.417MM+/- board foot of sawtimber. Overall, the species composition is highly desirable and favors Appalachian hardwood types, consisting primarily of:

  • Red Oaks
  • Sugar Maple
  • White Oak/Chestnut Oak
  • Cherry
  • Soft Maple
  • Birch
  • Hemlock
  • Miscellaneous: A host of associate species (hickory, black walnut, beech)

Stocking, Stem Quality, and Forest Structure:

Forest-wide, most stands are fully stocked, providing the next ownership with a great deal of flexibility in shaping their own silvicultual legacy. Stem quality forest-wide can be considered excellent with the forest containing an abundant current and future veneer source.

The property’s timber component has been well managed over the years and generally consists of two age classes that have been managed under even-aged silvicultural guidelines. The predominant timber stand contains 40-140 year old stems ranging in size of 10”-40” dbh. Portions of this stand have been thinned as prudent forest management called for. Many sections of this stand are ready for a selective thinning which will generate considerable income.

The second distinct stand was established over the past 50 years when some of the farm fields and pastures were abandoned and the forest began to naturally regenerate. These stands represent a quality hardwood resource and will be reaching economic maturity in the next 20-40 years.

Diameters are well represented across the commercial spectrum with a notable mature size class, as well as abundant pole size timber and growing stock. Several “Heritage Trees” are scattered throughout the forest and field edges. These ancient trees, some 200-300 years old, have withstood the test of time, weathering ice, wind, lightning strikes and fire.

The forest is healthy and there are no signs of pest infestations of Gypsy Moth. The Emerald Ash Borer, which has inundated the entire Northeast US, is present and the Ash component will significantly decline over the next decade. The Eastern Hemlock species is under attack by the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid and the hemlock will significantly decline over the coming decade.

There have been no forest fires in recent memory. The forest floor is home to several types of mushrooms, medicinal plants, wild ginseng, ferns and cool green mosses. One could spend a lifetime getting to know this inviting environ.

WILDLIFE

The mixture of mature forest, emerging forest, farm fields, old fruit trees, coupled with the abundant water supply from the creeks and springs create the perfect wildlife habitat. The “edge effect” created between field and forest is the textbook habitat for the resident wildlife. The edges create a miles long wildlife food plot. The hardwood forest produces tons of acorns, hickory nuts, beech nuts and soft mast. White tail deer, black bear, red/gray fox, bobcat, wild turkey, squirrel, raccoon, fox and many species of songbirds, eagles, owls and raptors make up the resident wildlife population. It is hard to find a property that has a better mix of wildlife as there has been little hunting pressure for many years.

The nearby Greenbrier River is a major contributor to the local ecosystem richness and diversity for both plants and animals. Great fishing is found in the Greenbrier River with small mouth bass, crappie, catfish, and bluegill present in good numbers.

The creeks and their attendant plant life create a water supported community with a wide variety of wildlife. Some of the margin of the creeks is fringed by wetlands, and these wetlands support the aquatic food web, provide shelter for wildlife. The plant life associated with the wetland includes rushes, sedges, cattails, duckweed, bee balm and algae.

There are many animals that live in the water and around the edges of the river and creeks including raccoons, opossums, blue herons, bald eagles, Canada geese, wood ducks, mallards, minnows, fish, turtles, salamanders, newts, crayfish, muskrat, beaver, bull frogs, and redwing blackbirds.

Of course there is the insect and microscopic world including butterflies, dragonflies, water skaters, water beetles, damselflies, hellgrammites, tadpoles and various insect larve.

SELF-SUSTAINING LIFE OFF THE GRID

Just like 175 years ago, when the first mountaineers settled the area, the property would be self-sustaining in times of necessity – even without electricity.

  • Fresh water for drinking and cooking would come from springs or a drilled well.
  • The forest would provide fresh food (deer, and turkey).
  • Land could be cleared and the rich agricultural land would be used to raise livestock, vegetable gardens, berry patches, fruit orchards, and row crops of corn, oats and barley.
  • Beehives would provide honey and beeswax for candles.
  • The vast forest would provide firewood for heating and cooking, lumber for building, maple syrup and pounds of nuts (walnuts, beechnuts and hickory nuts).

RECREATION AT BACK MOUNTAIN FOREST

Back Mountain Forest offers many recreational opportunities. Numerous soft recreational activities are anchored by the proximity to the Greenbrier River. The 268 acres provide the foundation for all that is Back Mountain Forest.

Nature viewing is first in line of recreational activities. Attentive wildlife management has been geared not to just game animals. Equal consideration has been extended to increasing the numbers and diversity of species including neo-tropical songbirds, butterflies, turtles, frogs, rabbits, chipmunks, dragonflies, owls, hawks.

Stargazing-Planet Observation
Complete darkness can be still be found on most of the property, thereby affording the opportunity to view the night sky in all its brilliant wonder.

Water-sports enthusiasts will find the nearby Greenbrier River ideal for swimming, canoeing, fishing, kayaking, tubing, snorkeling, paddle boarding and windsurfing.

Shooting-sports devotees find all the land and privacy needed to enjoy:

  • Paintball-Airsoft-Laser tag-Archery tag
  • Shotgun sport shooting including Skeet, Trap, Double Trap and Sporting Clays
  • Rifle & Handgun shooting: bullseye, silhouette, western, bench rest, long-range, fast draw
  • Archery and Crossbow competition shooting
  • Plain ole’ plinking: Grandpa’s old 22 single shot rifle and a few tin cans make a fun day

All Terrain Motorsports
Back Mountain Forest has several forest trails that are perfect for experiencing the property from an ATV or UTV. These exciting machines handle the wide variety of the forest’s terrain.

Dirt bikes can also be a lot of fun and they come in all sizes and horsepower to fit anyone who enjoys being on two wheels (hopefully).

Mountain Biking, Horseback Riding and Hiking
The 76 mile long Greenbrier River Trail may be used for conventional and mountain biking, hiking or horseback riding. The Greenbrier State Forest has several miles of biking trails that are considered an 8 on a scale of 10 by biking enthusiasts.

Hunting is a first-class experience. White tail deer, black bear, red/gray fox, bobcat, wild turkey, grouse, duck, squirrel, raccoon, fox and rabbit make up the resident wildlife population. It is hard to find a property that has a better mix of wildlife.

WATER RESOURCES

There are two blue line streams at the property. One is at the northeastern border of the property, and the other is at the southwestern border of the property. Those streams should flow for most of the year, especially during rain events and periods of snow melt.

MINERAL RESOURCES

West Virginia is one of the states in the US that has two ownership titles, those being SURFACE RIGHTS and MINERAL RIGHTS. A title search for mineral rights ownership has not been conducted. All rights the owner has will convey with the property. A mineral title search could be conducted by a title attorney at the same time when the surface title search is being conducted.

BOUNDARIES AND SURVEY

A metes and bounds description is contained in the title deeds for the whole outside boundary of the property. A survey has been prepared for the 4 acres and home exception. A large portion of the property is bounded by the Monongahela National Forest. Some boundaries are evidenced by very old fencing. The property is being sold by the boundary and not by the acre.

UTILITIES

Water: Spring
Sewer: Private septic system must be installed
Electricity: MonPower available on property
Telephone: Available on property
Internet: Possible through Frontier or Hughes Net
Cellphone Coverage: None due to the Quite Zone around Greenbank Observatory

ACCESS/FRONTAGE

Browns Mountain Road RT 28/8 runs through the property for nearly ½ mile.

ZONING

Pocahontas County currently has no zoning outside of corporations and flood zone areas. However, all prospective buyers should consult the County Government and also the Health Department for any changes and details regarding zoning, building codes, and installation of water wells and septic systems.

PROPERTY TYPE/USE SUMMARY

The property is mostly forestland containing sections of fields and some open utility line. A breakdown is as follows:

Fields: 14 total acres +/-
Field of about 2 acres in size that sets within the property east of Back Mountain Road.
Field of about 1.5 acres adjoining Back Mtn. Road and south side of the exception.
Field and adjoining open utility line area of about 10 acres on the west side of Back Mountain Road.

Forestland: 254 acres +/- (balance of the property)

(This summary is only an estimation of current property use as determined from aerial photography. It is made subject to the estimation of property boundaries and any errors in the interpretation of land use type from the aerial photography utilized.)

DEED AND TAXES

Deed Information: part of DB 190 Pg. 25
Pocahontas County, West Virginia
Acreage: 268 acres +/- to be conveyed; Whole tract contains 272 acres, more or less, and there will be an exception of the home and 4 acres.

Real Estate Tax ID/Acreage/Taxes:
Pocahontas County (38), West Virginia
Greenbank District (4)
Tax Map 46 Parcel 2; BACK ALLEGHENY MTN 272 AC FEE; Class 2
2019 Real Estate Taxes: $489.88 for the whole 272 acres, from which the home and 4 acres will be removed.

PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Pocahontas County School District:

Public Elementary School:
Green Bank Elementary School

Public Middle School:
Green Bank Middle School

Public High School:
Pocahontas County High School

THE SURROUNDING AREA

POCAHONTAS COUNTY

Pocahontas County, West Virginia, is set deep in the Allegheny Mountains, separating West Virginia from Virginia, and called “the birthplace of rivers”. The Greenbrier, Gauley, Elk, Cherry, Cranberry, Tygart Valley, Williams, and Shavers Fork of the Cheat rivers all begin in these pristine mountains. The area is rooted in its crystal clear streams, native brook trout, roaring waterfalls, and unique history.

Pocahontas County is the “Alaska of the East”. Outdoor recreation opportunities abound from Hunting on private lands and the Monongahela National Forest, and Fishing in the Greenbrier River, Shavers Fork, Buffalo Lake and the countless native trout streams, Snow Skiing at Snowshoe, and Mountain Biking at Seneca State Forest and the Greenbrier River Trail.

In historic Durbin, WV, you have the opportunity to ride & experience the sights and sounds of one of the rarest steam locomotives in existence. The DURBIN FLYER Excursion Train is powered by a rare steam locomotive; Old #3 is one of only three operating Climax geared logging locomotives on earth!

For the water enthusiast, the property fronts the Greenbrier River for about 1500 feet. The Greenbrier is the last un-dammed river east of the Mississippi and offers a great float/canoe/kayak experience. The fishing for small mouth bass is considered excellent.

The property fronts the Greenbrier River Trail for over one mile between mile markers 78 and 79, just 7 miles from its terminus at Cass. The GRT is an 86-mile rails to trails system and offers exceptional hiking and biking opportunities along the scenic Greenbrier River.

Within a short drive are located some of the finest recreational facilities in West Virginia. Snowshoe Ski Resort, whitewater rafting / fishing on the Tygart, New River and Gauley Rivers, the 48,000 acre Cranberry Wilderness, the 80,000 acre New River National Gorge National Park, and whitewater rafting / fishing on the New River and Gauley Rivers. Five other area state parks and state forests offer unlimited hiking, horseback riding, ATV riding and rock climbing opportunities. Snowshoe Ski Resort is a 15 minute leisurely drive through some of the most scenic country on the East Coast. The world renowned Greenbrier Resort, home of the PGA tour, is just 1 ½ hour drive. Several other area golf courses are available in the area. Five other area state parks and state forests offer unlimited hiking, horseback riding, ATV riding, and rock climbing opportunities.

Spruce Knob, Seneca Rocks, The Cass Scenic Railroad in Cass and the National Radio Observatory in Green Bank are other area attractions that make this region of the state one of the most sought after to live and play.

THE MONONGAHELA NATIONAL FOREST

The Monongahela National Forest was established in 1920 and is encompasses about one million acres. Located in the north central highlands of West Virginia, the Monongahela straddles the highest ridges in the State. Elevation ranges from just under 1000′ to 4863′ above sea level. Variations in terrain and precipitation have created one of the most ecologically diverse National Forests in the country.

Visitors to this beautiful forest enjoy breathtaking vistas, peaceful country roads, gently flowing streams, and glimpses of the many species of plants and animals that inhabit the Forest. You will also see a ‘working’ forest, which produces timber, water, grazing, minerals and recreational opportunities for the region and nation.

The landscape goals for management of the Monongahela are for a largely natural appearing and diverse forest, which provides outstanding dispersed recreation opportunities and supporting developed facilities. Dispersed recreation opportunities abound for hiking, backpacking, fishing, hunting, mountain biking and so on. Developed sites provide the tourism destination facilities and base camps so important to the efforts of local Convention and Visitor Bureaus, local communities, and other non-government agencies. Forest Plan Management Prescriptions favor non-motorized recreation for ecological reasons.

The forest is noted for its rugged landscape with spectacular views, blueberry thickets, highland bogs and “sods”, and open areas with exposed rocks. In addition to the second-growth forest trees, the wide range of botanical species found includes rhododendron, laurel on the moist west side of the Allegheny Front, and cactus and endemic shale barren species on the drier eastern slopes.

There are 230 known species of birds inhabiting the MNF: 159 are known to breed there, 89 are Neotropical migrants; 71 transit the forest during migration, but do not breed there, and 17 non-breeding species are Neotropical. The Brooks Bird Club (BBC) conducts an annual bird banding and survey project in the vicinity of Dolly Sods Scenic Area during migration (August – September). The forest provides habitat for 9 federally listed endangered or threatened species: 2 bird species, 2 bat species, 1 subspecies of flying squirrel, 1 salamander species, and 3 plant species. Fifty other species of rare/sensitive plants and animals also occur in the forest.

Larger animals and game species found in the forest include black bear, wild turkey, white-tailed deer, gray and fox squirrels, rabbits, snowshoe hare, woodcock, and grouse. Limited waterfowl habitat exists in certain places. Furbearers include beaver, red and gray fox, bobcat, fisher, river otter, raccoon and mink. Other hunted species include coyotes, skunks, opossums, woodchucks, crows, and weasels. There are 12 species of game (pan) fish and 60 species of non-game or forage fish. Some 90% of the trout waters of West Virginia are within the forest.

THE GREENBRIER RIVER

The upper Greenbrier River possesses the excitement of life on one of the nation’s great wild rivers. The focus of a vast outdoor-recreation destination, it flows untamed out of the lofty Alleghenies, attracting anglers, paddlers, and naturalists from across the globe.

At 162 miles long, the Greenbrier is the longest undammed river left in the Eastern United States. It is primarily used for recreational pursuits and well known for its fishing, canoeing, kayaking and floating opportunities. Its upper reaches flow through the Monongahela National Forest, and it is paralleled for 77 miles by the Greenbrier River Trail, a rail trail which runs between the communities of Cass and North Caldwell.

It has always been a valuable water route, with the majority of the important cities in the watershed being established river ports. The river gives the receiving waters of the New River an estimated 30% of its water volume. Over three-fourths of the watershed is an extensive karstic (cavern system), which supports fine trout fishing, cave exploration and recreation. Many important festivals and public events are held along the river throughout the watershed.

The Greenbrier is formed at Durbin in northern Pocahontas County by the confluence of the East Fork Greenbrier River and the West Fork Greenbrier River, both of which are short streams rising at elevations exceeding 3,300 feet and flowing for their entire lengths in northern Pocahontas County. From Durbin the Greenbrier flows generally south-southwest through Pocahontas, Greenbrier and Summers Counties, past several communities including Cass, Marlinton, Hillsboro, Ronceverte, Fort Spring, Alderson, and Hinton, where it flows into the New River.

Along most of its course, the Greenbrier accommodated the celebrated Indian warpath known as the Seneca Trail (Great Indian Warpath). From the vicinity of present-day White Sulphur Springs the Trail followed Anthony’s Creek down to the Greenbrier near the present Pocahontas-Greenbrier County line. It then ascended the River to the vicinity of Hillsboro and Droop Mountain and made its way through present Pocahontas County by way of future Marlinton, Indian Draft Run, and Edray.

NEARBY HISTORIC GREENBRIER COUNTY

Lewisburg, which is the Greenbrier County seat, was voted the Coolest Small Town in America in 2011, combining the warmth of a close community with the sophistication of more urban locations. The thriving downtown historic district offers year-round live productions presented at the State Professional Theatre of WV, Carnegie Hall, distinctive dining venues, antique shops, award-winning galleries/boutiques, and two summer-season farmer’s markets. Greenbrier Valley Medical Center is a modern hospital and all attendant medical facilities, along with the many big box stores.

Lewisburg is home to the WV Osteopathic Medical School (600 students) and the New River Community and Technical College. The area is a strong economic generator with a solid workforce employed in county/state government, tourism, hospitality, medical, education, retail, construction, wood products, mining and agriculture.

The world-renowned Greenbrier Resort, with 800 rooms and 1600 employees, is located nearby in the sleepy little town of White Sulphur Springs. The 4-Star resort has a subterranean casino and is home to the PGA tour, the “Greenbrier Classic.” Several other area golf courses are available in the area – including Oakhurst Links, America’s first golf course, where guests play using old style hickory-handled clubs and ground-burrowing golf balls!

The Greenbrier County Airport with WV’s longest runway provides daily flights to Atlanta and Washington DC. A picturesque train ride from White Sulphur Springs connects the area to DC, Philadelphia, Chicago, and many other locations. By car, DC is 4 hours away and Charlotte is only 4.

REGIONAL INFORMATION