TAYLOR COUNTY—For some folks, one of their annual Christmas traditions is picking out and decorating the perfect tree. But what happens when the season is over and it is time to package the decorations back up and dispose of the wintergreen?
Each year, the task of trying to figure out what to do with your live-cut Christmas tree can be daunting. To help not only ease the burden of the buyer, but to help supply a new home for some local residents, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has come up with the perfect solution.
The organization collects used trees through their Christmas Tree Recycling Program, that are then used to create habitats for fish residing in Tygart Lake.
“Recycling the trees helps save landfill space, helps protect the environment and improves fish habitats at the lake,” shared Tom Handy.
He revealed that the collected trees will be used for their fish attractor projects at the lake.
“The donated trees will be anchored along the Tygart Lake shoreline in February, when the lake levels are still low, so that when the lake returns to its summer levels, the submerged trees will act as artificial reefs,” Handy added.
The anchored trees will provide an enhanced habitat for the lake’s fish, including food, shade and hiding places. These functions will create improved fishing opportunities for anglers at the lake.
To be suitable for the fish attractor projects, all trees should be completely cleared off and free from decorations.
“Please remove all tinsel, ornaments, lights, garland, stands and plastic bags from the tree,” commented Handy.
The project is only accepting whole, live-cut trees, as Handy explains that artificial or flocked trees, those with artificial snow, can be hazardous to wildlife.
“Loose limbs that have been pruned from trees or used for making garlands also cannot be accepted,” he noted.
Residents and merchants with any unsold trees may donate them by taking them to the drop-off location behind the concession building at the USACE Office at Tygart Dam until February 2.
Handy shared that the Corps are looking for volunteers to help with this year’s fish attractor project.
“The construction of the fish attractors is labor intensive, and it takes a team effort to get the trees placed along the shoreline and secured to concrete blocks,” he explained. “If anyone is interested in helping with this year’s installation, please contact the Corps of Engineers.”
For more information about the project or questions regarding the Christmas Tree Recycling Program, please call the Tygart Lake Office at 304-265-1760. The office is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.