Steve Hays, a classics and world religions associate professor at Ohio University, will finally be realizing his dream of opening a lumber business. Hays and his wife moved into a Civil War-era home that sits on 88 acres of land in 1994. Since then, Hays has wanted to open a lumber business as "more than half the land is covered in trees," Sarah M. Penix writes for the Athens Post. In the past, as trees fell or died, Hays would host "firewood parties" in which friends would bring their tools, machines, and trucks to harvest the trees for firewood.

Now in early retirement from teaching, Hays plans to go into business with a friend of his who will be buying a sawmill. Hays recently purchased a kiln which will help cure the wood as the timber is made into marketable lumber. Hays also plans to work with his colleague Heath Hutchinson, professor of natural resources at Hocking College, to help other families who have plenty of trees on their land.

From the Athens Post:

What has tended to happen in the past is that a family would harvest the trees when necessary to pay for a large expense, leaving land mutilated and barren by the use of industrial sized equipment, Hays said. However, he sees a solution to the problem.

“We would work as consultants with (families) and cut down the dead and dying trees, get a logging truck and drag them out (with equipment) that would have little impact on the land,” Hays said.

After low impact harvesting, the lumber can be driven down to the mill where the lumber can be dried and turned into materials for all kinds of products. Hays anticipates on working each case out separately, either by compensation through shares or cash.

“The point is, we should provide a place for them to do something useful with those trees that would otherwise just be lost,” Hays said.

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