Here in the New River Gorge, our rental cabins were green before green was cool.
I’ve been called a tree huggin’ Hippy. I don’t know about the hippy part, but, yes, I’ve hugged a tree. Okay, many trees. I have also cut them down. It feels great to see it falling right where you had hoped, to hear the thunder as it hits the ground, the back ache from sawing it into lumber, the smell as it is drying in the kiln. The roar of the planer as the board begins to reveals its character and beauty, all the while hoping that our finished piece will do justice to that tree, and stand for as long as or longer than the tree would have if we had not interfered.
Let me explain. Back when we got started we didn’t know that we were building green or being eco-friendly or practicing the triple bottom line. We were just trying to be good neighbors, good stewards and good business people.
Giving back to your community, hiring locally, buying locally and using local materials all makes good sense. And for us, building the cabins to last and be efficient cost more up front. (Building a cabin with full grown trees just inches away from every side is much harder than using a bulldozer to clear a flat spot). If all it takes to make a difference is just a little extra effort, a little extra money, then we’ll continue to do that because it has served us very well so far.
I’ve wondered, though: can you be green while you are soaking in a hot tub, with the A/C on and the Game on the Satellite? Not totally. I’d like to put a pile of coal on our property to show how much coal it takes to make an average guest happy at Opossum Creek Retreat. It’s a big pile, I bet.
I guess the point is we’re trying to make a smaller foot print and maybe you’ll see that you can do it, to and still have all the comforts of home and then some. So, we’re glad to be a part of this “new movement” and will continue to be good neighbors, good stewards, and hope to make some good friends along the way.
Yes, I hug trees.