Morgan County Tree Nursery reopens following March 2, 2012 tornadoes

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MORGAN COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - A devastating tornado blew through Morgan County two years ago. And the community can still see the damage where a large number of trees are still down. To help with regrowth across the state, the Morgan County Tree Nursery reopened Monday.

They've got to rebuild in order to regrow not only Morgan County but the Bluegrass.

"We produce 1.5 million seedlings every year in this nursery, and it's one of only two that we have operated by the state in the entire commonwealth," said Governor Steve Beshear.

People in Morgan County and state officials are looking at the past for the future of wood lands in Kentucky. Hundreds of thousands of trees damaged over hundreds of acres were wiped out by tornadoes.

"You have new growth all coming up now, but you still do see the ugly of the tornado as you look out," said Nursery Supt. Charles Saunders, with Morgan County Tree Nursery. "All the damaged trees and all wasted material out there that was not utilized."

Reopening now Morgan County Tree Nursery is a hub for the forestry industry.

"Employs thousands of people and creates millions of dollars of economic impact every year," said Gov. Beshear.

More than two years later, the tree nursery has a new building in the same location with the same name and a big job on its hands.

"We're going to be growing seedlings, and over the next 10 to 15 years, we're going to be planting seedlings over the areas where trees were damaged," said Saunders.

It'll take years to get things back to where they were and should be.

"It's a long process. It doesn't happen overnight, but it's happening," said Gov. Beshear. "And we're going to be here with them every step of the way until we get everybody back on their feet."

Governor Beshear also announced a new "20 and 20" initiative, saying 20,000,000 seedlings will be planted within 20 years in the state. Already 25,000 seedlings from Morgan County Tree Nursery have gone to five tornado damaged counties.

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