By Laura Legere
HEGINS TOWNSHIP — The Hoover family hunting camp sits alone on a ridge called Sherman Mountain or Little Mountain, depending on whom you ask, surrounded by nearly 900 acres of trees.
It is built from the concrete remains of a coal tipple — a building where coal cars were hauled up through a nearby mine shaft to dump their loads of soft anthracite into waiting trucks that would take it away to be burned in power plants.
The Schuylkill County parcel’s legacy is in harvesting carbon. Its future is in storing it.
Mark Hoover, 43, his father, Bryan, and uncle Brent signed an easement with the Nature Conservancy in 2017 to preserve their forest forever and manage it sustainably.
The Hoovers’ caretaking of the forest will allow them to market the property as a kind of carbon bank — a place where carbon dioxide is pulled from the air by healthy and growing trees that store it in their trunks and roots and soil for a century.
At current prices on the voluntary carbon market, the Hoovers could make more than $100,000 over 10 years for leaving their forest standing, Josh Parrish, the director of the Nature Conservancy program, estimated.