In May of 2021, Kirk Bereuter tripped out to the mountains of central West Virginia, near Fayetteville, to meet a hemp farmer on an isolated 80-acre homestead only a stone’s throw from the world-renowned class V rapids of the Gauley River. After several months of conversing on social media, we finally had the privileged opportunity to meet and talk with one of the smartest farmers in the industry who is developing and pioneering some of the most bio-intensive and creative agricultural practices in the United States and the world over.
After a first project handshake, the landscape architect accepted a client-led rafting tour, 50lbs of organically grown butternut, acorn, and delicata squash, as well as high-grade CBD tinctures, woodland foraged ramps & Chaga as acceptable down payment retainer fee before embarking on our trip back to Alexandria.
Kirk Bereuter has collaborated with a variety of hemp farmers and each project has provided a radically different site environment from one to the next, as well as clients whose personal history and professional DNA help to inform what makes the character of their destination unique. This client, among other things, has both a background in providing professional guided river rafting tours/expeditions within the local river rafting industry, as well as an education and professional background in park planning, both within the national park service and park planning outside of the US in Central America.
The client’s densely wooded property provides a variety of topography and site conditions relative to both the intense natural mountain terrain of his isolated watershed, as well as historic logging & coal mining roads from an earlier homestead era. The latter-mentioned conditions combined with our client’s personal history is both ironic and fortuitous in that it has helped to inform and drive potentials in creating a trail system for camp program opportunities that engage the various unique conditions found within upper peak/rock outcropping areas, mid-slope conditions, as well as the lower lying plain areas adjacent to the confluence of meandering creek systems that trickle down from the nearby gullies. The woodland footprints comprise nearly 80% of our client’s total property area and the remaining footprints are dedicated primarily to farm utility/access, greenhouse & crop footprints, as well as informal green areas adjacent to the main family log cabin dwelling.
Considering our client’s background, the history of his site, and what is in character/feasible for the site to support, we have developed a series of proposed recreation program that is complimentary to his farm operation and natural setting. Proposed new site interventions are a careful surgical insertion of primarily hardscape constructions which include:
- community pavilion which provides a platform for live performances, hemp industry symposium, and live music, as well as utility construction for farm/camp storage and hydro turbine assembly which interfaces with adjacent stream system.
- trail system and campsite conditions which may be used for: outdoor lab classroom, destination camp constructions keyed into and explore distinctive woodland footprints, as well as framework defining dedicated space and footprint for woodland agriculture/horticulture exhibits and experiments (both for farmer and horticulture cooperative partnerships).
- proposed enhancements to expanded crop footprints and relative check-dam constructions which harness lower stream system for both adjustable irrigation potentials and provide over-flow locations for small hydro turbine emplacements.
- added destination cabin/prefab micro-home constructions/locations that key into re-purposed historic logging roads found at upper viewshed areas
- design of multi-purpose utility building constructions @ lower farm entrance area which provides storage for farm implements/equipment, consolidation of miscellaneous “bone-yard” building salvage items, firewood/timber, micro-lumber mill, destination / Airbnb bunkhouse for area river rafting basecamp, and rafting and kayak boat/equipment,
- fence, gate, wall, bridge, pathway, and step constructions that comprise proposed trail system, and will also be utilized for proposed expanded agriculture/utility footprints and animal husbandry practice.
Destination Hemp Farm
Landscape Architect: Kirk Bereuter
Location: near Fayetteville, West Virginia, USA
Image Credit: Kirk Bereuter
Text Credit: Kirk Bereuter