West Virginia forestry director dies in accident

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The director of the West Virginia Division of Forestry has died, Gov. Jim Justice said Tuesday.

Justice said forestry department director Barry Cook died from a “terrible accident.” He offered no additional details during a news conference where he announced the death.

“He gave so much and gave so much incredible expertise to many, way beyond just forestry. A really good man,” the governor said.

Andy Malinoski, a spokesman for the state commerce department, said Cook died Saturday. He did not release a cause of death. A funeral home obituary said Cook died at 70 years old.

“Barry was a committed, dedicated employee who embraced the mission to protect and preserve our forests and all the value they bring to our state. He will be missed by his family, the employees of the Division of Forestry and all who knew him,” Ed Gaunch, West Virginia Secretary of Commerce, said in a statement.

Cook was born in Williamson, West Virginia and had a roughly 50-year career in forestry.

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