July 29, 2005
Hunters, anglers and other people interested in wildlife-associated recreation directly benefit from West Virginia's extensive
Wildlife Management Area (WMA) program, according to Curtis I. Taylor, Chief of the Division of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Section. This public land management program is just one of the many successful programs we have implemented for conserving and managing wildlife habitat and providing quality opportunities for hunting, fishing, trapping and other wildlife-related activities throughout the Mountain State.
Sportsmen and sportswomen in West Virginia can enjoy 1.56 million acres of publicly accessible state and federal lands and waters managed by the Wildlife Resources Section. A total of 74 WMAs, located across the state, provide public lands for the conservation and management of wildlife habitat that supports a diverse array of game and non-game wildlife species.
Declining access to private lands and the loss of wildlife habitat through commercial and residential developments makes the WMA program an extremely valuable asset to the citizens of West Virginia . Hunters and anglers provided the funds, through the purchase of hunting and fishing licenses, including the Conservation Stamp, to acquire land for the development of new WMAs and the expansion of existing WMAs. Since 1989, the Conservation Stamp has provided for the addition of more than 45,000 acres of land into the WMA program.
Not only do WMAs provide quality habitat for wildlife, physical developments on these areas often complement management activities and are considered an intricate component of the land management program.
Currently, 18 public shooting ranges, 24 physically challenged hunter access roads 19 angler access sites, 7 boat ramps and 24 campgrounds are located on WMAs across the state. More than 580 miles of roads and trails provide access on the WMAs for hunting, fishing, trapping and other wildlife-associated activities.
The importance of federal land in the state for outdoor enthusiasts is evidenced by a cooperative agreement on three National Forests between the U.S. Forest Service and West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, which directs the wildlife management activities on 1.1 million acres of National Forest land in the state. In additional, more than 18,000 acres are managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as part of the Ohio River Islands and Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuges.
The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources also cooperatively manages more than 124,000 acres of land with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Some of the most unique habitat in West Virginia can be found in these National Forests, National Wildlife Refuges, and Corps of Engineers' properties.
For additional information on any of West Virginia 's WMAs, please obtain A Guide to Wildlife Management Areas in West Virginia. This brochure is available by visiting our website at
www.wvdnr.gov. On behalf of the Wildlife Resources Section, I encourage you to get outside and enjoy all that our WMAs have to offer, said Taylor .