In December, 18,778 acres of land in northwestern West Virginia was purchased by the environmental nonprofit organization The Conservation Fund with the intention of transferring it to the state. The acreage will be temporarily owned and “sustainably managed as working forestland” by The Conservation Fund until the transfer, according to their press release.
The organization purchased the land at the request of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. Beginning this winter, the group aims to transfer the land to the state in phases as funding becomes available through a federal program. Eventually, the acreage is slated to contribute to the creation of five state Wildlife Management Areas as well as the expansion of four existing wildlife areas and North Bend State Park.
This recent acquisition is part of an ongoing effort to increase public access for hunting while preserving vital habitats for threatened and endangered species. The land adds to the 12,440 acres the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources recently acquired in Jackson, Pleasants, Ritchie and Wirt Counties. Public hunting will be allowed once the state owns the land. — By Sam Kepple