West Virginia Division of Natural Resources and The Conservation Fund recently announced the conservation of 32,000 acres of reclaimed mines and timber land in the Mountain State, to provide habitat for wildlife including elk, and the people who enjoy them.
The effort results in one of the largest blocks of protected wildlife habitat in West Virginia, according to the Conservation Fund.
The conserved land is in the southern West Virginia, in the state’s elk management zone in Logan, Lincoln and Mingo counties. The area is scheduled to receive 80 elk from Arizona to restore the species there. Elk were native to West Virginia during pre-colonial times, but were wiped out by the 20th Century by unchecked market hunting and habitat loss. Sportsmen and groups like the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation have worked to restore elk to many places both east and west of the Mississippi in more recent decades.
Some of the money that went to conserve that land comes from the federal Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Fund. That fund takes an excise tax paid on guns and ammunition and invests it in habitat and wildlife restoration, providing crucial conservation funding since 1937. “These working forest lands have been enrolled in the DNR’s wildlife management area system, where they will be managed to generate high quality wildlife habitat and provide tremendous hunting and wildlife viewing opportunities,” said Gov. Jim Justice, in a news release from the Conservation Fund. Learn more here.
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