The public battle over Wilderness Areas in
Dave Seville of the W.V. Wilderness Coalition looks over the Seneca Creek area, a plumb wilderness advocates want for Wilderness designation.
shifted from Seneca Creek in
Sportsman’s groups have been adamantly opposed to creation of any new Wilderness areas in
"We looked at what was proposed, realizing there was going to be some additional land put into the Wilderness designation," said DNR Director Frank Jezioro. "If we’re going to have some new wilderness land, let’s try to get what would best serve the hunters and fishermen in the state."
All five members of the West Virginia Congressional Delegation are backing the bill now proposed in the U.S. House. The legislation would add land to three existing Wilderness areas and create four new ones.
The Manchin Administration proposes an alternative.
The state’s offering represents some apparent horse trading on the locations. The most problematic of the currently proposed areas, from the DNR’s point of view, is
"That’s extremely important to us because the
The liming would be impossible if the area is designated Wilderness, since rules prohibit dump trucks hauling limestone into such areas.
The state’s alternative also calls for the removal of Spice Run from the proposed Wilderness area.
The olive branch to appease Wilderness advocates on the state’s alternative is Seneca Creek. The area in
Sportsmen fear wildlife feeding areas like these at Seneca Creek could be lost with Wilderness designation
for Wilderness designation by advocates. The area is heavily fortified with limestone and has no need for acid treatment. It’s also one of
Sportsmen’s groups, including
"We realize we have to give the Wilderness Coalition something," said Jezioro. "That would forever protect that Seneca Creek drainage. It’s something I think everybody agrees should be protected."
Jezioro says they are offering some adjusted boundaries that would still allow for active management of wildlife clearings on the Seneca Creek area even after the Wilderness designation.
The state’s proposed alternative concedes the additional acreage at Otter Creek, Dolly Sods, and Cranberry Wilderness Areas. The state appears satisfied with a proposed area on Roaring Plains in
The state’s alternative proposals have been forwarded to the Congressional delegation for consideration as the bill makes its way through Congress.