Celebrating the Outdoors

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A celebration of the outdoors is set for this weekend in Lewis County.  The West Virginia DNR and the West Virginia Wildlife Federation will once again team to celebrate National Hunting and Fishing Days this Saturday and Sunday at Stonewall Jackson Lake State Park.

“It’s a celebration of hunting, fishing, and all outdoor events,” said Coordinator of the event for the DNR. “It’s a ‘hands-on’ atmosphere to give people a chance to experience what they may otherwise never get to do.”

The sprawling event takes place throughout the vast expanse of the park.   There will be shooting at of shotguns, rifles, and muzzleloaders on the park’s shooting ranges, an archery range for people of all ages to try.  The DNR will have various demonstrations from cooking to boating, to reptiles and everything in between.   More than 100 vendors will also be on hand to browse for loads of outdoors equipment.

“The park is a great location,” said Snodgrass. “We have the lake, we have a grassy area for our tents, and we have a shooting range and archery range already set up.  It’s a perfect location.”

During the old days the event was on a much smaller scale.  The earliest celebrations were held at theWest VirginiaWildlifeCenterin French Creek.  However, the event grew into a two day affair and outgrew theWildlifeCenter.   The park offered an opportunity to grow.  Today, the West Virginia Celebration is one of many across the country, but is the nation’s second largest event.  OnlyIndianadraws more participants.

Those attending will have the opportunity to meet a number of high profile names in the outdoors industry.

“Tom Knapp is a shotgun exhibition shooter,” said Snodgrass. “He’s been on television and travelled around the U.S. We’re lucky to have him in West Virginia to help us celebrate.”

Also making a return appearance will be Alabama resident Byron Ferguson who will dazzle audiences with his prowess with a bow and arrow.

“Byron’s been around a couple of years and does a great archery shoot,” she said. “He’s been on movies and television and it’s great to have him back.”

West Virginia’s own professional bass angler Jeremy Starks will also be on hand giving a

bass fishing demonstration.  He’ll be one of several giving demonstrations and seminars throughout the day.

One of the biggest events is the Outdoor Youth Challenge.

“Kids ages 6 to 18 can participate in the hands on activities.  It’s everything from archery to shooting a .22 to fish identification,” said Snodgrass. “Kids who compete could win some really nice prizes like a lifetime hunting and fishing license.”

The events cover an array of outdoor areas of mastery and allow the youngsters to learn or demonstrate their skills of woodsmanship.

The event is Saturday from 9am-6pm and Sunday from 9am-5pm.   Admission is $5 for adults, $1 for children, under age 3 admitted free.





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