Plans for elk release finalized

LOGAN, W.Va. — The day many have looked forward to for a long time will come in just over a week in Southern West Virginia.   The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources announced plans for the dedication ceremony for the reintroduction of elk. The ceremony will be Monday, Dec. 19 at 12:30 p.m.

The release will be at the soft holding pen area of the Tomblin Wildlife Management Area in Logan County.   An alternative site will be the Chief Logan State Park Conference Center in the event of extreme weather such as rain or snow.  The event is open to the public.

The elk program in the Mountain State has been underway for several years, but only in the past year has it picked up steam.

During November, a team from the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources traveled to the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area in Kentucky and worked with members of the U.S. Forest Service staff to round up the first 20 elk which will be transported and released in southern West Virginia.

The December 19th event will be the first of what is expected to be a number of releases in the southern coalfields over the course of the next few years as the elk program in the state is rolled out.   The timeline for the full restoration is fluid as West Virginia wildlife officials coordinate with other states to procure elk to be brought to West Virginia for release.

The last known occurrences of wild elk in West Virginia were recorded in the headwaters of the Tygart Valley and Greenbrier Rivers around 1875 according to the Division of Natural Resources records.

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