CLENDENIN, W.Va. — A large track of public hunting land in Kanawha County is no longer available to the public. The new managers of the Morris Creek Wildlife Management Area chose not to renew their lease with the Division of Natural Resources and the decision means more than 9,800 acres of public land is no longer available.
“They’re doing logging now and may be looking at cabins and possibly an ATV trail. Some of those things aren’t compatible with a Wildlife Management Area,” said Kim Shaw, Biologist for District 5 of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.
The property near the Clay/Kanawha County line is owned by the Bruce B. Cameron Foundation, but management of the land has changed since the last lease agreement was created. Despite efforts by the agency to renew the agreement, the new managers chose a different direction.
“We’re always disappointed when we lose a wildlife management area. Since I’ve been here we’ve lost Fork Creek and Elk Creek, and now Morris Creek,” said Shaw.
The agency is always looking for new tracts of land to either purchase or lease for long term WMA status.
“We lease from private companies or we lease throughout the state from the U.S. Forest Service or the Corps of Engineers. We’re always looking to stretch our hunting and fishing dollars as far as we can, so the lease system works out well. But of course it’s always nice to own it and that way we don’t have to worry about losing the lease,” he explained.
The change is immediate and the nearly 10,000 acres is no longer open for hunters in the region. The nearest Wildlife Management Areas are Walback in Clay County and Plymouth-Amherst in Putnam County. The area was a popular destination for hunters in northern Kanawha County who will now be forced to look for new land to hunt as hunting season approaches.
DNR personnel removed the boundary markers and entrance signs Wednesday.