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Large Land Acquisitions Protect Unique and Diverse Habitats

American Woodcock will benefit from young forest management on land acquired by WV DNR; photo by Bill Hubick.
Over the past year, more than 3,000 acres were acquired in Tucker County and another 2,500 acres in Morgan County by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR), Wildlife Resources Section. The new Little Canaan Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Tucker County was purchased with monies generated from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses as well as funds from the West Virginia Outdoor Heritage Conservation Fund. With its proximity to the Canaan Valley region, this area provides a unique diversity of habitats, including the “Little Canaan” wetland complex. It also provides opportunities to intensively manage for species that require early successional habitat, including Ruffed Grouse, Golden-winged Warblers, and American Woodcock as well as high elevation spruce/northern hardwood species. The new Sideling Hill WMA in Morgan County is primarily mature hardwood forest and was purchased with hunting and fishing license money. This is a valuable acquisition in an area where development is rapidly fragmenting habitat.

WVDNR also worked to create or maintain more than 200 acres of early successional forests in several WMAs in the state. Prescribed burning, a commercial forestry mulcher, and old-fashioned hand labor in addition to shrub plantings were used to accomplish this work. Some of the projects were cooperative efforts in conjunction with the Appalachian Mountains Woodcock Initiative.