The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

Local News

February 12, 2008

Conservancy adds land for Beury Mountain WMA

Almost 4,600 acres of forest overlooking the New River Gorge will be conserved and is now open for recreation, according to officials with the Nature Conservancy in West Virginia.

“There has been a lot of interest in trying to buffer the national park along the New River,” said Rodney Bartgis, state director of the Nature Conservancy. “We’re trying to find a balance between development and conservation, and this is an opportunity to provide some conservation up on the rim of the New River Gorge.”

The Nature Conservancy purchased 4,584 acres of forest from a private landowner in Fayette County and has joined in a partnership with the Division of Natural Resources and the state’s anglers and hunters. The land soon will be a part of the Beury Mountain Wildlife Management Area.

“Our partnerships with public land agencies are critical to the Nature Conservancy’s success in West Virginia,” Bartgis said. “We’re happy to assist the DNR conserve this important piece of property.”

Beury Mountain WMA is adjacent to Babcock State Park.

“This property will be maintained as a natural property,” Bartgis said.

The property has been leased to the DNR, which will eventually buy back the property over a three-year period as an addition to the Beury Mountain Wildlife Management Area, Bartgis said.

“This land acquisition more than doubles the size of the Beury Mountain Wildlife Management Area,” said Curtis Taylor, chief of wildlife resources for the DNR.

Taylor says the DNR is attempting to address the needs of all wildlife in the state.

“We finally have another funding source outside of license money to do that,” he said.

Bartgis says this conservation project is critical to the protection of the New River Gorge, and the larger Central Appalachian forest which is one of the most diverse forests in North America. He said his agency has identified the Central Appalachian forest as a globally important forest region.

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