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Recreation facilities cut at four WV wildlife areas

Charleston Gazette-Mail file photo Anglers prepare boats for launching at Plum Orchard Lake Wildlife Management Area in Fayette County during a tournament for kayak-borne fishermen last May. While boating and fishing will continue at Plum Orchard, its campgrounds will be closed as part of a 4 percent cut to help the state park system balance its share of the state budget. Also closing are campgrounds, swimming pools and picnic areas at Bluestone, Berwind Lake and Laurel Lake Wildlife Management Areas.
Charleston Gazette-Mail file photo
Anglers prepare boats for launching at Plum Orchard Lake Wildlife Management Area in Fayette County during a tournament for kayak-borne fishermen last May. While boating and fishing will continue at Plum Orchard, its campgrounds will be closed as part of a 4 percent cut to help the state park system balance its share of the state budget. Also closing are campgrounds, swimming pools and picnic areas at Bluestone, Berwind Lake and Laurel Lake Wildlife Management Areas.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Recreation facilities not associated with fishing and hunting at four Southern West Virginia Wildlife Management Areas were officially closed as of Saturday, in an effort to help the Division of Natural Resources’ parks and recreation section comply with a 4 percent inter-agency budget cut ordered by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin in October.

Affected by the closures are Bluestone, Plum Orchard Lake, Berwind Lake and Laurel Lake Wildlife Management Areas. While hunting and fishing, including fish stocking, will continue to be offered at the four WMAs, recreational facilities operated by the state parks system since 1979 will not, due mainly to low usage and high operating costs.

The cutback will close Berwind Lake’s swimming pool, bathhouse and snack bar near War in McDowell County and provide no maintenance funding for the WMA’s picnic shelters and eight-unit campground.

Laurel Lake WMA near Lenore in Mingo County will also have its swimming pool mothballed and lose maintenance funding for its seven picnic shelters and two playgrounds.

At Bluestone WMA, funding to maintain 330 campsites in seven primitive campgrounds along Bluestone Lake, the New River and Indian Creek in Summers, Mercer and Monroe counties has been cut…

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