Most outdoor enthusiasts in Virginia have hiked, camped, paddled, hunted, or fished in the state's many parks, refuges, and other public lands, from the barrier islands to the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests, but few know about another wonderful resource, the Commonwealth's wildlife management areas.
The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries maintains twenty-nine of these areas. From the 5,574-acre Saxis wildlife management area on the Eastern Shore to the 25,477-acre Clinch Mountain wildlife management area deep in Southwest Virginia—180,000 acres in all—the areas provide excellent sport for anglers and hunters. Hunting seasons in Virginia are relatively short, however, and during the remainder of the year, the wildlife management areas offer plenty of opportunity for other activities: camping, backpacking, hiking, bird-watching and nature viewing, mountain biking, horseback riding, or just relaxing in an outdoor environment.
An avid sportsman known to Virginians for his guides to the outdoors, Bob Gooch covers the many recreational possibilities available to everyone in these wildlife management areas. Arranged in five geographical sections, Enjoying Virginia Outdoors includes maps and specific information for each area. Many have nature-viewing platforms or towers for use by the public. Although the wildlife management programs are directed toward game animals, all wildlife benefits. The areas boast over 650 species of fauna, including an especially wide variety of birds and an impressive array of flora.
The wildlife management areas require no fee or permit; all you need to use this wonderful resource is a healthy respect for the land and the wild creatures that live there, and a copy of Enjoying Virginia Outdoors.