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WV Wildlife Management Area to Be Closed to Sportsmen!

July 8th, 2008

I think you all probably have figured out that I am not against coal mining, and even MTR coal mining if it is done responsibly. I also know that some have made good arguments about there not being a responsible way to do it. I’m happy to read the discussions, and see the rational arguments on both sides (and many of the arguments on both sides are very irrational). But this isn’t really about that argument.

I found a disturbing article today about a Public Hunting Area here in West Virginia closing down because of coal mining.  The Fork Creek Wildlife Management Area will be closing because of mining operations in the area, which will cut off the only entrance into the hunting area.  After July 31st, there will be no entry into the Wildlife Management area.

What bothers me here is not the fact that there is an area near the WMA that is to be mined.  What bothers me is that they are allowed to cut off the only road into the area.  It would not be difficult for the coal company to make another road into the area so that there will be access for sportsmen.

Now, let me be clear.  The land that is in question has been leased to the State by the Armco Steel Corporation, which means that they can cancel the lease at any time.  However, this is just the kind of thing that gives “big coal” a bad name!  It gives fuel to those that oppose all types of coal mining, and causes there to be bad blood between sportsmen and the coal industry.

Just a few years ago, we lost one of the places that we had been hunting for years.  In fact, my dad and uncle had been hunting it for better than 30-40 years, because a coal company decided to exercise their rights on a lease.  They staked it off, and posted it, but then never actually started mining the coal.  And yet, we can’t go in and hunt!  I wouldn’t mind it nearly so much if they were actively mining the coal from that region!  Fortunately, we now have an even better area to hunt.

I would really like to see the coal mining industry make a stronger effort to be on good terms with the people of the state of WV.  It is our industry, and it is needed to make our economy go.  Those who want to completely wipe out coal mining in this state would pronounce a death sentence on the state.  Without mining, this state would become a “ghost state.”  But, that is just the reason the coal industry should give back to the state.  It would not be difficult, or expensive, to put in a secondary road into the WMA, so why not do that instead of closing it down completely?

5 Responses to “WV Wildlife Management Area to Be Closed to Sportsmen!”

  1. I’m obviously very disconnected with the situation, so have very little to add to any discussions – but is another road the only solution? I mean, I’m not big on building more roads – and wonder if there are other options? Why do they close the other road off? Is it not large enough to handle the coal mining traffic as well as public traffic? If not, I’d be all for making it large enough to handle the increased traffic.

    See, I told you I didn’t have much to add to the discussion. I just ramble until I’m tired of typing and then I stop. Sorry, that’s just the way I roll. 🙂

  2. This is an interesting one. I am also a little surprised at your stance on the coal mining issue. Most blogs I have come across have been against it and I know that the OBS has quite a few bloggers who were writing against the coal mining cause.

    That being said, I have no stance really on this issue, because I haven’t researched it enough at this point. I do wonder why, because of one road, they have to block access to the entire thing. It seems there should be some middle ground.

  3. I have to disagree with you on MTR – from all the research I’ve done there is no “responsible” way to do MTR. Simply put it destroys too much habitat for me to think that there may be a responsible way to do it. As for coal mining in general – I recognize it as a necessary evil so I’m not opposed to all coal mining – just MTR.

    That being said – if this area is going to be mined by the MTR method – the road isn’t an issue, it won’t take long after they’ve gotten started that there won’t be anything to hunt in the WMA or at least in portions of it.

    I would guess it is a safety call to block all public access to the area – no matter what method of mining they choose. In that regard I think it is a prudent call on the part of the mining company to close the area. As sure as they don’t someone will come poking around where they shouldn’t be, get hurt or killed and the mining company will be sued – if they’ve closed the area then they are not liable anymore, whoever is ignoring the posted rules is at fault if they get hurt.

  4. I figured that this post would get some interesting discussion going 🙂

    I know that MTR mining is a “hot topic”, but much that is being written on the subject is done by extreme activists (on both sides of the issue). I am not convinced, from my own research, that it is as damaging as opponents claim. There has been a lot of improvements in the process in the last 25 years, and yet opponents cite problems that were true in the beginning of the process.

    Btw, I think that opponents of the process play an important role. It was the opponents of coal mining in general that have led to the safer, more environmentally friendly practices that companies use today. I think that opponents to MTR will do the exact same thing. I doubt they will ever stop the process, but they will make it the most safe and environmentally friendly process that is possible.

    I might just mention that I have seen a lot of statistics, and “facts” that are just plain misused, and misreported. So, please be careful where you get your info (that is just a warning, as I have found some sources to be less than accurate). From my experience, opponents have raised more support outside of WV than they have within the state.

    I have friends who live in the southern coal fields, and they report that this process has actually been good for many of the inhabitants of the region. I know that there are occasionally problems, and I know that not everyone benefits. But, many landowners like the process because it makes land that is unusable, usable.

    I know that we probably won’t come to complete agreement on this topic. But, i figured I would give a little more information on why I am where I am 🙂

    Thanks for reading, and I appreciate all the good comments, and good attitudes when discussing such a “hot topic”. Keep it up…who knows you all might convince me 🙂

  5. I tend to stay on the opposing side of any major landscape change – including many of the Corp of Engineers projects including a huge lake in my state that we hunt and fish at – it just seems wrong to me to change the landscape so drastically just to further industry and development. I guess I’m just old fashioned – I like to leave the land the way it is and let nature readjust it – not us.

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