The state law for the Elk Restoration Program under the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources goes into effect Friday, June 12.
“Today represents a big step in getting elk back in West Virginia,” stated Del. Rupie Phillips Jr. (D-Logan).
The legislation, House Bill 2515 originated in the House of Delegates and was later signed by the Governor on April 2. The new law gives the Department of Natural Resources the authority to oversee the management and future hunting of elk in West Virginia.
The Department of Natural Resources has been in consultation with officials from both Kentucky and Virginia in order to help them formulate the most effective elk program for the program for W.Va..
“I am very satisfied with the progress the Dept. of Natural Resources has made so far in implementing the program. The elk restoration program will be an economic boost my region and will further enhance the existing tourism destinations like the Hatfield McCoy Trail System,” Phillips added.
Del. Josh Nelson (R-Boone) who sponsored the bill, commented, “I am pleased my fellow colleagues from southern West Virginia came together to make this day possible. The elk program will go a long way in supporting our local tourism industry.”
The legislation defines areas designated for the restoration program. The area must be composed of all of Logan County, Mingo County, McDowell County and Wyoming County and will also include portions of Boone County, Lincoln County and Wayne County.
“I am looking forward to the opportunity to see elk return to the Mountain State, where they once roamed freely,” Nelson concluded.
The legislation was also sponsored by Del. Jeff Eldridge (D-Lincoln), Del. Justin Marcum (D-Mingo), Del. Doug Reynolds (D-Cabell), Del. Linda Goode Phillips (D-Wyoming), Del. Randy E. Smith (R-Preston), Del. Kelli Sobonya (R-Cabell), Del. Jordan Hill (R-Nicholas), and Del. Lynne Arvon (R-Raleigh).