Panther WMA Group Camp Reservations in 2013, for True Outdoors Reunions and Celebrations in West Wirginia

January 31, 2013

Panther WMA Group Camp Reservations in 2013, for True Outdoors Reunions and Celebrations in West Wirginia

It’s not too early to begin making plans and reservations for group camping needs this summer. In the heart of southern West Virginia’s coal country, Panther Wildlife Management Area, operated by the West Virginia State Parks system, affords fine dormitory style accommodations for organizations such as Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4-H Clubs, and church groups. It is also used heavily for family reunions.

This camp, which houses up to 60 people, opened in 1979. It features men’s and women’s dormitories, separate staff quarters, craft rooms, and complete kitchen and dining facilities. The area is located near Iaeger in McDowell County.  “It provides well-designed overnight facilities for groups and organizations,” said Donnie O’Brien, area superintendent. “While it is heavily used and popular with many local groups, vacancies are still available for this spring, summer and fall.”

Panther’s group camp is rented by the week during the months of June, July, and August. A two-night minimum is required in spring and fall. Two other areas within the West Virginia state park system also manage group camps: Cabwaylingo State Forest in Wayne county and Tomlinson Run State Park in Hancock County in the state’s northern panhandle.

About Panther Wildlife Management Area

The area features many recreational amenities such as a swimming pool, a six-site campground complete with electric hookups, hiking opportunities, and picnicking. Four picnic shelters are available to rent. 

As a wildlife management area, hunting is permitted in season and picturesque Panther Creek, with its numerous branches, bisects the facility and offers good fishing opportunities including trout, which is stocked during the spring by the Division of Natural Resources.

The area features excellent deer, turkey, squirrel, and grouse hunting. For trout fishing, a West Virginia fishing license is required. To learn more about Panther Wildlife Management Area, visit, email or call 304-938-2252.

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Moratorium on California Parks Closures Amidst $54 Million Funding Scandal

August 31, 2012

Moratorium on California Parks Closures Amidst $54 Million Funding Scandal

Many of California’s state parks that faced closure just weeks ago will be placed under two-year protection as officials continue to investigate the accounting scandal that led to the discovery of an extra $54 million in concealed state park funds.

California State Assembly bill AB 1478 officially approves the moratorium and allocates $30 million of the $54 million to keep the parks running. It also provides $500,000 for audits and investigations of park finances and $240,000 for the parks commission to exercise tighter oversight of agency operations, according to a Los Angeles Times article.

The bill passed the Senate 25 to 12 and the Assembly 50 to 15. It now goes to Governor Jerry Brown for final action. Yet, the Los Angeles Times articles point out that some legislators feel this is not the proper use of funds.

Some Republicans expressed concern that it doesn’t sufficiently address the problem of financial mismanagement — in fact, rewards it by allowing the department to spend money it hid.

Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield (D-Woodland Hills) introduced the bill. He said it was “a concrete step to make things right [after] rogue bureaucrats … lied and concealed millions.”

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HRI Adds 100-acre Site in Indiana’s Parke County

August 28, 2012

HRI adds 100-acre site in Parke County

Craig and Diane Green always wanted to permanently protect their property along Sugar Creek from development.

Now they have.

The Department of Natural Resources’ Healthy Rivers INitiative (HRI) has acquired 100 acres from the Greens.

“Instead of waiting until I die and not knowing if it will happen or not, I have the satisfaction and enjoyment now of knowing it’s safe now,” Craig Green said. “We’re really supportive of the (HRI) program. It’s just one part of it, but maybe it will encourage others to step forward and do something special.”

The forested parcel features thick white oaks and towering tulip poplars. Northern hemlock trees, which are uncommon in Indiana, grace the property. Some are reported to be 200 years old. The site also features steep, variable topography and bluffs overlooking the creek.

“It’s a pristine piece of property,” said Diane Green, relating a conversation she had with a representative of The Nature Conservancy. “I asked the guy what was so unique about our property. He said it would take 600 to 700 acres to match the diversity we have in 100.”

The acquisition is the most recent achievement for HRI. Gov. Mitch Daniels launched the program in 2010 to secure permanent conservation protection of nearly 70,000 acres along Sugar Creek, the Wabash River and the Muscatatuck River. To date, almost 30,000 acres have been protected.

HRI is a partnership of resource agencies and organizations working with landowners to provide a model that balances forest, farmland and natural resources conservation; connects separated parcels of public land to benefit wildlife; protects important wildlife habitat and rest areas for migratory birds; opens lands to public recreation; establishes areas for nature tourism; and provides clean water and protection from flooding to downstream landowners.

The Indiana State Department of Agriculture, The Nature Conservancy of Indiana, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service are HRI project partners.

The Parke County purchase was made with Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Funds. WSFR programs are celebrating 75 years of conservation success in North America. During that time, Indiana has received more than $230 million in WSFR funds for land acquisition, fish and wildlife management, and public access.

WSFR funds come from excise taxes paid to the federal government by users of fishing and hunting equipment and motor boat fuel, and demonstrate the user-pay/everyone-benefits system that has improved fishing, hunting and other wildlife-related activities.

To date, WSFR funds have helped HRI acquire almost 1,800 acres.

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