by Kate Shunney
West Virginia Division of Natural Resources officials met at Cacapon State Park this Sunday, May 2 for their monthly meeting. Members of the Natural Resources Commission gathered for the meeting as part of the park’s “soft opening” this past weekend.
At the start of the Sunday meeting, DNR chief Stephen McDaniel said the park would continue easing into opening the new 78-room lodge and its accompanying new facilities to visitors over the next two weekends.
A grand opening for the $25 million park addition and upgrade project could take place by Memorial Day, McDaniel said.
The lodge restaurant will be open for Mother’s Day. Park officials haven’t shared any more details about facility schedules yet.
During the Sunday meeting, members of the Natural Resources Commission took comments and discussed Big Game Hunting regulations proposed for the 2021-2022 hunting season, reviewed hunting and trapping regulations for 2022-2023 season and approved 2021 State Park Deer Hunts.
Cacapon State Park has held these regulated hunts for the last three years and will have two hunts in the fall – an archery-only hunt and a muzzleloader hunt. Hunters enter a lottery to secure limited permits for the controlled hunts. That lottery process will be announced over the summer.
McDaniel, during comments about proposals on DNR land, said the agency does not support having ATV and UTVs on wildlife management areas around West Virginia. He said a pilot program in Cabwaylingo State Forest with ATVs is going well, but statewide the DNR does not permit or support allowing motorized vehicles on public hunting land. McDaniel said those areas are supported by sportsmen funding and hunters and anglers have “overwhelmingly” told the state they do not support having ATVs on the wildlife management areas.
In other business, the commission took comments from groups and individuals about proposed changes to hunting and fishing regulations.