West Virginia Department of Commerce Conservation

Recent Pages: Conservation


Cranberry Glades, West Virginia
Conservation is a way of life in West Virginia. Following the environmental excesses of the early 20th century that deforested much of the state and extirpated or endangered many native species of animals and fish, changes were put into effect that have not only restored those natural resources, but also protect them for future generations. At the same time, agencies under the West Virginia Department of Commerce and other state and federal agencies work together to expertly manage those resources and to make sure they are wisely and ethically used, allocated and protected.

black bearAt 1,500 feet, West Virginia is the most elevated state east of the Mississippi River. Because of the wide variation in elevation, latitude and longitude, West Virginia is considered a “transition state,” having attributes of the northern and southern states, and to some extent, eastern and western states. West Virginia has a wealth of contiguous quality forested habitats, and the state’s pristine mountain streams harbor a broad array of fish, mussels, dragonflies and damselflies, and other aquatic invertebrates.

Conservation of the state’s natural resources was a major goal of the Civilian Conservation Corps, formed by the federal government in the 1930s as a government jobs program. The CCC’s efforts helped create the beautiful West Virginia State Parks System enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.

Conservation education opportunities are available for citizens of all ages, from Project WILD in the schools to West Virginia State Conservation Camp for youth in the summer to the Master Naturalist Program for adults.

West Virginia’s natural resources laws are enforced by conservation officers in the Division of Natural Resources, who also enforce hunting, fishing, boating, and litter law violations. In West Virginia, no species of wildlife is jeopardized because of illegal taking, thanks to the efforts of the DNR Law Enforcement Section.