Our goal as the Division of Natural Resources is to protect and preserve wildlife and wildlife habitat for future generations. We encourage people to get outdoors while admiring what nature has to offer. However, we encourage everyone to watch and learn and leave wildlife wild. 

The Seven Principles of Leave No Trace 

Plan Ahead and Prepare

Plan for your trip. Gather information on where you are going ahead of time. Gather maps of the area and trails, prepare for all types of weather and dress accordingly. Make sure that you have a bag packed with a first-aid kit, any medicines that are needed by anyone in the group, and a charged cell phone. If you’re staying overnight, make sure you bring adequate camp gear (tent, fire starter, sleeping bag/pad, extra clothes, etc.) and enough food for everyone on the trip. Please make sure to consider all terrain types that you may encounter and prepare ahead of time. Make sure that you check the area that you are visiting for any regulations or overnight permits that you might need. 

Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

When you’re traveling through a wildlife habitat, you are in their home. Our goal is to minimize any damage that we could cause from overuse. When you travel, make sure that you travel along trails or paved walkways. This limits the amount of off-trail use that could damage certain wildlife habitat. It also keeps human impact to a minimized area where parks can appropriately accommodate this impact. If you are backpacking through a wilderness and looking for a bathroom, or overlook please make sure people take separate routes to the destination to keep the area as natural as possible. 

When setting up a campsite, make sure that you pitch your tent on durable surfaces. Areas that are best spots for setting up your camp will be areas that you will do the least amount of damage. This means little vegetation is key, stay away from camping on water sources and if possible choose an area that has already been set up for setting up a tent. 

Dispose of Waste Properly

Dispose of all trash in designated areas or pack it out. If you see trash along the way it is always nice to bring out more trash with you then you came in with. To dispose of human waste make sure that you choose a location that is 200 feet from any water source, and dig a hole 6-8 inches deep, 4-6 inches wide and dispose of any toilet paper in the hole (or pack it out) and then cover the hole once finished. 

Leave What You Find

Leave what you find. Don’t take any vegetation, rocks, wildlife. Our goal is to leave it as natural as when you arrived. Make sure that you never transport anything you find in nature due to invasive species. Make sure never to transport firewood for this exact reason. 

Minimise Campfire Impacts

Minimize campfire impacts by only using dead and down wood that you find in the area. Use a camp stove when possible instead of a fire. Also, be aware of any fire bans or regulations that might be in effect in your area. Try to use existing fire rings when available and ALWAYS make sure your fire is out before going to bed or leaving the area. 

Respect Wildlife

This is their home. Respect their home. Don’t yell or be loud or make a lot of quick movements. Never get close to wildlife, but instead snap a few pictures from afar. Some animals carry diseases that might not be obvious to the public. If you happen to see a sick or injured animal, mark the location and get in contact with a park ranger or natural resources officer. 

Be Considerate of Other Visitors

As you respect wildlife, also respect other visitors. Be considerate of others by moving to the side when others pass by (know who has the right of way), pick up after yourself, don’t be loud,  leash your pets and pick up after them (if they are permitted in the area). 

Warmwater Hatchery Program 

The Division of Natural Resources seeks to provide a variety of angling opportunities to meet increasing demands on our recreational fisheries, while also conserving and protecting this vital resource. One way that the DNR addresses this need is through its fish hatchery programs. Many anglers are aware of the successful trout hatchery and stocking program that provides and enhances fishing in small impoundments and streams statewide. The state’s warmwater hatchery and stocking program, although a little less well known, is extremely significant to all West Virginia anglers.

West Virginia’s warmwater hatchery program has been instrumental in providing fishing opportunities to anglers for nearly 60 years. For most of that time, the Palestine Hatchery was the state’s primary facility dedicated to the production of warmwater species. Millions of walleye, musky, tiger musky, channel catfish, hybrid striped bass, saugeye, sunfish, and largemouth and smallmouth bass have been raised over the years at Palestine Hatchery, and stocked into streams and lakes across the state. Consequently, the Palestine Hatchery has been a key to most of West Virginia’s fishery management successes.

A recent addition to the hatchery program, the Apple Grove Hatchery in Mason County, will further enhance the DNR’s fish production capabilities providing increased angling opportunities to West Virginia’s anglers. This new facility has 34 ponds totaling 43 acres and a 5-acre water supply reservoir that nearly doubles the DNR’s fish production capabilities. A modern, 9,300 square-foot hatchery building will further improve fish production efforts enhancing the DNR’s ability to spawn, rear, and ultimately stock fish into West Virginia’s waters. Musky, tiger musky, walleye, channel catfish, and other species will be raised at Apple Grove Hatchery.

The Apple Grove and Palestine hatcheries are vital to the DNR’s ability to provide fish for recreational angling and restoration efforts throughout West Virginia. These facilities in conjunction with modern and science-based fishery management efforts conducted by the DNR’s staff fishery biologists will be key to enhancing the state’s recreational fisheries for the enjoyment of all.

Additional Resources

State Wildlife Action Plans Preventing Wildlife from Becoming Endangered 

Partners in Conservation

West Virginia Wild Yards Program 

Many people create wildlife around their homes without realizing it. Bird feeders, fruiting plants and water sources attract wildlife into our yards, fulfilling their needs and providing us with hours of enjoyment. Homeowners everywhere have found that songbirds and other wildlife are pleasant to live with. Landscaping with the habitat needs of wildlife in mind can be an enjoyable and inexpensive pastime. In fact, the National Wildlife Federation estimates that an investment of about $200 can increase property value in time from 3 to 10%. On a $40,000 house, that’s $1200 – $4000.

The Wildlife Diversity Program (WDP) has developed the West Virginia Wild Yards Program to recognize the efforts of backyard wildlife landscapers. Approved properties will be entered into the WV Wild Yards Registry maintained by the WDP. The property owner will receive a certificate and a sign that can be placed within the backyard habitat to let everyone know that the area is part of a statewide network of WV Wild Yards.

How do you attract wildlife to your yard? It’s easy to improve wildlife habitat if you provide the four necessary components: food, water, shelter and space. This task can be as easy as providing feeders, birdbaths and nest boxes or as elaborate as restoring a native meadow. A diverse yard will decrease the amount of time spent mowing and watering, as well as being less vulnerable to insect and rodent pests while encouraging insect-eating predators. By planting evergreens on the north and west sides of your home you can block winter winds and prevent snow accumulation resulting in lower heating bills. Hardwoods planted for wildlife on the south side of your house will provide shade during the summer, decreasing your cooling bills. These are only a few of the benefits of landscaping with the environment in mind.

Whether you live on a quarter-acre suburban lot, a five-acre townhouse development or in a city apartment, you can provide habitat for wildlife. You can start right away by filling a new birdfeeder with sunflower seeds, hanging a nest box, or planting trumpet- creeper vines for hummingbirds or milkweed for butterflies.

If you are interested in participating in the WV Wild Yard Program please contact the Wildlife Diversity Program at the address below for an information packet which includes the following fact sheets on backyard habitat management:

For more information about the West Virginia Wild Yards Program, contact:
West Virginia Wild Yards, Wildlife Diversity Program, WV DNR,
P.O. Box 67, Elkins, WV 26241.
(304) 637-0245

Helpful Resources