LOGAN, W.Va. — The W.Va. Division of Natural Resources is reviewing bids for constructing an elk viewing tower and visitor center to be built in the Tomblin Wildlife Management Area in Logan County.
According to Gov. Jim Justice, the state has awarded $2.5 million from its Abandoned Mine Lands grants fund.
A popular attraction for visitors and wildlife enthusiasts, the state's elk (Cervus canadensis) population is 110, but 40 additional animals will be introduced in 2024. The herd roams the Tomblin Wildlife Management Area, which includes more than 25,155 acres in Logan and Mingo counties in the state's southwestern mountains.
Brett McMillion, director of the division, said the tower will provide an elevated platform for enhanced viewing areas and a level viewing area accessible for those with mobility issues.
The visitor center will include more than 2,000 square feet of displays, conference facilities, offices, and other amenities for visitors, volunteers, researchers, and staff.
More than 500 square feet will be dedicated to the history of the elk program and the reclaimed mine areas where they have been introduced, McMillion said.
“The growth of our elk herd and the success of our management program is a testament to the hard work of our wildlife biologists and this administration’s commitment to protecting and preserving our natural resources,” he said.
Since Justice took office, more than 83,000 acres of public lands and 61 miles of rail trail have been added to the state public lands managed by the division. Significant additions include the 72-mile Elk River Trail, 177-acre Summersville Lake State Park, and nine new wildlife management areas.
Several wildlife management areas have been expanded, and all state parks and forests have received significant renovations and facility expansions.