Virginia Wildlife Management Areas Information

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Phelps Pond, within the Chester F. Phelps Wildlife Management Area in Fauquier and Culpeper counties, Virginia

Virginia Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) are state-managed protected areas that exist primarily for the benefit of wildlife. Within the Commonwealth of Virginia, 41 tracts of land have been protected as WMAs, covering a total of over 203,000 acres (317 sq mi; 820 km2). They are managed and maintained by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. [1]


Virginia Wildlife Management Area boundary sign

WMAs in Virginia differ from other state-managed protected areas in that they are solely intended to preserve and improve wildlife habitat, with a particular focus on game animals, and to provide public space for hunting and fishing activities. Other protected areas in the state, such as state parks, state forests, and natural area preserves, may protect habitat but are also expressly managed to provide space for public recreation, research, timber production, and/or rare species conservation. [2]

Land acquisition and maintenance funds for WMAs are ultimately provided by hunters and anglers, through license fees and taxes levied on gear. These fees are collected on a national level through the Pittman–Robertson Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act, and distributed proportionally to individual states. Some WMA lands were originally donated to the state for wildlife purposes, rather than purchased. [2]

Public use and access

Although maintained for the primary benefit of hunters and anglers, other recreational pursuits are permitted within Virginia's WMAs. Hiking, primitive camping, horseback riding, and bird-watching is allowed on many WMA properties. Prohibited activities include swimming, mountain biking, organized sports, and ATV use. Boats, when permitted, must typically be non-motorized. [2]

To utilize WMA land for any purpose, visitors ages 17 or older must possess a valid hunting or fishing permit, or a current Virginia boat registration. In the absence of these documents, visitors must obtain a daily or annual WMA Access Permit that allows entry to WMA lands. [3]

List of Virginia Wildlife Management Areas

The following table lists Virginia's 41 WMAs, as of 2016. [1]

WMA name City, county or counties [4] Area [4] Major waterbodies [4] Notes [4]
Amelia Amelia 2,217 acres (8.97 km2) Appomattox River
Big Survey Wythe 7,500 acres (30 km2)
Big Woods Sussex 4,173 acres (16.89 km2) [5] Contiguous with Big Woods State Forest.
Briery Creek Prince Edward 3,164 acres (12.80 km2) Briery Creek Lake
Chester F. Phelps Fauquier,
4,539 acres (18.37 km2) Rappahannock River
Cavalier Chesapeake 4,550 acres (18.4 km2) Comprises two separate tracts, one of which is contiguous with Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.
Chickahominy Charles City 5,217 acres (21.11 km2) Chickahominy River
Clinch Mountain Smyth,
25,477 acres (103.10 km2) Laurel Bed Lake
Crooked Creek Carroll 1,796 acres (7.27 km2)
Dick Cross Mecklenburg 1,400 acres (5.7 km2) Roanoke River Formerly known as the Elm Hill Wildlife Management Area.
Doe Creek Accomack 447 acres (1.81 km2)
Fairystone Farms Patrick,
5,321 acres (21.53 km2) Philpott Reservoir Contiguous with Fairy Stone State Park.
Featherfin Prince Edward,
2,800 acres (11 km2) Appomattox River
G. Richard Thompson Fauquier 4,000 acres (16 km2) Thompson Lake
Game Farm Marsh New Kent 429 acres (1.74 km2) Chickahominy Lake
Goshen and Little North Mountain Augusta,
33,697 acres (136.37 km2) Maury River Contiguous with George Washington National Forest and Goshen Pass Natural Area Preserve.
Hardware River Fluvanna 1,034 acres (4.18 km2) James River,
Hardware River
Havens Roanoke 7,190 acres (29.1 km2) The first VDGIF-managed property, initially purchased in 1930.
Hidden Valley Washington 6,400 acres (26 km2) Hidden Valley Lake
Highland Highland 14,283 acres (57.80 km2) Bullpasture River
Hog Island Surry,
Isle of Wight
3,908 acres (15.82 km2) James River
Horsepen Lake Buckingham 2,910 acres (11.8 km2) Horsepen Lake
James River Nelson 1,213 acres (4.91 km2) James River
Land's End King George 462 acres (1.87 km2) Rappahannock River Managed as a waterfowl refuge; hunting not permitted.
Mattaponi Caroline 2,542 acres (10.29 km2) [6] Mattaponi River,
South River
Merrimac Farm Prince William 301 acres (1.22 km2) Adjacent to Marine Corps Base Quantico.
Mockhorn Island Northampton 7,365 acres (29.81 km2) Extent of the WMA's tidal marshland is greatly reduced at high tide.
Pettigrew Caroline 934 acres (3.78 km2)
Powhatan Powhatan 4,462 acres (18.06 km2)
Princess Anne Virginia Beach 1,546 acres (6.26 km2) Atlantic Ocean (Back Bay)
Ragged Island Isle of Wight 1,537 acres (6.22 km2) James River
Rapidan Madison
10,326 acres (41.79 km2) Rapidan River,
Conway River,
South River
Contiguous with Shenandoah National Park.
Saxis Accomack 5,678 acres (22.98 km2) Atlantic Ocean Primarily protects tidal marshland on Virginia's eastern shore.
Short Hills Rockbridge,
4,232 acres (17.13 km2) Includes examples of karst topography.
Smith Mountain Cooperative Bedford,
4,996 acres (20.22 km2) Smith Mountain Lake Owned by Appalachian Power and managed by VDGIF.
Stewarts Creek Carroll 1,087 acres (4.40 km2)
Turkeycock Franklin,
2,679 acres (10.84 km2)
T. M. Gathright Bath 13,428 acres (54.34 km2) Lake Moomaw
Ware Creek New Kent 2,600 acres (11 km2) York River
Weston Fauquier 271 acres (1.10 km2)
White Oak Mountain Pittsylvania 2,748 acres (11.12 km2) Banister River

See also


  1. ^ a b "Wildlife Management Areas". Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Retrieved December 30, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c Gooch, Bob (2000). Enjoying Virginia Outdoors: A Guide to Wildlife Management Areas. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia. pp. 1–5. ISBN  0813919614.
  3. ^ "Access Permit". Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Retrieved December 30, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d Unless otherwise noted, information included in this column is sourced from individual pages listed at: "Wildlife Management Areas". Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Retrieved December 20, 2016.
  5. ^ Clarkson, Tee (November 17, 2016). "VDGIF purchases Parker's Branch". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved January 18, 2017.
  6. ^ "Mattaponi Wildlife Management Area". For the Love of the Land - 100 Conservation Stories from Across Virginia (PDF). Piedmont Environmental Council. p. 21. Retrieved January 17, 2017.

External links