New Program Opens Land to Public Hunting

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In a first for the Commonwealth, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) has finalized a licensing agreement with The Forestland Group, LLC that will make over 19,000 acres of land in Dickenson County available for public hunting. The property is owned by Heartwood Forestland Fund IV and managed by The Forestland Group, LLC. This is the first land agreement the Department has made under a new program called Public Access Land for Sportsmen (PALS).

The new hunting area, located between State Highway 63 and State Route 600 (Frying Pan Creek Road), will be called the Coalfield PALS Area. The Forestland Group, LLC manages the property using sustainable forestry techniques to produce forest products. This management approach incorporates best management practices and wildlife management activities. The property reportedly offers excellent turkey and grouse hunting, as well as good deer hunting.

In the licensing agreement, the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries will manage access for hunting, fishing and trapping. In order to be admitted on the property, hunters, anglers, and trappers will need a special permit. The $12.50 permit will be valid beginning October 1, 2004, through June 30, 2005, and can be purchased at the VDGIF Marion Regional Office, 1796 Highway Sixteen, Marion, VA 24354. Inquiries should be directed to Regional Wildlife Manager Allen Boynton.

Applicants for the permit will need to possess a current hunting, trapping or fishing license, as those are the activities allowed on the property. Camping and all-terrain vehicles are prohibited on the Coalfield PALS Area VDGIF regulations for Department-controlled lands will apply to the Coalfield PALS Area. Interested sportsmen should contact the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries at 276-783-4860.