WEST VIRGINIA — West Virginia is 24,000 square miles or 1,536,000 acres. Large portions of the state have been developed, but an even bigger portion is still untouched wilderness. AZ Animals has identified the five largest landowners of the wild and wonderful state.
West Virginia State
West Virginia state is the largest landowner, owning 1.5 million acres of wilderness. Much of the land is dedicated to public use and conservation efforts. West Virginia terrain is ideal for outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, fishing and hunting. Visitors to the great state have many opportunities to experience these activities in any of the 35 State Parks.
The Federal Government
The Federal Government is the second largest land owner with 919,000 acres. Federally owned land is dedicated to the use of national forests, wildlife refuges and spots for timber production and outdoor recreation. The Monongahela Forest is one federally owned area which spans over 900,000 acres through several counties. The forest offers hiking, camping, fishing and hunting areas. The endangered big-eared bat is also protected on these lands.
Boy Scouts of America
The Boys Scouts of America comes in third, owning 132,000 acres. The Summit Bechtel Reserve, an expansive wilderness region that offers outdoor activities and events is the largest portion. The Reserve is a popular gathering for scouts and other outdoor enthusiasts, and every four years it hosts the National Scout Jamboree. This Jamboree brings thousands of people from across the country together to participate in various scouting activities.
Allegheny Wood Products
One of the leading forestry companies in West Virginia, Allegheny Wood Products owns 125,000 acres of land. The company is dedicated to sustainable forestry practices, and its operations are carefully managed to preserve the natural habitat while contributing to the state’s timber industry. The company employs modern techniques that minimize waste and ensure responsible use of resources.
American Electric Power
Coming in last on this list, but certainly not least is American Electric Power (AEP) with a whopping 100,000 acres. The company uses the land for power generation and other utility-related purposes. AEP is also committed to environmental sustainability and implements responsible practices such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions. AEP not only uses the land for operational purposes but also provides job opportunities to local communities and boosts economic growth in the region.