Roanoke, W.Va. – Because of his outstanding support of hunting and fishing initiatives in the state during his time as governor, and because of his continuing support of those initiatives in the U.S. Senate, Sen. Joe Manchin recently was named West Virginia Sportsperson of the Year by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources and the West Virginia Wildlife Federation. The award was presented by DNR Director Frank Jezioro during West Virginia’s Celebration of National Hunting and Fishing Day, held Sept. 24 and 25 at Stonewall Resort State Park in Lewis County.
“As an avid hunter and angler, Joe has always looked for ways to improve and expand hunting and fishing opportunities in our state,” Jezioro said. “During his time as governor, any time I went to him with an idea or a proposal, his first question was always, ‘Is it good for our people?’ If the answer was yes, the rest was easy.”
Some of Sen. Manchin’s accomplishments include:
- Added 10,000 more acres of land open to the public for hunting and fishing, including 6,200 acres in Fayette County along the New River Gorge added to Beury Mountain Wildlife Management Area, in partnership with The Nature Conservancy
- Built the shooting ranges at Chief Logan State Park and Kumbrabow State Forest, and built the Clay Target Shooting Facility at Cacapon State Park
- Approved legislation providing for Hunter Education classes to be taught in the public schools as an elective
- Expanded the Archery in the Schools program to 248 schools
- Assisted DNR in acquiring a piece of property on the headwaters of the Elk River which guarantees public access to one of the best trout streams in the East
- Began development of two of DNR’s largest public fishing and boating access facilities, one at Fort Martin near Morgantown and the other at Nitro in Kanawha County
- Started the very successful annual Governors One Shot event which raised $177,000 during its first four years to benefit the Hunter’s Helping the Hungry program
“Since his election to the U.S. Senate, Joe has continued to serve the interests of the state’s and the nation’s hunters, anglers and trappers as a member of the Congressional Sportsman’s Caucus,” Jezioro said. “He recently signed on to a bill that would make hunting a priority on federally owned lands, opening additional opportunities for outdoors sportsmen and women.”
“I thank Director Jezioro, the staff at the West Virginia DNR and the folks at the West Virginia Wildlife Federation for selecting me for the honor of Sportsperson of the Year,” U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin said. “As a lifelong and avid outdoor enthusiast, I always enjoy hunting for a buck or testing my skills at fly fishing. West Virginia has outdoor treasures for all ages to enjoy, and I was so pleased to work with the folks at DNR while I was governor and now as U.S. Senator to preserve and promote our state’s wilderness for future generations to enjoy.”
The West Virginia Sportsperson of the Year Award is presented to a person who has exhibited outstanding service to improving the environment and outdoor recreational opportunities in the state.