§20-3-2. Acquisition of suitable lands by director; maintenance
thereof as state forests or wildlife areas; relinquishment of
construction and maintenance of roads to the commissioner of
The director may with the consent of the governor purchase, in the name of the state, out of funds set aside for the purpose, or out of any unused funds in his hands, lands suitable for forest culture, state forests or wildlife refuges, public hunting areas, public fishing areas, public hunting and fishing areas, public access sites and other lands for the purposes set forth in this article. Such funds may also be used for the construction of dams for fish refuges on lands so acquired. Purchase may be made on terms requiring not less than one third of the purchase price to be paid at the time of the conveyance with the residue to be paid in not less than one or two years after date. The director may also receive the gift, in the name of the state, of such lands by deed or bequest. In all cases of transfer to the state, the fee simple title shall pass to the state, except minerals and mining rights to remove such minerals may be excepted or reserved.
The director shall protect, preserve and maintain lands so acquired as forest culture areas, state forests, wildlife areas, public hunting areas, public fishing areas, public hunting and fishing areas, public access sites and other such lands for the propagation and distribution of forest trees and for the protection, management, propagation and distribution of the fish, wild animals and birds thereon. He may prescribe and enforce rules and regulations consistent with the laws of the state to carry out that objective. The director may prescribe and enforce rules prohibiting all hunting and fishing, pursuing, catching, trapping, capturing and killing of fish, wild animals and birds upon such areas and lands for such length of time as he may deem proper.
The director may provide special regulations and open seasons for the taking of any wild birds, wild animals or fish upon such areas and lands in the manner provided in this chapter.
Except for the authority and responsibility to do the necessary cutting and planting of vegetation along road rights-of-way in state parks, state forests and public hunting and fishing areas, the director of the department of natural resources shall, upon the effective date of this section, relinquish to the commissioner of highways his authority over publicly owned roads in state parks, state forests and public hunting and fishing areas, and shall thereafter neither construct, reconstruct nor maintain any road or vehicular bridge for public usage in such areas except as is specifically authorized by this chapter. This relinquishment shall not be construed to alter the responsibilities assigned to the director of the department of natural resources in section eleven, article four, chapter twenty of the code of West Virginia.