The Lewis Wetzel Wildlife Management Area in
The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources owns the surface land. But the DNR owns mineral rights to only 400 acres in the 13,590-acre wildlife area. Private individuals own the remaining mineral rights. Some are leasing their mineral rights to energy companies.
DNR District 1 biologist Steven Rauch tells published reports that mineral owners have a legal right to retrieve their minerals from the land.
Rauch says the DNR is working with the companies to minimize the impact of drilling. He says Lewis Wetzel is popular and the state wants to preserve it.