Bringing environmental balance to Oglebay Park | News, sports and jobs

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Over the past few weeks, there have been numerous news articles, editorials, and social media posts about our limited-purpose bowhunting. Many of these are very passionately expressed by both those for and against hunting.

The limited response from the Wheeling Park Commission’s management team was primarily due to its deference to the court system in determining the merits of filed injunctions.

We appreciate the court’s quick response and fair outcome.

After much research and consideration, we have decided to continue limited-purpose bowhunting from November 6th to 8th.

To that end, we believe it is important to take this opportunity to update you on our position and processes.

First and foremost, it is important to understand that the decision to proceed with the hunt was not made lightly. Many conversations have taken place over the past 10 years. More recently, over the past three years, these conversations have increased and helped shape new strategies for environmental management at Oglebay Park and Wheeling Park. This strategy is a huge step forward and one that we are very proud of.

The goal of these focused environmental initiatives is to improve the environment as a whole. Specifically, when it comes to park nature, it is about restoring the balance of our ecosystem and giving native plants, trees and all wildlife an opportunity to thrive.

In an effort to improve the forest, we have removed invasive trees, plants, and vines. Forestry experts recently hired to assist with this work said in their report: This is evidenced by the fact that very few plants are less than 5 feet tall. ”

As we continue this work, we will reintroduce native plants and monitor the forest’s ability to regenerate as seedlings are given a chance to grow.

We will also strive to better educate the local community and park guests about our efforts.

For questions about deer overpopulation in the park, know that a 2017 study conducted by wildlife biologists in collaboration with West Virginia University Extension Service confirmed deer overpopulation. That is important. According to a recently completed study, that number is even higher. This was even after a disease called Blue Tongue Disease or EHD, which led to a natural culling of part of the herd in late 2017.

Through this partnership, we will continue to conduct annual surveys to ensure a balanced and healthy ecosystem.

Additionally, we have listened to community concerns related to the surge in tick-borne diseases, including Lyme disease. This conversation was further heightened by his May 2023 Health Advisory from the West Virginia Department of Health and Office of Public Health and Human Resources.

All forms of deer population reduction were considered. Our research and multiple conversations with the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources and his WVU Extension Service led us to decide on a limited-purpose bowhunt.

The gunner option was also a viable option considered. All options, including herd relocation and sterilization, come with safety concerns. Handling wild animals is different from domestic pets and requires different considerations from a legal and geographical perspective.

Bow hunting with a limited purpose was chosen as a starting point. For safety reasons, the number of hunters per day is limited to 20. Strict rules are in place, hunting zones are set away from high-traffic areas of Oglebay Park, and hunting periods are limited to just three days. Use the results to make future adjustments as needed based on the results, both positive and negative.

We understand that many believe this is an inhumane method of reducing populations, but we also take into account the advice of both nature experts and hunters against this. I put it in. We understand that remaining silent about the tremendous effort that went into this decision opened the door to much criticism. He also learned that there are more than two sides to every story, and that passionate responses can contain misinformation from many sources.

Please know that we are committed to Oglebay Park’s mission to be good stewards for both present and future generations.

The purpose of this hunting is not just to reduce deer numbers. It’s about overall balance, growth, and the good we can do for the park as a whole.

A park that we all love.

Bob Peckenpaugh is president and CEO of the Wheeling Park Commission.



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