Accessibility in Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs)
The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries maintains 40 wildlife management areas totaling more than 203,000 acres of land. These lands are purchased and maintained with hunting, fishing, and trapping license fees and with Federal Assistance through Wildlife Restoration funds, derived from the sale of hunting-related equipment. Because of the funding and the mission of the Department, the primary purpose of these management areas is to develop, manage, and maintain habitat for wildlife. Activities such as hunting and fishing are paramount to the primary purpose of the areas because they are tools for managing wildlife populations on these areas. Other uses are permissible provided they do not interfere with the primary and intended purpose of the property.
The Department is committed to providing equal opportunities for every visitor to our wildlife management areas to experience wildlife through hunting, fishing, boating or wildlife viewing. All of our properties are open to mobility impaired individuals with the use of mobility devices defined as wheelchairs that were designed for indoor or both indoor and outdoor use. Please see below for a list of public lakes, piers, wildlife management areas, and boat ramps that provide access to mobility impaired users through wheelchair accessible ramps, trails, and facilities.
In addition, the Department has developed barrier-free roads on three WMAs, Powhatan, Chickahominy, and C F Phelps, to provide access for mobility impaired users. Use of the hunting trail on the C.F. Phelps WMA is controlled through our Managed Hunts programs, but all others are on a first come first serve basis. Some of these roads are long and may contain slopes in excess of 5%, but are passable with a wheelchair. Mobility impaired users may use electric vehicles on these designated barrier free trails that meet the following criteria:
- Combustion engines are strictly prohibited. Noise, safety concerns, environmental impacts, maintenance of roads and trails, disturbance of wildlife, and disruption of other management area users; prevent the use of combustion type engines on our WMAs.
- Electric vehicles including wheelchairs, golf carts, and other electric conveyances designed for either indoor or outdoor use are permissible.
- Vehicles may not exceed a width of 54-inches.
- Vehicles must stay on developed trails specifically labeled for electric vehicle use.
- Individuals using electric vehicles must follow all hunting season and regulations and must follow posted WMA rules.
The Department continues to look for additional ways to provide access to our WMAs for all of our users. Please check back with our website to find updates on the progress of these new barrier-free roads.