For this year, at least, hunt clubs have Blackwater

Published 10:03 am Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Task force will decide future of woodlands

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

Hunters can continue to explore the woods of Isle of Wight County’s Blackwater tract, but the general public has to wait until a task force decides on the future use of the property. 

The Mill Swamp and Isle of Wight hunt clubs were approved for continued use of the Blackwater property until June 30 of next year. 

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The Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors voted 4-0 Thursday following proposals by both clubs. 

Carrsville Supervisor Don Rosie was absent. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

Mill Swamp will continue hunting the northern tract and Isle of Wight will use the southern tract. 

Both clubs will continue to pay the same lease amounts as in the past, for a total of $16,572, according to the proposed 2018 lease agreements.

Representatives from both clubs indicated that nearly all of its members live in Isle of Wight County. The county had already required that hunt clubs wanting to use the Blackwater property have a membership of at least 51 percent Isle of Wight County residents. 

Meanwhile, Isle of Wight County is forming a task force to discuss future possible uses after the Board rejected a proposal for public hunting and a variety of other activities from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

Isle of Wight County Parks and Recreation Director David Smith is in charge of assembling the task force, which has a March 2019 deadline to make recommendations. 

The property will generally remain off-limits to the public, as it has the past several years, until recommendations are made from the task force, said Isle of Wight Assistant County Administrator Don Robertson. 

Isle of Wight County purchased the roughly 2,500-acre Blackwater property in 2010. Possible uses suggested beyond hunting are kayaking, hiking, horseback riding and more.  {/mprestriction}