Wed., February 2, 2011 11:14am (EST)

Wildlife Lands Face Cuts, New Fees
By Associated Press
Updated: 3 years ago

ATLANTA  —  
Less land may be leased for wildlife management areas (Photo byTom Spinker Flickr.com)
Less land may be leased for wildlife management areas (Photo byTom Spinker Flickr.com)
Georgia may lease less land for its wildlife management areas and charge hikers, paddlers and others new fees to cope with budget cuts.

Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Mark Williams said in an interview with The Associated Press that his agency may stop leasing up to 25,000 acres in its existing wildlife management areas. He does not expect any will close.

The state now operates 98 wildlife areas providing outdoor enthusiasts with close to 1 million acres where they can hunt and fish. The new commissioner said he will consider which areas are most heavily used and protect lands in regions where hunters lack public hunting grounds.

His department has proposed charging new fees to visitors. Right ow, only hunters and fishermen pay.