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Published by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, the monthly magazine Wonderful West Virginia promotes the state’s natural beauty, wildlife, history, and tourist attractions.

Wonderful West Virginia started in 1936 as the West Virginia Conservation Bulletin, a mimeographed publication of news about hunting, fishing, forestry, and parks. The Conservation Commission, which later became the DNR, published the Bulletin. During its first four years, approximately 650 copies of the Bulletin were distributed monthly to sportsmen’s clubs, farm leaders, newspaper editors, and outdoor enthusiasts. Among the Bulletin’s regular features were articles about conservation education and conservation projects, and lists of those cited for hunting and fishing violations.

In 1940, the Bulletin began quarterly publication with a newspaper format featuring black-and-white photographs. In July 1941, after three issues as a quarterly, the Bulletin was renamed West Virginia Conservation and published monthly. In June 1942, the subscription list had increased to nearly 4,000. By the 1960s, West Virginia Conservation was published by the Department of Natural Resources. The magazine promoted conservation and environmental protection. Original paintings by noted wildlife artist Chuck Ripper of Huntington appeared on the covers.

In March 1967, the magazine became Outdoor West Virginia. The focus of Outdoor West Virginia changed as the state began to promote its parks and forests. Color photographs appeared for the first time. Edward R. Johnson edited the publication and photographer Arnout ‘‘Sonny’’ Hyde Jr. joined the staff. Monthly circulation figures averaged 20,000.

In January 1970, Outdoor West Virginia was renamed Wonderful West Virginia. Circulation increased to 36,000 and rose rapidly for the next several years. Wonderful West Virginia expanded its range of topics to include articles on state history, events and attractions, and arts and crafts. Color photographs added to the magazine’s appeal. Hyde became editor in 1982 and continued in that position until his retirement in 1988. The number of subscriptions fell as the state reduced subsidies to the magazine. In 1997, Sonny Hyde returned as editor. After Hyde’s death on August 9, 2005, Sheila McEntee became editor. At the end of 2014, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources hired New South Media of Morgantown to take over publication of Wonderful West Virginia magazine.

Wonderful West Virginia website

Last Revised on November 24, 2014


Cite This Article

e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia "Wonderful West Virginia." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 24 November 2014. Web. 20 April 2018.

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