BUCKHANNON — The temperature is rising, school is almost out and the Strawberry Festival is over. That can only mean one thing: summer has finally made it back to Buckhannon. West Virginia is not called “Wild and Wonderful” for nothing, and the warm weather offers a whole new world of activities for people to enjoy, from fishing to shooting sports to cycling.
Mitch Liggett, the manager of Anderson Outdoors, said the most common outdoor activities in the summer have to be shooting sports and fishing.
“The most common items people come in for the summer would probably be the shooting sports,” Liggett said. “They come in for guns and ammo and then probably fishing supplies, because that’s pretty popular too.”
Liggett said these activities are ideal because the temperature works in their favor — the water is warm for fishing and shooting can be done almost anywhere, including shooting ranges or clubs.
Local ranges such as White Horse offer competitions from 600 to 1,000 yards, including pistols, tactical rifle and high power classes. The range is also available for sighting in rifles or just casual shooting. Liggett said casual shooting in backyards is becoming more popular recently because of convenience and novel new targets.
“Target shooting is great because there are all these new targets a person can just set up in their backyard and shoot a rifle or even skeet shoot,” Liggett said. “You can get these targets that give this splatter effect that is pretty neat, and exploding rifle targets, which are pretty cool. You can even get zombie targets, so there are all kinds of ways to make things more fun.”
Liggett said people do not need to go far in order to find great fishing because it can be found in local lakes all across West Virginia.
Specifically, he named local lakes Stonecoal, Stonewall Jackson and Burnsville because trout season is coming to a close soon but bass and musky can be found in each lake.
“Fishing is always good when the water is warm and it’s something the whole family can do,” Liggett said.
Another sport that can be found throughout West Virginia is cycling. Fat Tire Cycle owner Gene Wells said the whole state is an ideal setting for biking.
“There is any kind of biking you could want to do in West Virginia, whether you want to do recreational, downhill or racing, it’s all here,” Wells said.
For the truly adventurous, Morgantown and Snowshoe offer downhill racing, but Wells said if it is a rider’s first time in West Virginia, they should ride the rail trails — paths created from old railroad grades that are relatively flat.
“Ride the rail trails, they’re a steady climb, no traffic and no vehicles and it’s very pleasant and beautiful,” Wells said. “Since you can find them all over the place, they can really show you the beauty of the state.”
The trails are ideal for single riders, but if someone is looking for a group Wells said there is a simple way to find other cyclists.
“The best way to hook up with other riders across the state is to go to the local bike shops, because they’ll show them the area,” Wells said.
Rail trails can be found across the state, and maps can be viewed on the official West Virginia website at gotowv.com.