America's Best History Spotlight

On this page we're going to Spotlight the lesser known historic sites and attractions that dot the history landscape across the USA and are worth a visit if you're in their area. And while they may be lesser known, some are very unique, and will be that rare find. You'll be, at times, on the ground floor, or maybe even know something others don't. It'll be fun. Visit them.

Amelida Wildlife Management Area

Virginia Wildlife Management Areas

Okay, we'll admit it. The name above doesn't seem to invoke a whole lot of history. I guess that happens anytime you have management in the title, and perhaps wildlife doesn't actually help too much either. However, these areas, which are dotted around this historic state of Virginia about every forty-five minutes of driving time, not only have a good amount of history that happened on their lands, but are nearby all those historic places of the Revolution and the Civil War and the plantations in between. Yes, the national and state parks that tell the history story are right around the corner of those WMA's, and you can camp, fish, and hunt in them, too.

  • Featherfin Wildlife Management Area

    Virginia Wildlife Management Areas

    So we'll start out with the numbers and get into more specifics. There are forty-one WMA's located throughout Virginia and they contain over 203,000 acres. They are separated into four regions. You may camp in any one of these areas for $4 per night or $23 for the entire year. If you have a Virginia hunting or fishing license, camping is free. Now let's be real about what to expect; these areas provide primitive camping. There are parking lots with signs and a lot of land to pitch the tent, but that's about all. In the four Wildlife Management Areas we visited and camped in, we saw no facilities, although there was a whole lot of opportunites to fish and hike and be near history. For an example of that history, we'll do more detail about the WMA's where we have first-hand knowledge. You can take it from there.

    Chickahominy Wildlife Management Area

    Located 38 miles west of Richmond and 33 miles from City Point, the eastern starting point for a tour of Petersburg National Battlefield Park. Between all those points are historic plantations such as Sherwood Forest, Belle-Air, Westover, Shirley, Evelynton, and Berkeley. The Chickahominy WMA is wooded, at least in the area where we camped, but also has fishing areas along the Chickahominy River, which forms the eastern boundary, and Morris Creek.

    Amelia Wildlife Management Area

    Located 45 miles from the Five Forks battlefield of Petersburg (about the same from Richmond) and 29 miles to Sailors Creek State Park. Amelia Court House was the town Robert E. Lee fled to from his trenches in Richmond and Petersburg, trying to collect his army at a meeting place where the foodstuff and material were supposed to be waiting for him. They were not. When you're at the Amelia WMA, you are on the path from Richmond and Petersburg to Sailor's Creek, High Bridge, and Appomattox. The Amelia WMA is a exceedingly pleasant WMA, with a wide parking area and fishing boat launch (top picture of lake at twilight) as well as other smaller lakes and the Appomattox River. It's a good place to take a hike, either in the woods or fields or along the dirt road that leads back into the park.

    Featherfin Wildlife Management Area

    Located 29 miles from Sailor's Creek Battlefield State Park and 17 miles to Appomattox Court House National Historical Park. When you're at Featherfin, you're close to the path that Lee took to get to Appomattox from the north. In fact, on your way to Appomattox from there, you're going to pass waysides that tell part of the story. Featherfin is located within a farming region of Virginia; a good deal of the parking areas where you'll set off to camp from go through farm fields and there's a bit of the Appalachia feel to it (see photo above of a Featherfin abandoned farm building). In between Sailor's Creek and there, you can also visit High Bridge State Park, where the Confederates attempted to burn the bridge so the Union could not follow. They failed to burn it. The Union followed.

    C. W. Phelps Wildlife Management Area

    Located ten miles west off Route 3 from the Wilderness Battlefield, so not far from either Spotsylvania, Chancellorsville, Fredericksburg, or Brandy Station (west of Phelps). Phelps is a unique park in the fact that a battle of the Civil War, the Battle of Kelly's Ford actually happened here. You can camp within a stone's throw of where the troops were. See our full story on CW Phelps and the Battle of Kelly's Ford. And soon Kelly's Ford will become part of the new Culpeper Battlefield State Park.

    Westin Wildlife Management Area

    Located southwest of Manassas Battlefield Parkabout twenty miles past Gainesville and near the town of Catlett. The site include period buildings, including a slave cabin from 1840, pictured below. Camping is allowed here with a daily or more Access Pass. A very unique location, small by WMA standards, and remote.

    Westin WMA Slave Cabin

  • What's and Where's of Other WMA's

    WMA Information

    The thirty-seven other sites of the Virginia Wildlife Management Area system are spread around the state.

    In the north, you have C.F. Phelps WMA, Gathright WMA, Goshen and Little North Mountain WMA, Hardware River WMA, Highland WMA, Mattaponi WMA, Merrimac Farm WMA, Pettigrew WMA, Rapidan WMA, Thompson WMA, Weston WMA.

    In the southeast, you have Big Woods WMA, Cavalier WMA, Chickahominy WMA, Dismal Swamp Tract of Cavalier WMA, Doe Creek WMA, Game Farm Marsh WMA, Hog Island WMA, Land's End WMA, Mockhorn Island WMA, Princess Anne WMA, Ragged Island WMA, Saxis WMA.

    In the south-central, you have Amelia WMA, Briery Creek WMA, Dick Cross WMA, Fairystone Farms WMA, Featherfin WMA, Havens WMA Horsepen Lake WMA, James River WMA, Powhatan WMA, Short Hills WMA, Smith Mountain Cooperative WMA, Turkeycock WMA, White Oak Mountain WMA.

    In the southwest, you have Big Survey WMA, Clinch Mountain WMA Crooked Creek WMA, Hidden Valley WMA, Stewarts Creek WMA. WMA Details: 203,000 acres.

    How Much to Visit

    Virginia Wildlife Management Areas
    You must either have a Virginia hunting or fishing license or pay a day use fee of $4 per day or $23 for the entire year. This allows you to camp in all areas that allow camping. Most, but not all, do allow it, but check with the individual WMA to make sure.

    Website - Virginia Wildlife Management Areas

Photos, History, and More Spotlights

Bothwell Lodge

March Spotlight

Bothwell Lodge State Historic Park, Sedalia, Missouri.

Pecos National Historical Park/
Glorieta Pass Battlefield

February Spotlight

Pecos National Historical Park and Glorieta Pass Battlefield, Arizona.

Sailor's Creek Battlefield

April Spotlight