CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS) – The West Virginia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Director Steve McDaniel is set to retire this month and move on to an advisory role for the future.

Governor Justice made the announcement of McDaniel’s retirement today, January 19, 2022. He spoke fondly about both their relationship as well as his contributions to the West Virginia DNR.

“Steve is a true friend of mine and has been a superstar in my administration. He has served the people of West Virginia incredibly well for five years and I sincerely thank him for his service to our state. While I am happy he will remain part of my team in an advisory role, I surely understand his desire to spend more time with his family and I wish him a happy retirement and nothing but the best in all of his future endeavors. Without any question Steve’s footprint on our DNR will be remembered for decades, if not centuries, to come. What we’ve been able to accomplish together in just five short years is absolutely remarkable. It has been a true joy to work alongside such a talented man.”

WV Governor Jim Justice (R-WV)

McDaniel was appointed as Director of the DNR by Gov. Justice in January of 2017. Since then, more than $151 million has been invested in West Virginia state parks and forests for much needed repairs and significant improvement projects. This has managed to increase appeal in tourism to these areas. In addition to tourism, hunting was benefitted by the increase in fish stocking across the state as well as an additional 85,896 acres of state-owned hunting land. As a result of McDaniel’s and Gov. Justice’s leadership in these areas, hunting and fishing license revenue has increased for three straight years and is currently at its highest point in more than 20 years.

“I am very excited to begin this new chapter that will allow me to spend more time with my family. That said, I could never thank Governor Justice enough for appointing me to this role. If I had two lifetimes, I still wouldn’t be able to repay him for the happiness and joy I’ve had serving our state in the DNR over the past five years. I’m just so thankful to have been able to work under a governor like Jim Justice – someone who has loved the outdoors for his entire life and who appreciates just how lucky we are in West Virginia to enjoy natural wonders unlike anywhere else. I’ll never forget, right after he became governor, he called me into his office and said we need to do whatever it takes to change West Virginia’s image to the outside world. And he’s backed it up, time and time again, by investing in our tourism and our DNR like no other governor in history. It’s allowed us to achieve a lot in a very short amount of time and I am so proud of all that our team has accomplished.”

WVDNR Director Steve McDaniel

Director McDaniel’s retirement is effective midnight on Monday, Jan. 31, 2022. His successor will be appointed by Gov. Justice at a later date.​