CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Jim Justice, owner of The Greenbrier resort and more than 100 coal mines in Appalachia, recently bought about 1,000 acres of formerly publicly owned land in Raleigh County. The land, just outside Beckley, adjoins the Raleigh County Memorial Airport and is very close to the Summit Bechtel Reserve, home of the National Boy Scout Jamboree.
Justice bought the land in March from the Raleigh County Airport Authority for just less than $900,000.
He said the land borders property he already owns and that it will be used only to preserve wildlife habitats.
"We constantly do a lot of wildlife habitat improvement and that's it," Justice said regarding his purposes for the land. "We did some work there this past summer, planting fruit-bearing trees and silky dogwoods and hawthorn trees.
"We own the land that borders, and so we just acquired this," Justice said. "I'm a big hunter and fisherman, and I love wildlife, so we do a lot of this stuff."
The land, which is made up of two parcels, had been under control of the Raleigh County Commission until 2012.
In the County Commission meeting on June 19, 2012, commissioners transferred 549.6 acres of land to the Airport Authority to be "used in conjunction with the new tower," according to the minutes of the meeting.
On Dec. 4 of last year, the commission transferred another 446.54 acres to the Airport Authority, this time without mentioning any purpose for the land, according to minutes from the meeting.
The Airport Authority then sold both parcels to Justice, a deal that was finalized in March of this year, according to Tom Cochran, the airport manager.
Justice paid $477,000 for the larger parcel and $422,400 for the smaller one, County Commissioner David Tolliver said.