By BRENDAN KIRBY
HANCOCK - A private hunting club formally takes control of 1,400 acres of state land in Washington County today, beginning a public-private partnership that state officials describe as "win-win" but some critics contend will close access to regular folks.
The Izaak Walton League of America in July signed a 15-year lease that gives the club control over about 1,400 acres of the Woodmont Rod and Gun Club, which is several miles west of Hancock. The lease gives the club control of the lodge, Camp Cleveland, the game farm and the surrounding land for six months out of the year in exchange for maintaining it year-round.
Charles Wiles, treasurer of Izaak Walton's national organization, estimated the group will spend between $200,000 and $250,000 a year in upkeep. He said a caretaker has been working since September to get the property ready.