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WV National Parks, WV National Forests, Landmarks, Refuges, Natural Features, Heritage Areas – MH3WV

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WV National Parks, WV National Forests, Natural Landmarks, Heritage Areas, Historic Landmarks, and More

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“US FOREST SERVICE” – US Department of Agriculture

USDA_Forest Service_Logo west_virginia“Established in 1905, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service is a Federal agency that manages public lands in national forests and grasslands, as well as other congressionally designated areas. The Forest Service is also the largest forestry research organization in the world, and provides technical and financial assistance to state and private forestry agencies.

“The mission of the Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.

“Gifford Pinchot, the first Chief of the Forest Service, summed up the mission of the Forest Service— ‘to provide the greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of people in the long run.'”

 Explore US Dept. of Agriculture’s “US Forest Service” Website

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     “Monongahela National Forest” – US Forest Service

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“The Monongahela National Forest was established in 1920. Located in the north central highlands of West Virginia, the Monongahela straddles the highest ridges in the State. Elevation ranges from just under 1000′ to 4863′ above sea level.  Variations in terrain and precipitation have created one of the most ecologically diverse National Forests in the country.

“Visitors to this beautiful place will enjoy breathtaking vistas, peaceful country roads, gently flowing streams, and glimpses of the many species of plants and animals that inhabit the Forest.  You will  also see a ‘working’ forest, which produces timber, water, grazing, minerals and recreational opportunities for the region and nation.”

  Explore US Forest Services’ “About the Monongahela National Forest” Website

          “Special Places” – Monongahela National Forest

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Explore Monongahela National Forests’ “Special Places” Website – includes information for each “Highlighted Area” listed below, and an introduction to “Wilderness Areas.”

          “Wilderness Areas” – Monongahela National Forest

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“We are proud that the Monongahela National Forest has eight Wildernesses totaling over 115,000 acres designated under the NWPS.”

Explore Monongahela National Forest’s Forest’s “Wilderness Areas” Website

Click on Names below for more information on each area:

          “Highlighted Areas” – Monongahela National Forest

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Click on Names below for more information on each area:

       “Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area” – Monongahela National Forest

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“Encompassing 100,000 acres, the scenic Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area (NRA) contains the highest peak in West Virginia, some of the best rock climbing on the east coast, outstanding views and a chance to enjoy America’s great outdoors.”

Explore Monongahela National Forest’s “Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area” Website

          “Seneca Rocks” – Monongahela National Forest

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Explore Monongahela National Forest’s “Seneca Rocks Overview/Background” Website

Read “The Legend of Seneca Rocks”“The Betrothal of Snow Bird, Princess of the Seneca Indians”

          “Spruce Knob and Spruce Knob Observation Tower” – Monongahela National Forest

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Explore Monongahela National Forest’s “Spruce Knob” Website

          “Spruce Knob – West Virginia High Point”

(Video coming soon)


“We took a trip to West Virginia today to claim another one of the peaks on our State High Point list. This peak is Spruce Knob, at 4,863 feet above sea level. The trees here are stunted in growth and tend to be full on one side and bare on the other from the prevailing winds. The road is windy and skinny to get to this peak. At first I thought it was a one-way road, but it is indeed two ways. Be careful, as there is quite a bit of traffic on it and when cars meet, both need to borrow a bit of the shoulder (if there is any!!). There is ample parking up top, many hiking trails, a privy, garbage cans, picnic tables with grill boxes, and a picnic shelter. Also, of course, is the Spruce Knob Observation Tower about 0.2 miles down a very easy trail. This is a great, easy to climb, steel and stone tower with a huge viewing platform up top. Views are excellent in all directions. The trails are well worn and scented with spruce that remind me of some of the trails on the top of Cannon Mountain in NH. We did the easy, 0.7 mile, loop around the summit. Although a long drive out to the “middle of nowhere, WV”, it was a pleasant one. . .”


          “Smoke Hole Canyon” – Monongahela National Forest

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Explore Monongahela National Forest’s “Smoke Hole Canyon” Website

          “Dolly Sods : The Movie”

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A seven day hiking trip to Dolly Sods by a couple from Western NY. Great videography and music selections showing the wilderness area.

Part 1 of 4 (14:10/2013/ric00man)

Part 2 of 4 (13:27/2013/ric00man)

Part 3 of 4 (6:30/2013/ric00man)

Part 4 of 4 (14:24/2013/ric00man)

          “West Virginia” – The Buckeye Botanist

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buckeye botantist    buckeye botan dolly   buckeye botan cranberry   buckeye botan champe         buckeye botan--cranb glades

Blog posts by a botanist from Southeastern Ohio of trips to WV.  Includes many stunning photographs of flora and landscapes.

Click on each title below to explore each post — WV posts are down the middle of the page — margins on either side show other posts/topics:

“This nature blog is a reflection of my interests, travels and research in the botanical world and beyond. I currently work as a field botanist for the Ohio Division of Natural Areas & Preserves, where I’m afforded the opportunity to survey, monitor and manage Ohio’s rare flora and habitats. I was born and raised on the glaciated till plains of west-central Ohio but have called the rolling hills of southeastern Ohio home for a while. Studied plant biology and ecology at Ohio University in Athens, as well as wildlife biology and management at Hocking College. My biggest botanical passions and areas of expertise are Orchidaceae, Cyperaceae and the rare/unusual. Thanks for stopping by!”

Explore “The Buckeye Botantist’s” Blog 

          “Falls of Hills Creek” – Pocahontas Co.

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Upper Falls 0:00-0:37   Middle Falls 0:37-1:07   Lower Falls  1:07-1:44    (1:44/2013/colong7034)


“The Falls of Hills Creek are nestled in the Monongahela National Forest, easily accessible on Route 39 between Marlinton and Mill Point, five miles west of the Cranberry Mountain Nature Center.  However if you blink, you’ll miss the turn-off, as it’s unmarked aside from a small brown National Parks Service sign that says “Scenic Area.”  Once you turn on the road, there is a paved parking area at the trailhead followed by a 3/4-mile descent to access all three falls.  The first waterfall, called Upper Falls, cascades 25 feet and is handicapped accessible via a paved walkway.  But, the view isn’t spectacular.  If you are able, continue …”

Explore WV Travel Queen’s “Falls of Hills Creek” Website  —  very limited advertisements

     “George Washington and Jefferson National Forests” – US Forest Service

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“The George Washington and Jefferson National Forests stretch along the ruggedly beautiful Appalachian Mountains, extending from one end of Virginia to the other and even crossing into parts of West Virginia and Kentucky.  Whether you are driving a back-country road, enjoying our glorious fall colors, using binoculars to spot colorful neo-tropical birds, or savoring the peacefulness of wilderness, remember that national forests are special places.”
(The George Washington and Jefferson National Forests are managed as one entity.)

Explore US Forest Service’s “George Washington and Jefferson National Forests” Website

          “Trout Pond Recreation Area” – George Washington and Jefferson National Forests


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Trout Pond, home to native Brook trout, is the only natural lake in West Virginia.

Explore George Washington and Jefferson National Forests’ “Trout Pond Recreation Area” Website

          “Mountain Lake Wilderness” – George Washington and Jefferson National Forests

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  A total of 15,096 acres; approximately 12,375 acres in Virginia; approximately 2,721 acres in West Virginia

Explore George Washington and Jefferson National Forests’ Wilderness Connect’s “Mountain Lake Wilderness” Website

     “Fernow Experimental Forest” – US Forest Service

us forest logoFernow_Experimental_Forest_-_Entrance_Sign“The USDA Forest Service’s Experimental Forests (EF) are dedicated to long-term research on ecosystem processes, silviculture and forest management options, wildlife habitat characteristics, and forest growth and development.

“The Fernow Experimental Forest was established on March 28, 1934, to address water quantity, water quality, and timber quality issues. Today, forest health and clean water are still a focus, but data from the Fernow Experimental Forest are also contributing to research of issues that had not been identified 80 years ago, such as biodiversity, endangered species management, carbon sequestration, atmospheric deposition, and climate change.”

Explore US Forest Service’s “Fernow Experimental Forest” Website

“NATIONAL PARK SERVICE” – US Department of the Interior

“Since 1916, the American people have entrusted the National Park Service with the care of their national parks. With the help of volunteers and park partners, we are proud to safeguard these more than 400 places and to share their stories with more than 275 million visitors every year.  But our work doesn’t stop there.
“We are proud that tribes, local governments, nonprofit organizations, businesses, and individual citizens ask for our help in revitalizing their communities, preserving local history, celebrating local heritage, and creating close to home opportunities for kids and families to get outside, be active, and have fun.
“Taking care of the national parks and helping Americans take care of their communities is a job we love, and we need-and welcome-your help and support.”

Explore US Dept. of the Interior’s “National Park Service” Website

Explore National Park Service’s “West Virginia Parks” Website — includes short descriptions of National Park units in WV, with multiple links–also check out “By the Numbers” in the right margin for additional information and links.

     “Harpers Ferry National Historical Park WV, VA, MD”



“Step Back in Time”

“A visit to this quaint, historic community, at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers, is like stepping into the past.  Stroll the picturesque streets, visit exhibits and museums, or hike our trails and battlefields.

“History & Culture: THE HISTORY OF HARPERS FERRY HAS FEW PARALLELS IN THE AMERICAN DRAMA. It is more than one event, one date, or one individual. It is multi-layered – involving a diverse number of people and events that influenced the course of our nation’s history. Harpers Ferry witnessed the first successful application of interchangeable manufacture, the arrival of the first successful American railroad, John Brown’s attack on slavery, the largest surrender of Federal troops during the Civil War, and the education of former slaves in one of the earliest integrated schools in the United States.”

Explore “Harpers Ferry National Historical Park” Website includes: People, Places, Stories, Collections, Preservation, Research

     “Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park DC, MD, WV”


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“184.5 Miles of Adventure!”

“Preserving America’s early transportation history, the C&O Canal began as a dream of passage to Western wealth. Operating for nearly 100 years the canal was a lifeline for communities along the Potomac River as coal, lumber and agricultural products floated down the waterway to market. Today it endures as a pathway for discovering historical, natural and recreational treasures!”

Explore “Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park” Website

     “Appalachian National Scenic Trail” CT, GA, MA, MD, ME, NC, NH, NJ, NY, PA, TN, VA, VT, WV


“Footpath for the People”

“The Appalachian Trail is a 2,180+ mile long public footpath that traverses the scenic, wooded, pastoral, wild, and culturally resonant lands of the Appalachian Mountains. Conceived in 1921, built by private citizens, and completed in 1937, today the trail is managed by the National Park Service, US Forest Service, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, numerous state agencies and thousands of volunteers.”

Explore “Appalachian National Scenic Trail” Website

     “New River Gorge National River”



new-river-gorge-bridge“A River Runs Through It”

“A rugged, whitewater river flowing northward through deep canyons, the New River is among the oldest rivers on the continent. The park encompasses over 70,000 acres of land along the New River, is rich in cultural and natural history, and offers an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities.”

Explore “New River Gorge National River” Website

        “Visitor Centers”

Explore New River Gorge National River’s “Visitor Centers” Website

        “New River Gorge Bridge”


<<Also see the MH3WV “Transportation” page>>

Explore New River Gorge National River’s “New River Gorge Bridge” Website

        “Sandstone Falls”

Explore New River Gorge National River’s “Sandstone Falls” Website

           “Sandstone Falls”



Explore New River Gorge National River’s “Thurmond” Website


Explore New River Gorge National River’s “Grandview” Website


Explore New River Gorge National River’s “Nuttallburg” Website

        “Fayette Station Road”

Explore New River Gorge National River’s “Fayette Station Road” Website

     “Gauley River National Recreation Area”



gauley-river“Wild and Wonderful”

“The 25 miles of free-flowing Gauley River and the six miles of the Meadow River pass through scenic gorges and valleys containing a wide variety of natural and cultural features. The Gauley River contains several class V+ rapids, making it one of the most adventurous white water boating rivers in the east.”

Explore National Park Services’ “Gauley River National Recreation Area” Website

     “Bluestone National Scenic River”



bluestone-river“Beautiful Bluestone”

“The Bluestone River and the rugged and ancient gorge it has carved is a richly diverse and scenic area of the southern Appalachians. Bluestone National Scenic River is preserved as a living landscape that provides an unspoiled experience for visitors and a haven for a variety of plants and animals. The park protects a 10.5-mile section of the Bluestone River in southern West Virginia.”

Explore National Park Services’ “Bluestone National Scenic River” Website

     “National Heritage Areas” (4)


National Heritage Areas (NHAs) are designated by Congress as places where natural, cultural, and historic resources combine to form a cohesive, nationally important landscape. Through their resources,NHAs tell nationally important stories that celebrate our nation’s diverse heritage. NHAs are lived-in landscapes. Consequently, NHA entities collaborate with communities to determine how to make heritage relevant to local interests and needs.”   There are approximately 55 NHAs nationwide.

West Virginia has four National Heritage Areas, two of which are shared with other states:

1 -“National Coal Heritage Area”   

2 -“Wheeling National Heritage Area”     

3 -“Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area” (MD, WV)

4 -“The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area” (MD, PA, VA, WV)


Explore National Park Services’ “National Heritage Areas” Website

        1 – “National Coal Heritage Area” – WV



“The National Coal Heritage Area encompasses 13 counties and is situated in the heart of the formidable Appalachian Mountains, displaying coalfield history captured in time.” 

“It is a rugged industrial landscape that showcases the stories of miners of many ethnicities who labored to extract and transport coal, and their wives, who struggled to maintain homes under primitive conditions. Coalfield history and culture contains key elements of a unique social and economic history including the stories of industrial might, the struggle for labor unions, and the growth of distinctive cultural communities among different ethnic groups who worked side-by-side and lived together in the ‘company towns’ of the region.”

Explore National Park Services’ “National Coal Heritage Area” Website

Explore “National Coal Heritage” Website — Includes:  “Birth of the Industry, Three Railroads, King Coal, Coal Miners, Company Towns, United Mine Workers, End of an Era, Coal Camp Baseball,” and more.

        2 – “Wheeling National Heritage Area” – WV



“The Wheeling National Heritage Area preserves and celebrates the city’s dramatic setting, resources, and history, including its role as the birthplace of the state of West Virginia during the Civil War.  It celebrates 19th century westward expansion and industrialization. Throughout the 19th century, Wheeling served as the “Crossroads of America,” playing an important role in the settlement of the Nation. It is also the site of many industries including iron and steel, nails, textiles, boat building, glass manufacturing, and stogie and tobacco manufacturing. LaBelle Cut Nails, one of two manufacturers in the nation, continues to produce cut nails with equipment and a process that is over 150­ years old.”

Explore National Park Services’ “Wheeling National Heritage Area” Website

Explore “Wheeling National Heritage Area” Website

        3 – “Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area” – MD, WV


“The Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area (AFNHA) works to conserve, enhance, interpret, and promote a regional network of forest heritage resources in the central Appalachian Highlands. Designated a National Heritage Area in 2019, AFNHA covers sixteen counties in West Virginia (Barbour, Braxton, Grant, Greenbrier, Hampshire, Hardy, Mineral, Morgan, Nicholas, Pendleton, Preston, Pocahontas, Randolph, Tucker, Upshur, Webster) and two counties in western Maryland (Garrett, Allegany).”

“The Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area celebrates the central Appalachian forest — its history, culture, natural history, forest management and products. We focus on cultural heritage, conservation, and place-based tourism to support rural community development.

“Forest heritage is the ongoing story how the forest shapes history and culture, and how both nature and humans shape the forest. The mountains and forests have played a central role in central Appalachian life since the first indigenous inhabitants, and the landscape continues to cultivate local traditions, folkways, language, crafts, dance, music, festivals, and fairs. Logging after the Civil War fueled the industrial revolution and provided an important livelihood for workers, but the demand for timber decimated the forests. Today, scientific forestry and public land holdings have allowed the forests to regrow, providing sustainable forest products while offering an abundance of outdoor recreational opportunities, including hiking, biking, fishing, hunting, camping, climbing, and skiing. The history of the region is represented by its plentiful historical societies, museums, and historic preservation efforts. Forest communities and main streets offer a variety of small town experiences, with arts, shopping, local foods, and a hearty welcome for visitors.”

Explore National Park Services’ “Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area” Website

Explore “Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area” Website

        4 – “The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area” – MD, PA, VA, WV


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“The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area encompasses four states spanning 180 miles from Gettysburg to Monticello. It includes the homes and birthplaces of nine US Presidents (including Jefferson, Madison and Monroe), 13 National Parks, and a handful of battlefields commemorating the French and Indian War, Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Civil War.

“The Journey encompasses a scenic and historically rich landscape, including Native American settlements; sites from the French and Indian, and Revolutionary Wars; Civil War troop movements; World War I and II history and the struggle for Civil Rights. Most significant, perhaps, is the region’s role as a cradle of democracy and its key position in the Civil War.  World leaders have often found respite and inspiration in the creation of some of the most important doctrines of our Time – the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, the Monroe Doctrine, the Emancipation Proclamation, the Gettysburg Address, and the Marshall Plan.”

Explore National Park Services’ “The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area” Website

Explore “The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area” Website

     “National Historic Landmarks Program”


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National Historic Landmarks (NHLs) are nationally significant historic places designated by the Secretary of the Interior because they possess exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States.  Today, just over 2,500 historic places bear this national distinction. ”

(This is NOT the “National Register of Historic Places,” which is a much longer list with at least 1,030 locations in WV and more than 95,000 nationwide)

Explore National Park Services’ “National Historic Landmarks Program” Website

Explore National Park Services’ “List of NHLs by State” Website – scroll down to state name, then click on it


          National Historic Landmarks in WV (16)

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There are 16 National Historic Landmark sites located within the state of West Virginia.

4 – CLOVER SITE – Cabell Co.
7 – GRAVE CREEK MOUND – Marshall Co.
8 – THE GREENBRIER – Greenbrier Co.
11 – REBER RADIO TELESCOPE – Pocahontas Co.
12 – TRAVELLER’S REST – Jefferson Co.
13 – ALEXANDER WADE HOUSE – Monongalia Co.
15 – WESTON HOSPITAL – Lewis Co.


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An additional National Historic Landmark had its designation withdrawn:  The Mother Jones Prison in Pratt, WV;  Designated an NHL: April 27, 1992; Designation withdrawn: September 22, 1997, because the owner demolished it in 1996.

[Photo: The Mother Jones Prison and a portrait of Mother Mary Harris Jones.]

     “National Natural Landmarks Program”



“The National Natural Landmarks (NNL) Program recognizes and encourages the conservation of sites that contain outstanding biological and geological resources, regardless of landownership type. It is the only natural areas program of national scope that recognizes the best examples of biological and geological features in both public and private ownership. NNLs are owned by a variety of land stewards, and participation in the program is voluntary.  Nearly 600 landmarks have received the NNL designation

Explore National Park Services’ “National Natural Landmarks” Website

Explore National Park Services’ “National Natural Landmarks Directory” Website


          National Natural Landmarks in WV (15)


“There are 15 National Natural Landmark sites located within the state of West Virginia. (One is shared with Maryland.) Natural features represented include the largest cave system in West Virginia, a high altitude balsam fir swamp at its southernmost extension, and one of the largest intermountain karst areas in the country.  Thirteen sites received the NNL designation within a ten-year period from 1965 to 1974. Ice Mountain is the most recent addition to the Natural Landmarks Registry, receiving NNL status in 2012. Sites are owned by a variety of landowners including U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources and private individuals.”


1 – Big Run Bog – Tucker Co.
2 – Blister Run Swamp – Randolph Co.
3 – Canaan Valley – Tucker Co.
4 – Cathedral (State) Park – Preston Co.
5 – Cranberry Glades Botanical Area – Pocahontas Co.
6 – Cranesville Swamp Nature Sanctuary – Preston Co./Garrett Co. MD
7 – Fisher Spring Run Bog – Tucker Co.
8 – Gaudineer Scenic Area – Pocahontas Co./Randolph Co.
9 – Germany Valley Karst Area – Pendleton Co.
10 – Greenville Saltpeter Cave – Monroe Co.
11 – Ice Mountain – Hampshire Co.
12 – Lost World Caverns – Greenbrier Co.
13 – Organ Cave System – Greenbrier Co.
14 – Shavers Mountain Spruce-Hemlock Stand – Randolph Co.
15 – Sinnett-Thorn Mountain Cave System – Pendleton Co.

Explore National Park Services’ “Listing of WV National Natural Landmarks”

     “Birthplace of Rivers” – (Possible National Monument)


“A rare and iconic part of West Virginia’s Monongahela National Forest could become the state’s first national monument.”
Explore “Birthplace of Rivers” Website

         “Monongahela National Forest: Birthplace of Rivers”


“Get to know West Virginia’s Monongahela National Forest in this preview of an upcoming episode of “This American Land,” focusing on the Birthplace of Rivers and produced in collaboration with The Pew Charitable Trusts.”     (7:17/2013/Pew and This American Land) 

         “Thomas Fletcher – Capturing West Virginia’s Scenic Beauty”


“Outdoors enthusiast, nature photographer and Navy veteran Thomas Fletcher tells his story of growing up near the southern Monongahela National Forest, then returning to the area as a professional photographer, with a new appreciation for the area’s scenic beauty. Hear how Fletcher, a native of Webster County, encourages protection of special wild places in the potential Birthplace of Rivers National Monument through his award-winning photography.”    (4:57/2013/Birthplace of Rivers)

“US FISH & WILDLIFE SERVICE” – US Department of the Interior

us fish wildlife   “Conserving the Nature of America”

“The Mission
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.

“The Vision
We will continue to be a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service.”

Explore “US Fish and Wildlife Service” Website


     “This Is the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service”

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“Meet the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and what we stand for. We’re conserving the nature of America through our conservation principles: Service, Science, Partnerships, Stewardship, People, Professionalism and Legacy.”  (:59/2012/USFWS)

     “National Wildlife Refuge System” – US Fish and Wildlife Service

“A hundred years in the making, the National Wildlife Refuge System is a network of habitats that benefits wildlife, provides unparalleled outdoor experiences for all Americans, and protects a healthy environment.
“Today, there are more than 560 national wildlife refuges and 38 wetland management districts, including one within an hour’s drive of most major metropolitan areas. National wildlife refuges provide habitat for more than 700 species of birds, 220 species of mammals, 250 reptile and amphibian species and more than 1,000 species of fish. More than 380 threatened or endangered plants or animals are protected on wildlife refuges. Each year, millions of migrating birds use refuges as stepping stones while they fly thousands of miles between their summer and winter homes.”
Explore US Fish and Wildlife Service’s “National Wildlife Refuge System” Website

         “Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge”

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“The Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge (ORINWR) was established in 1990 and consists of 3,354 acres (13.57 km2) of land and underwater habitat. The refuge consists of twenty-two islands and four mainland tracts scattered along 362 miles of the upper Ohio River. Prior to its establishment, West Virginia was the only state of the United States without a NWR (It now has two).”  Its headquarters is near Williamstown, WV.

Explore USFWS National Wildlife Refuge System’s “Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge” Website


           “Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge”

(6:30/2012/Jeff Quitney)

         “Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge”

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“Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge, the nation’s 500th, was established on August 11, 1994, with the purchase of 86 acres. The refuge currently is 16,550 acres. The refuge works to preserve the unique wetlands and uplands of this high elevation, moist valley.”

Explore USFWS National Wildlife Refuge System’s “Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge” Website


           “Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge”


     “White Sulphur Springs National Fish Hatchery”

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  us fish hatch white sul sp “White Sulphur Springs National Fish Hatchery (WSSNFH) is located along the historic Midland Trail in the heart of the Allegheny Highlands of southeast West Virginia. Established in 1900 to produce fish for the American Public, WSSNFH became part of the National Broodstock Program in 1976. Since then hatchery personnel have shipped millions of disease-free rainbow trout eggs to hatcheries across the country. In 1995, the hatchery added a new program, freshwater mussel conservation,… with a high-tech aquatic research center, raising native mussels and crayfish for restoration and recovery of imperiled and endangered species.”

Explore USFWS’ “White Sulphur Springs National Fish Hatchery” Website

     “National Conservation Training Center”

us fish wildlife      natl conservation training center

“Conserving the Nature of America.

“The National Conservation Training Center supports the mission of the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service in five critical ways:

“Home and Heritage: NCTC serves as the physical and virtual “home” of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, where the history and heritage of the Service are preserved and shared;  Training for the Mission: NCTC provides exemplary training and professional development tailored to support Service employees and conservation partners in accomplishing the agency’s mission;  Youth in Conservation: NCTC helps the Service engage, educate, and employ the next generation of conservationists who reflect our diverse society, ensuring that our natural resource legacy is left in capable hands; Partnerships: NCTC helps solve urgent conservation challenges, such as climate change, by bringing together diverse partners representing multiple points of view;  Sustainability: NCTC is a national leader in the conservation community for its state-of-the art facility and green practices.

“The National Conservation Training Center, or frequently referred to as NCTC, is located just 60 miles or just over 1 hour outside the Washington DC metropolitan beltway. We are part of the Shepherdstown, West Virginia community also known for the nearby state college just down the road from us.”

Explore USFWS’ “National Conservation Training Center” Website

“West Virginia Land Trust”


“Founded in 1995, the West Virginia Land Trust (Land Trust) is the only statewide nonprofit 501 (C) 3 land trust dedicated to protecting West Virginia’s natural lands and scenic areas forever. Through voluntary conservation easements, the Land Trust has protected thousands of acres throughout West Virginia.”

Explore “West Virginia Land Trust” Website

“West Virginia Land Trust – We protect special places…

“A special place is more than land and water. A special place takes you to a time and to a memory, it brings you peace, and feels like “home.” A farmer’s special place may be his field, a wildlife watcher’s place is in the forest, a sportsman’s may be a remote stretch of woods, a hiker’s an entire expanse of mountains, and a child’s a field of green where he can run and play or a creek to explore.”

Explore West Virginia Land Trust’s “Our Protected Land” Website

“The Nature Conservancy in WV”


“Our Mission: conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends.  The Nature Conservancy is the leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people.”

Explore “The Nature Conservancy in WV” Website


     “Places We Protect”  —  “Preserves” & “Landscapes”


“With your help, The Nature Conservancy has protected nearly 120,000 acres of critical natural lands in West Virginia.”

Click names for more information on each Preserve or Landscape:    

“Ice Mountain”

“Ice Mountain is a mountain running along the North River just north of North River Mills where the old colonial road from Winchester to the South Branch came down from Sandy Ridge and Grape Ridge along Hiett Run and crossed North River. The mountain contains a set of stone chimneys called “Raven Rocks” and a large talus. At the base of the talus is an area where small caves hold ice most of the year.”

Explore Historic Hampshire’s “Ice Mountain” Website


      “Lab 304: A Trip to Ice Mountain”

“Producer Emily Corio explores the West Virginia treasure known as Ice Mountain and how global climate change is impacting it.”   (9:57/2008/WV Public Broadcasting)

“Caving in WV”


     “Lab 304: Underground West Virginia”

“Producer Chuck Frostick takes us into West Virginia’s caves – a subterranean realm of hundreds of miles of interconnected passageways running under parts of our state. This was produced as part of WV PBS’s show “Outlook.”   (9:59/2008/WV Public Broadcasting) 

Click on Cave/Cavern Logo below to explore commercial websites:

     “Lost World Caverns”


     “Organ Cave”


     “Smoke Hole Caverns”


     “Seneca Caverns”


   “The Sinks of Gandy”



The Sinks of Gandy are located above Whitmer, WV in Randolph County. Even though they are privately owned, they still attract caving enthusiasts, geologists, and tourists alike with their rugged beauty and mysterious past.”

Explore Information from Harman School’s “The Sinks of Gandy” (deactivated) Website


“West Virginia is no stranger to caves as our natural mountain landscape is home to many of them.  Some of the more intricate caves, or caverns, have even been commercialized and are open for tours.  However one of the most intriguing caves to me is one I had heard about for years but never visited, until recently, due to its rural location.  And that cave is known as the Sinks of Gandy, in the beautiful countryside in Randolph County. . .”

Explore WV Travel Queen’s “Mountain State Monday: Sinks of Gandy” Website  —  very limited advertisements

   “Cathedral Falls” – Fayette Co.

Located east of Gauley Bridge.   (:46/2013/colong7034)

“WV Watersheds”

dept environ protect

“West Virginia has 32 watersheds divided according to the USGS (US Geological Survey) hydrologic unit codes (HUC) that contribute to the Chesapeake Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.  The waters west of the eastern continental divide flow into the Ohio River. The Ohio joins the Mississippi River at Cairo, IL. The Mississippi flows into the Gulf of Mexico at New Orleans, LA. The eastern continental divide changes the course of five of our eastern rivers towards the Potomac River. The Potomac enters the Chesapeake Bay southeast of Washington DC.  A few streams in the southeastern corner of the state flow towards the James River.”

Explore WVDEP’s “Watersheds” Website

Explore WVDEP’s “Watersheds” Map jpg

“3 Rivers: The Bluestone, Gauley and New” – WV Public Broadcasting


“A 90-minute documentary from West Virginia Public Broadcasting explores the economic, environmental, cultural, historical and geographic impact of the largest federally protected system of rivers east of the Mississippi.  3 Rivers: The Bluestone, Gauley and New examines the ongoing relationship between mankind and nature in this region. The film is a combination of travelogue, examination of efforts to improve the environment, and a mechanism for promoting economic development through tourism.” 

Watch Video on WV Public Broadcasting’s Website

or Here:       (1:26:56/2013/WV Public Broadcasting) 

“Lakes and Dams – Flood Control Projects” – US Army Corps of Engineers


“These are dams which hold a pool of water behind, forming a lake and storing runoff from rainfall and snowmelt events. The stored runoff is then released in a controlled process to prevent or reduce flood damages.” They also create prime recreational areas. Some have been built and/or retrofitted to produce hydroelectric power.

<<For Navigation Locks and Dams on the Ohio, Great Kanawha and Monongahela Rivers, see the MH3WV “Transportation” page>>

    Beech Fork Lake

“Beech Fork Dam is near the community of Lavalette, Wayne County, WV, approximately 10 miles south of Huntington. Beech Fork Lake opened for recreational activities in May 1978 and was created by damming the Beech and Miller Forks of Twelvepole Creek.”

Explore USACE’s “Beech Fork Lake” Website

    Bluestone Lake

“Bluestone Dam spans the New River at Hinton, WV forming Bluestone Lake, the third largest lake in West Virginia.
It was completed for operational purposes in January 1949 and completely finished in January 1952.”

Explore USACE’s “Bluestone Lake” Website

    Burnsville Lake

“Burnsville Dam is located in Braxton County on the Little Kanawha River 124 miles above its confluence with the Ohio River and approximately 3 miles above the town of Burnsville, WV. It became operational for flood control in December 1978.”

Explore USACE’s “Burnsville Lake” Website

    East Lynn Lake

“The East Lynn Dam, a rolled earth fill dam, is a flood control facility along East Fork of Twelvepole Creek, 10 miles south of Wayne, WV.”

Explore USACE’s “East Lynn Lake” Website

    Jennings Randolph Lake

“The Jennings Randolph Dam, of rolled earth and rock fill, is on the North Branch of the Potomac River near Elk Garden, WV. The project (originally called Bloomington Lake) became operational in 1981.”

Explore USACE’s “Jennings Randolph Lake” Website

    R.D. Bailey Lake

“The R.D. Bailey Dam is on the Guyandotte River near the southern West Virginia town of Justice in Wyoming County. Work on the dam began in 1974; construction began in 1977 and was completed in 1980. Engineers call this type of structure a ‘rockfill’ dam. It is a carefully designed mound of closely compacted rock. A layer of steel-reinforced concrete was placed on the upstream face (on the lakeside) to reduce seepage through the rock. R.D. Bailey was the first concrete-faced dam built by the Corps of Engineers.”

Explore USACE’s “R.D. Bailey Lake” Website

    Stonewall Jackson Lake

“Completed in 1990, Stonewall Jackson Dam is located on the West Fork River, three miles south of Weston, WV and 73 miles upstream from the river’s mouth.”

Explore USACE’s “Stonewall Jackson Lake” Website

    Summersville Lake

“The Summersville Dam is on the Gauley River near the town of Summersville in Nicholas County, WV and was built between 1960 and 1966. It is the second largest rock-fill dam in the eastern United States.”

Explore USACE’s “Summersville Lake” Website

    Sutton Lake

“Sutton Dam is located just above the town of Sutton, WV, 101 miles above the mouth of the Elk River in Charleston.
It controls a 537 square mile drainage area, including the upper Elk River, and the Holly River. Construction began in
October 1949, but was interrupted by the Korean War. Work restarted in 1956 and the dam was finally completed in 1961.”

Explore USACE’s “Sutton Lake” Website

    Tygart Lake

“Authorized by the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1935, Tygart Dam was the first of 16 flood control projects in the Pittsburgh District. The project provides flood protection for the Tygart Valley River as well as the Monongahela and upper Ohio Rivers. Located near Grafton, WV, it held the honor for several years as having the most concrete in any dam east of the Mississippi River with a staggering 324,000 cubic yards.”

Explore USACE’s “Tygart Lake” Website

West Virginia WV National Parks, WV National Forests

National Wildlife Refuges, National Landmarks, Caverns, Watersheds, Natural Features