Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge

Canaan Valley in Tucker County, West Virginia, is a beautiful and rare treasure with nationally significant wetlands, unusual character and unparalleled opportunities for outdoor education and research.

High altitude and a cool, moist climate have created a unique wetland and northern forest treasure in Canaan Valley. The Valley supports many unusual and rare plants and animals. Canaan Valley is home to 40 different wetland and upland plant communities supporting more that 580 different species of plants. The diverse Valley habitats support equally diverse wildlife populations, with 290 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fishes known or expected to occur there.

On August 11, 1994, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service purchased land establishing Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge as the 500th refuge in the National Wildlife Refuge System. Managing land within Canaan Valley as a refuge will maintain the ecological diversity of the Valley and the Blackwater River drainage basin for present and future generations of West Virginians and all Americans.

The idea for a refuge in Canaan Valley was first voiced in 1961! It finally became a reality -- thanks to Chris Clower, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's West Virginia Field Supervisor and Senator Robert Byrd. They have a right to look happy and satisfied.

Former President Theodore Roosevelt paid a surprise visit to the dedication! President Roosevelt established Pelican Island in Florida as the first National Wildlife Refuge in 1903. The refuge now consists of 726 acres in four tracts in the southern end of the valley. Though undeveloped, they are open to the public. Group tours for classes or conservation-oriented clubs can be arranged by contacting the Refuge Manager.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 13 Sep 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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