Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Cranberry Glades Botanical Area

Cranberry Glades Botanical Area



The Cranberry Glades is the largest area of bogs, or acidic wetlands, in West Virginia, a unique and exotic ecosystem on 750 acres. This spectacular and beautiful area was established by the United States Forest Service in 1965, to protect and preserve over 60 unique plant species, many of them descended from seeds that took root here over 10,000 years ago.

Whether you are looking at an individual fuchsia-colored Wild Orchid or taking in the beauty of the bog plains, there is a special tranquility found only here.

The Glade’s fascinating sphagnum bogs are similar to that found in “Muskegs” of the Artic Tundra. When you first enter the area, you will notice Red Spruce, hemlock and Yellow Birch trees.

Along the left side of the boardwalk you may see a tree that has fallen over. The shallow roots so necessary for survival here do not adequately anchor trees against strong winds. Thus, the very adaptation which allows these trees to live here can also cause their death.

Carnivorous or insect-eating plants also make their home in the bogs. The half-mile boardwalk was constructed so you can enjoy the area without disturbing this fragile community.

Keep a watchful eye as you walk through the area and you might spy some of these wild animals: American Black Bear, WV Northern Flying Squirrel, Red-tailed Hawk, American Bald Eagle, Red Fox, coyote, White-tailed Deer, Cooper Hawk, and Eastern Screech-Owl.

As you walk along the boardwalk, you might see some of these plants: Bishop’s Cap, Jewelweed, False Hellebore, Indian Pipe, Turtlehead, Wild Raisin, Sundew, Grass Pink Orchid, and the Pitcher Plant.

The wheelchair accessible boardwalk is available for self guided tours and pre-arranged tours made in advance.


The boardwalk at Cranberry Botanical Glades Area

Cranberry Mountain Nature Center
Open April through November
304.653.4826

Perched on the edge of Cranberry Mountain in the Monongahela National Forest on Highway 39/55 is the Cranberry Mountain Nature Center. Operated by the USDA Forest Service, the Nature Center features live programs on birds of prey as well as poisonous and nonpoisonous snakes of West Virginia.

An exhibit hall and audio visual programs provide interpretation of forest ecosystems and local history. Noted guest speakers often visit with programs on wildlife, Indian folk lore, and forest conservation.

You will find nature books for sale as well as informational brochures and maps. Thousands of people visit the Center each year from April through November to learn about the area.

Cranberry Glades Botanical Area


The Cranberry Glades is the largest area of bogs, or acidic wetlands, in West Virginia, a unique and exotic ecosystem on 750 acres. This spectacular and beautiful area was established by the United States Forest Service in 1965, to protect and preserve over 60 unique plant species, many of them descended from seeds that took root here over 10,000 years ago.

Whether you are looking at an individual fuchsia-colored Wild Orchid or taking in the beauty of the bog plains, there is a special tranquility found only here.

The Glade’s fascinating sphagnum bogs are similar to that found in “Muskegs” of the Artic Tundra. When you first enter the area, you will notice Red Spruce, hemlock and Yellow Birch trees.

Along the left side of the boardwalk you may see a tree that has fallen over. The shallow roots so necessary for survival here do not adequately anchor trees against strong winds. Thus, the very adaptation which allows these trees to live here can also cause their death.

Carnivorous or insect-eating plants also make their home in the bogs. The half-mile boardwalk was constructed so you can enjoy the area without disturbing this fragile community.

Keep a watchful eye as you walk through the area and you might spy some of these wild animals: American Black Bear, WV Northern Flying Squirrel, Red-tailed Hawk, American Bald Eagle, Red Fox, coyote, White-tailed Deer, Cooper Hawk, and Eastern Screech-Owl.

As you walk along the boardwalk, you might see some of these plants: Bishop’s Cap, Jewelweed, False Hellebore, Indian Pipe, Turtlehead, Wild Raisin, Sundew, Grass Pink Orchid, and the Pitcher Plant.

The wheelchair accessible boardwalk is available for self guided tours and pre-arranged tours made in advance.


The boardwalk at Cranberry Botanical Glades Area

Cranberry Mountain Nature Center
Open April through November
304.653.4826

Perched on the edge of Cranberry Mountain in the Monongahela National Forest on Highway 39/55 is the Cranberry Mountain Nature Center. Operated by the USDA Forest Service, the Nature Center features live programs on birds of prey as well as poisonous and nonpoisonous snakes of West Virginia.

An exhibit hall and audio visual programs provide interpretation of forest ecosystems and local history. Noted guest speakers often visit with programs on wildlife, Indian folk lore, and forest conservation.

You will find nature books for sale as well as informational brochures and maps. Thousands of people visit the Center each year from April through November to learn about the area.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Highland Scenic Highway, Pocahontas County, WV

West Virginia - Highland Scenic Highway

This is a very beautiful drive......pack a lunch an plan on spending the day, taking in all the beauty that West Virginia has to offer.

The ride along the Highland Scenic Highway, a beautiful corridor through the Monongahela National Forest, is a visual masterpiece! The inimitable ride gives you a bird’s eye view of expansive dense hardwood forests, capped with opaque spruce.

The Highland Scenic Highway, a National Forest Scenic Byway, is the highest major roadway in West Virginia and extends 43 miles from Richwood to U.S. Route 219, seven miles north of Marlinton. The Highway follows State Route 39/55 for 21 miles from Richwood to the Cranberry Mountain Visitor Center. It then turns onto State Route 150 for the 22 mile Parkway section and rises from an elevation of 2,300 feet to over 4,500 feet.

Four scenic overlooks located along the Parkway portion of the Highway provide spectacular views of the Allegheny Highlands. Drivers, however, don’t have to wait until they get to an overlook to enjoy the continual beauty along the Highway. Each stretch of road offers breathtaking scenery, intriguing perspectives, and incomparable glimpses. The heart-stopping dips take your breath away.

While the Highland Scenic Highway is one of West Virginia’s most spectacular automobile events, you will want to get out of the car to take in the smells, listen to the wind, and scan for wildlife. Clear days offer astounding views of cloud inversions, hillsides colored with brilliant spring wildflowers, or a collection of crimson colored leaves across panoramic mountains during fall.

The highest state maintained road in all of WV

Four barrier-free picnic shelters and restrooms are provided at each overlook.

The Parkway is not maintained for winter travel, but the unploughed road offers people on snowmobiles and cross country skis a special ribbon of winter fun!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dolly Sods Wilderness Area

Dolly Sods Wilderness Area, located mostly in Tucker County, WV, is a place that you must visit before you leave this earth. It is the highest plateau of its type east of the Mississippi River with altitude ranging from around 4,000 feet (1,200 m) at the top of a mountain ridge on the Allegheny Front to about 2,700 feet (820 m) at the outlet of Red Creek. The highest point in this immediate area is Mount Porte Crayon, at 4,770 feet (1,454 m), in Flatrock-Roaring Plains.

Dolly Sods is on a ridge crest that forms part of the Eastern Continental Divide. Most of its area is drained by Red Creek, which is a tributary of the Dry Fork River; via the Dry Fork, Black Fork, Cheat, Mongahela and Ohio Rivers, it is part of the Mississippi River watershed. Drainage on the east side of the ridge crest flows into the headwaters of the South Branch of the Potomac River, which is part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Rock formation in Dolly Sods, WV

The 10,215-acre (41 km2) Dolly Sods Wilderness is only part of the 32,000-acre (129 km2) area known as Dolly Sods. The northern part of the area is a back country access area, though not designated wilderness. The West Virginia Wilderness Coalition proposes Congressional Wilderness designation for both the Dolly Sods North area and the Roaring Plains area.

Dolly Sods is bordered by a Forest Service road on the east and south side. South of this road is the adjoining Flatrock-Roaring Plains area (which is drained by the South Fork of Red Creek). The northeast end of the Federal land at Dolly Sods is bordered by the Bear Rocks Nature Preserve, owned by The Nature Conservancy. In the Canaan Valley to the west, it is adjoined by the 16,000-acre (65 km2) Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge.

Most of Dolly Sods is in Tucker County. Small parts of Dolly Sods are also in Randolph and Grant Counties.