Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge
View of the newly conserved land at Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Reggie Hall/The Conservation Fund
Situated at 3,200 feet above sea level, Canaan Valley is the highest valley of its size east of the Rockies. There is a rich and unusual diversity in this wetland valley, where high altitude and a cold, humid climate produce 40 types of ecological communities.
The refuge supports 400 plant and 280 animal species, including the endangered Cheat Mountain salamander and the Appalachian northern flying squirrel. In addition to providing critical wildife habitat, Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge offers nature lovers more than 40 miles of hiking, biking and horse trails, as well as seasonal hunting opportunities.
The Conservation Fund was instrumental in establishing Canaan Valley as the 500th national wildlife refuge, and has preserved more than 14,500 acres here since 1994. Most recently, in 2011, we assisted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in two separate projects adding nearly 600 acres to the refuge. These acquisitions complete a multi-phase effort to protect one of the largest undeveloped areas of land within the refuge boundary. Now, two areas of the refuge are connected, securing a significant ecological corridor with the Monongahela National Forest and establishing a critical link in the Heart of the Highlands Trail.
Identified by the USFWS as a top acquisition priority, the properties provide ideal nesting habitat for grassland-dependent and forest-dwelling migratory song and game birds including American woodcock, golden-winged warbler, indigo bunting, scarlet tanager and Canada warbler. This addition to the refuge, together with a 120-acre tract conserved in 2008 will ensure enhanced water quality of Flat Run—a high quality, year-round water source and tributary of the Blackwater River.