Wild & Wonderful Wetlands

Cinnamon Fern Sphagnum in Cranesville
Drawing of wetlands plants with the text 'Learn more about wetlands'  


Twelve wetlands across West Virginia are featured below as part of our Wild & Wonderful Wetlands series. These wetlands were selected due to their unique habitat, accessibility, available parking, and established trails. This page contains a link to fact sheets and videos about each of the twelve wetlands. The fact sheets highlight cool things to look for including birds, flowers and local history. The videos take you on a mini-tour of each wetland. These resources can help you to plan your trip and enhance your enjoyment while you are there. Click on the links below to access the fact sheets and videos. We hope you enjoy exploring West Virginia’s Wild & Wonderful Wetlands!


Twelve Wetlands Across West Virginia

These twelve wetlands showcase some of the most interesting and beautiful wetlands in the state, from cold northern bog-like environments in the headwaters of trout streams to the large oxbows and marshes along the Ohio River. Many of the wetlands are remnants of once vast floodplains filled with elk, bison, and forests of oak, silver maple, elm, and sweetgum. Visit these special sites to enjoy nature in its abundance. All of them are great spots to see wildlife, especially birds, frogs, salamanders, butterflies, and dragonflies. Other places to visit wetlands in West Virginia include the well-known Canaan Valley and Dolly Sods, or you can explore West Virginia's stream edges, floodplain, or ponds and find your own wetland nearby.

McClintic Wildlife Management Area

The Clifton F. McClintic Wildlife Management Area is a naturalized area located in Mason County about 5 miles north of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Located on 3,655 acres of former wartime industrial land, the WMA is occupied by farmland, woodlands, and wetlands encompassing 31 ponds.

Fun Fact: In the late 1960s, the area was the location of supposed sightings of a paranormal Mothman creature.

Green Bottom Wildlife Management Area

Green Bottom Wildlife Management Area is located on former plantation lands of U.S. Congressman and Confederate General Albert G. Jenkins. The 1,096 acres in Cabell County and Mason County are located along the banks of the Ohio River about 16 miles north of Huntington, West Virginia. The Green Bottom WMA land is a mixture of farmland, mixed hardwood forest, wetlands, and open water. The Jenkins Plantation Museum is located on Corps of Engineers land adjacent to the WMA.

Fun Fact: The museum is located in the original 1835 Green Bottom Plantation House, and is operated by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History.

Kanawha State Forest - Spotted Salamander Wetland

The land that is now Kanawha State Forest originally was the site of extensive mining and logging. In 1937, the West Virginia Conservation Commission purchased 6,705 acres on the headwaters of Davis Creek outside of Charleston. The following year, Camp Kanawha was set up as a project of the Civilian Conservation Corps. The CCC removed coal tipples and other structures no longer in use and built roads, the superintendent’s residence and picnic shelters. A dam also was built across Davis Creek to create a small lake. After Camp Kanawha’s closure in 1942, the state acquired an additional 2,500 acres.

Fun Fact: The Kanawha State Forest Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1993.

Twin Falls State Park - Poke Hollow Wetland

Twin Falls Resort State Park was named for Foley Falls and Black Fork Falls, which are found on park grounds. The park was built on 3,776 acres of land donated in 1964 by the Western Pocahontas Corporation and Pocahontas Land Corporation. In the following years, a golf course, cabins and swimming pool were constructed. The lodge was completed in 1970. During the park’s development in the mid-1970s, a pioneer homestead was reconstructed, and has since become the crown jewel of the park.

Fun Fact: Poke Hollow Trail travels by the Wetland, and through a variety of forest types with a steady climb past two cemeteries.

New River Birding & Nature Center

The New River Birding & Nature Center sits on a gem of a spot that overflows with migrating birds, plants and wildlife. The Center is an outdoor classroom featuring a Wetlands Boardwalk and self-interpretive Woodland Trails.

Fun Fact: New River Birding and Nature Center was voted the #1 Birdwatching Spot in the Best of the Blue Ridge: 2022 Readers' Choice Awards.

Cranberry Glades

Cranberry Glades is a cluster of five boreal-type bogs in southwestern Pocahontas County, West Virginia. This area is high in the Allegheny Mountains at about 3,400 feet. Because of its unique flora and rare plant communities, it is protected as the Cranberry Glades Botanical Area, part of the Monongahela National Forest.

Fun Fact: Cranberry Glades is the headwaters of the Cranberry River, a popular trout stream, and is adjacent to the nearly 50,000-acre Cranberry Wilderness.

WV Botanic Gardens

WV Botanic Gardens began as only a dream in 2000. Today, it is steadily becoming a reality on the 82-acre former Tibbs Run Reservoir property off the Tyrone Road in Monongalia County, WV. The former 15-acre basin will be transformed into two smaller pools with islands and aquatic plant displays. The old water works, still present, will stand as a link to the past.

Fun Fact: The West Virginia Botanic Garden (WVBG) is the only botanic garden in the state, and it is open daily from dawn to dusk, free of charge.

Cranesville Swamp

At Cranesville Swamp, the elements of wind, water, mountains and temperature have created a landscape that is both beautiful and rare.

In combination, these climactic elements have produced a natural occurrence known as a “frost pocket”—an area where the surrounding hills capture moisture and cold air that conspire to create a landscape more reminiscent of habitat found much further north in Canada.

Fun Fact: As weather travels west-to-east across North America, the hills surrounding Cranesville Swamp channel precipitation and chilled air into the valley, which make the preserve one of the coolest and soggiest spots in West Virginia.

Alder Run Bog

The Alder Run Bog is an example of a northern bog, both in structure and in floristic composition. Conditions for the existence of this northern formation are maintained by altitude, topography, and the presence of cold springs flowing over a sandstone bedrock. The species number in the bog is limited, but many of those present form large distinct zones and are well adapted to a bog environment.

Fun Fact: The diversity of this wetland is increased by the presence of a beaver pond which also provides an open water habitat.

Widmyer Wetland

The restoration of Widmyer Wetland was conducted by the Warm Springs Watershed Association. It is a mosaic of forested and open wetlands in Morgan County. Within the wetland are a walking trail, benches, and a sculpture.

Fun Fact: Widmyer is a remnant floodplain wetland along Warm Springs Run. It is a great place to see frogs, salamanders, butterflies, and dragonflies.

Stauffer's Marsh

Stauffer’s Marsh Nature Preserve consists of 46 acres of primarily wetland in Back Creek Valley in Berkeley County, WV. Formerly marshy farmland, the USDA restored the wetland ponds and marshes as a part of the Wetland Reserve Program. Today, Stauffer’s Marsh is a paradise for migrating and nesting waterfowl.

Fun Fact: At least 167 species of birds have been observed at Stauffer's Marsh.

Cool Spring Preserve

Cool Spring Nature Preserve consists of 63 acres of forest, meadow and marsh in southern Jefferson County, West Virginia. Bullskin Run, a major stream with significant historical value, borders one side of the preserve. Cool Spring is designated as a “birding hotspot". In Spring 2020, the entire preserve was placed under a conservation easement with the West Virginia Land Trust.

Fun Fact: 18 rare and imperiled West Virginia plants have been found in the marsh.