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US Forest Service

Fernow Experimental Forest
The Fernow is located in one of the most mountainous regions of the Mountain State (WV), and is an active research forest. The purpose of this experimental forest is to foster a better understanding of West Virginia's forests, water, soils, and wildlife resources in order to protect and conserve ...
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Gaudineer Scenic Area
Description: An interesting blend of cultural and natural history meets here. Gaudineer Knob, located atop 4,445-foot-high Shavers Mountain in the Cheat Mountain Range, is a 140-acre tract of virgin red spruce-northern hardwoods forest that is 250 to 300 years old. It is a remnant of the spruce forests that originally spread across the highest mountaintops in West Virginia.

The preservation of this forest was the result of a surveying mistake. Failing to correct for the difference between true north and magnetic north, a surveyor omitted this tract of land, resulting in a forgotten triangular wedge of virgin forest when the surrounding areas were logged. In 1964 the area was designated as a scenic area by the USDA Forest Service.

Wildlife to Watch: The nine most common breeding birds here are magnolia warblers, solitary vireos, black-throated blue warblers, Blackburnian warblers, winter wrens, golden-crowned kinglets, black-capped chickadees, dark-eyed juncos, and chestnut-sided warblers. Early mornings and evenings from mid-May to mid-July are best to see these birds. Twenty-two species of warblers are known to summer here, more than at any other mountain in the Appalachians.

Gaudineer is also an exceptional place for bird watchers to find four species of brownbacked thrushes, all premier singers: hermit, Swainson’s, wood thrush, and veery. In the 1940s, studies by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service showed that this area had one of the highest populations of birds per acre in the United States.

Special Tips: Management of this area to a near natural stage and encouraging visitors to enjoy it presents a safety concern. The abundance of dying mature red spruce and dying, diseased American beech can be considered a natural stage in a constantly changing environment. This, however, increases the chances of visitors being injured by falling limbs or trees. For safety reasons, avoid using the area when the wind is blowing the tree tops.

Ownership: USDA Forest Service 
Size: 140 acres 
Closest Town: Durbin, West Virginia

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Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing:

Gaudineer Red Spotted Newt - Photo by USDA Forest Service
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Driving Directions:
The 140 acre Gaudineer Scenic Area is located near Gaudineer Knob of Shavers Mountain in Randolph and Pocahontas Counties. The area is located about 5.5 miles from Durbin, West Virginia. To reach the area travel west from Durbin on US 250 for 4 miles to Forest Service Road 27, then north on Forest Service Road 27 for 1.5 miles to the area. The Scenic Area is in the headwaters of Glade Run and Old Road Run, tributaries of Shavers Fork of Cheat River and West Fork of Greenbrier River, respectively.

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Gaudineer Scenic Area : Wildlife Viewing Area