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Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge
Canaan Valley, at an altitude of 3200 feet, is 14 miles long and 3 miles wide, and the highest valley of its size east of the Rocky Mountains. Climate and habitats are typical of areas much further north, and the plants and animals are unusual for the latitude. Many Valley species are at or near ...
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Fernow Experimental Forest
Description: 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 these valuable resources. This research area was carved from the Monongahela National Forest in 1934 because it is representative of many of West Virginia's forests. Fernow staff provide "show-me" trips, which provide a lecturer or a guide tour through the forest. Contact the Timber and Watershed Laboratory, Nursery Bottom, Parsons, WV 26287, or phone 304-478-2000.

Wildlife to Watch: Although the Fernow is fairly small at 4,700 acres, it is highly diverse, well roaded, and provides numerous wildlife viewing opportunities. The forest is an excellent place to see neotropical migratory songbirds in the spring and summer. White-tailed deer, ruffed grouse, wild turkeys, and several species of squirrel are present, as are black bears. The amphibian and reptile populations are diverse. Salamanders include redback, spotted, mountain dusky, Appalachian seal, slimy, Wehrle's four-toed, northern spring, northern red, and northern two-lined. The Appalachian seal salamander can be found during the day under rocks in cool mountain streams. The slimy salamander is active at night or in the afternoon following warm rains. The four-toed salamander prefers hardwood forests, but during spring, females migrate to bogs to deposit eggs.

Special Tips: This is a public hunting area; please check with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources for seasons and affected areas.

Ownership: USDA Forest Service 
Size: 4,400 Acres 
Closest Town: Parsons, WV

ParkingHikingHandicap AccessibleBicycling

Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing:

Fernow's Zero Grade Trail - Photo by USDA Forest Service
Please use Map Link below

Driving Directions:
At the junction of U.S. Highway 219 and West Virginia State Route 72 in Parsons follow US 219 north 0.2 mile (just over the bridge) to the sign for Otter Creek Wilderness. Turn right and then make an immediate left (the road is not marked). Proceed 1.3 miles to the fork and bear left; there will be a sign for Fernow Forest. Travel 1 mile to the fork and bear right at the sign for Forest Road 701. Go 0.2 miles to the entrance.

Map Link

Fernow Experimental Forest : Wildlife Viewing Area