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The 82-acre West Virginia Botanic Garden in Morgantown is the only one of its kind in the state and features plants appropriate to the Appalachian region. The garden was developed on the site of the Tibbs Run Reservoir, which provided water to Morgantown residents from 1912 to 1969. Various private utility companies owned the land and operated the reservoir before the city of Morgantown acquired it in 1950. The property includes the 15-acre reservoir basin and the surrounding land that protected the watershed, especially the water from Tibbs Run. The reservoir basin was drained in 1980. After that, grasses, sedges, and rushes grew there, with occasional small pools of water forming during periods of heavy rain.

A group of volunteers led by a West Virginia University professor George Longenecker formed West Virginia Botanic Garden, Inc. in 1983. There was no site for the garden until 1999, when the city of Morgantown agreed to lease the reservoir property to the organization, which took over the management of the site in 2000. Volunteers helped clear and improve the garden, and they continue to maintain it and provide educational programming.

The West Virginia Botanic Garden features small designed gardens, old growth forest, hiking trails, and a boardwalk over a wetland area. Signs detail the plants and animals that live there and explain the extant structures, including the dam, spillway, and the outlet tower. The garden is open daily year round. To protect the site, hunting, fishing, horses, bicycles, motorized vehicles, campfires, and camping are not allowed.

This Article was written by Barbara J. Howe

Last Revised on May 28, 2013


Cite This Article

Howe, Barbara J. "West Virginia Botanic Garden." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 28 May 2013. Web. 23 February 2018.

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