Established with assistance from the Conservation Fund on August 11, 1994, the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge, one of the largest and most diverse freshwater wetland areas in central and southern Appalachia, became the 500th refuge in the National Wildlife Refuge system. The refuge is located north of Canaan Valley State Park in Tucker County. National wildlife refuges, federal lands managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, are intended to maintain the ecological diversity of an area for future generations. More than 580 plant species and at least 290 species of vertebrates are known to exist in the Canaan area, including the endangered Virginia northern flying squirrel and the Cheat Mountain salamander.
The refuge’s goal is to preserve 24,000 acres of fragile wetlands and unique habitats. In 2002, through an agreement reached with the assistance of Sen. Robert C. Byrd and Congressman Alan B. Mollohan, the Conservation Fund, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Allegheny Energy Company transferred 12,000 acres to the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge. This augmented the 3,245 acres previously acquired, bringing total acreage in the refuge to 15,245.
This Article was written by Debra K. Sullivan