Canaan Valley State Park
Description: Canaan Valley is the largest wetland complex in West Virginia and the highest valley of its size east of the Rockies . It supports an incredible abundance of wildlife: 288 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish and almost 600 different species of plants occur here.
The valley is composed of an array of public and private land including Canaan Valley State Park, the nearby Dolly Sods Wilderness Area, Blackwater Falls State Park, and the nation's 500 th National Wildlife Refuge, Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge.
Viewing Information: The most visible species here is the white-tailed deer. Hike any of the Canaan Valley State Park roads or numerous trails and look for deer in the many clearings early in the morning or early evening to see them feeding. Less visible because they are more active in the evening, but just as fun to observe is the semiaquatic mammal, the muskrat, which might be seen along the Abe Run Boardwalk and the Blackwater River Trail. Look for swamp sparrows and cedar waxwings along the boardwalk in spring, and in summer look for common yellowthroats , the males easily identified by their black facemask above the yellow throat.
In summer search the forest and its edge for other migratory songbirds like indigo buntings, magnolia warblers, Blackburnian warblers, and hermit thrushes. Black bears have become more numerous here and are sometimes seen in spring and fall. Start your visit off right by picking up “A Guide to the Birds of Canaan Valley State Park and Surrounding Area” at the Nature Center.
Directions: From Davis, travel south on West Virginia State Route 32 for 13 miles. Canaan Valley Resort State Park entrance is on the right.
Ownership: West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (304) 866-4111
Size: 6,015 acres
Closest Town: Davis
Excerpt from the WV Wildlife Viewing Guide by Mark Damian Duda . Available from the WVDNR.