Our Protected Land

A 52-acre natural area

The Wallace Hartman Nature Preserve is a 52-acre natural area located minutes from downtown Charleston, W. Va. Trails are established on the property and are open to the public.

The preserve is owned by Kanawha County Parks and Recreation but is protected under a conservation easement held by the WVLT. The easement requires managing the property for recreational and educational opportunities, habitat protection, and scenic enjoyment.

Restoring floodplain forest

Floodplain forest species, including sycamores and cottonwoods, exist in narrow swaths along the preserve’s stream banks. Restoring and expanding them will contribute to improved water quality in the South Fork and the South Branch of the Potomac, which flank the property, as they flow to the Chesapeake Bay. As a recreational resource, the preserve has potential not only for the immediate community, but also for travelers who access the area from the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area via Corridor H.

With one of the few known barn owl nesting sites in West Virginia, as well as lowland fields, stream frontage, and wetland habitats, the Hardy County property easily lends itself to nature watching. The ‘sloughs’ (pronounced “sloos”) are an especially interesting feature of the Poppy Bean Preserve. As ‘off-channel habitat,’ these slow-moving backwaters provide an environment for smaller fish and other aquatic species to escape high flows and avoid predation in the main river.

Management plans are underway, so stay tuned!

Unique habitats for rare, threatened, and endangered plants and animals, including:

  • Federally-endangered Indiana and Virginia big-eared bats;
  • Eastern hellbender, a sensitive and large aquatic salamander;
  • One of the world’s largest known populations of Virginia spirea, a threatened plant;
  • Barbara’s Buttons, an imperiled and vulnerable plant species;
  • Diverse communities of migratory bird species, hawks, and other birds of prey.

The property links to other public lands, including the Gauley River National Recreation Area and Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park. It is historically unique as the location of a Confederate retreat during the Civil War.

The Gauley River National Recreation Area was designated as part of the National Park system in 1988. It contains 25 miles of the Gauley River and 5 miles of the neighboring Meadow River.

An 84-acre wooded sanctuary

The Elizabeth’s Woods Nature Preserve is located just south of Morgantown, W. Va. Trails and parking are currently being developed. Future developments will include improving parking and accessibility, extending trail networks, adding interpretive signs and planning educational programs.

The preserve was deeded to the WVLT in 1995. The WVLT manages the property under guidelines outlined in the deed which require keeping the property in its natural condition while accommodating hiking and nature study.

We offer volunteer trail work opportunities on the property.

 

 

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