- Canaan Valley NWR is a "refuge in progress" which currently consists of 1400 acres, acquisition is continuing. The boundary includes 24,000 acres and includes most of the wetlands and unique habitats in Canaan Valley.
The Valley is 14 miles long and 3 miles wide, the highest valley of its size east of the Rockies. 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 the southernmost edge of their ranges. Drained by the Blackwater River and its tributaries, Canaan Valley contains the largest freshwater wetland area in West Virginia and the central and southern Appalachians.
More than 580 plant species are known, and there are 40 distinct plant communities, including swamp forests, alder thickets, marshes and bogs. These habitats support equally diverse wildlife populations, with 290 species of vertebrates known to occur.
Nationally recognized as a breeding and fall migration area for the American woodcock, the Refuge area also supports many other migratory bird species. The Valley supports two listed species--the threatened Cheat Mountain salamander and the endangered northern Virginia flying squirrel.
Canaan Valley NWR is located in Tucker County.