Know Before You Go
During your visit to the Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge, keep in mind:
Points of Interest
Several islands have sandy beaches which are a popular stop for boaters, especially during the summer.
The refuge administration and visitor facility is located at 3982 Waverly Road in Williamstown, WV. The facility features exhibits on refuge history and wildlife as well as aquariums containing fish and turtles that can be found in the Ohio River. There are also several short trails around the facility that give a great view of the Ohio River and Buckley Island. Additional trails include a loop around a butterfly garden and a 1.2 mile hike through an upland forest. Fishing and canoe / kayak access is located on site as well. If you have any questions during your visit, the staff at the visitor facility will be more than happy to answer them.
Visitor Facility Hours:
December through MarchOpen Monday through Friday8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
April through NovemberOpen Monday through Saturday8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Closed on Federal Holidays
More points of interest can be found on Middle Island, which is accessed via George Street in St. Marys, WV. Middle Island features over 3.5 miles of trails with scenic views of the Ohio River and Middle Island wetland. A 1.5 mile auto tour runs along the western shore of the island presenting several stopping points with informational panels. Fishing access and a wildlife observation blind can also be found on the island.
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Forty species of native freshwater mussels live within the refuge waters on the Ohio River. This includes six federally endangered mussel species: fanshell, pink mucket, sheepnose, spectaclecase, snuffbox, and rayed bean. Mussels are important to the health of a river ecosystem. They are filter feeders, which helps reduce silt, sediment, and pollutants in the water.