Welcome to Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge, the largest contiguous, high elevation wetland complex in West Virginia that harbors a vast assemblage of rare plants and animals normally associated with more northern latitudes. Established in 1994, the refuge conserves, protects, and manages a mosaic of wetland, forested, and early successional habitat that supports migratory birds and threatened and endangered species. As a steward of a significant portion of the headwaters, the Refuge ensures the integrity of the natural resources of the upper Blackwater River watershed. Stop in at the visitor center or use this website to learn how you can enjoy YOUR Refuge.
Location and Contact Information
The refuge, located in eastern Tucker County, West Virginia, sits in the Canaan Valley, 3,200 feet above sea level in the Allegheny Mountains. On September 11, 1994, 86 acres of land were purchased to establish the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge. This was the 500th refuge created by the Service. Canaan Valley contains a wetlands complex of about 8,400 acres, making it the largest wetlands system in West Virginia. Of these total wetlands, 5,573 acres are located within the refuge. The headwaters of the Little Blackwater River, 13 miles of the Blackwater River, and many miles of other tributaries are also within the refuge boundaries.
What We Do
The National Wildlife Refuge System is a series of lands and waters owned and managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Wildlife conservation is at the heart of the refuge system. It drives everything we do from the purpose a refuge is established, to the recreational activities offered there, to the resource management tools we use. Selecting the right tools helps us ensure the survival of local plants and animals and helps fulfill the purpose of the refuge.