At Cranesville Swamp, the elements of wind, water, mountains and temperature have created a landscape that is both beautiful and rare.
In combination, these climactic elements have produced a natural occurrence known as a “frost pocket”—an area where the surrounding hills capture moisture and cold air that conspire to create a landscape more reminiscent of habitat found much further north in Canada.
As weather travels west-to-east across North America, the hills surrounding Cranesville Swamp channel precipitation and chilled air into the valley, which make the preserve one of the coolest and soggiest spots in West Virginia.
What We're Doing
The greatest threats to Cranesville Swamp Preserve and its wildlife result from climate change, the impacts of historic logging, incompatible development, invasive species and deer overbrowsing. Since 1960, our work here has included:
- Planting more than 35,000 red spruce and 2,000 white pines across more than 300 acres
- Continual monitoring for new invasive species and management of existing invasive species (e.g. autumn olive, cattail)
- Water quality research
- Trail enhancement and nature interpretation projects to improve educational opportunities
- Saw-whet owl and flying squirrel research
- Water bars installed across abandoned logging roads to reduce erosion