The Nature Conservancy
in West Virginia

Cranesville Swamp

Formed 15,000 years ago during the last Ice Age, Cranesville Swamp sits along the border of Maryland and West Virginia near the western edge of the Appalachian Mountains.

The Nature Conservancy first began to protect Cranesville Swamp in 1960. Since then, the preserve has grown to encompass nearly 2,000 acres through land purchases and donations. © Kent Mason

The elements of wind, water, mountains, and temperature have created a landscape that is both beautiful and rare. Climatic elements have produced a “frost pocket,” that collects moisture and cooler temperatures. © Kent Mason

The permanent cool, wet setting of the preserve has created a peat bog – consisting of wet spongy ground and decomposing vegetation with poor drainage. © Kent Mason

While few trees can grow in the bog itself, some plants—like cranberry, sedge, and sundew (a carnivorous plant)—thrive in these open areas. © Kent Mason

Once moist, cool air moves into Cranesville Swamp, vegetation acts to keep it there. Conifer forests of red spruce, hemlock, and other evergreens form an insulating layer. © Kent Mason

Adjacent to the swamp, stands of red pine sprout from old farm fields. Scenic trails wind through many types of habitats at the preserve. © Kent Mason

The Conservancy is working to sustain the area’s unique features by replanting forests, managing wildlife, and promoting compatible land management. © Kent Mason

Visitors to the preserve are welcome. While much of the preserve is easily walked, there are some wet and boggy areas, so please bring proper footwear and stay on designated trails. © Kent Mason


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