Cranberry Glades Botanical Area
The Cranberry Glades is the largest area of bogs, or acidic wetlands, in West Virginia, a unique and exotic ecosystem on 750 acres. This spectacular and beautiful area was established by the United States Forest Service in 1965, to protect and preserve over 60 unique plant species, many of them descended from seeds that took root here over 10,000 years ago.
Whether you are looking at an individual fuchsia-colored Wild Orchid or taking in the beauty of the bog plains, there is a special tranquility found only here.
The Glade’s fascinating sphagnum bogs are similar to that found in “Muskegs” of the Artic Tundra. When you first enter the area, you will notice Red Spruce, hemlock and Yellow Birch trees.
Along the left side of the boardwalk you may see a tree that has fallen over. The shallow roots so necessary for survival here do not adequately anchor trees against strong winds. Thus, the very adaptation which allows these trees to live here can also cause their death.
Carnivorous or insect-eating plants also make their home in the bogs. The half-mile boardwalk was constructed so you can enjoy the area without disturbing this fragile community.
Keep a watchful eye as you walk through the area and you might spy some of these wild animals: American Black Bear, WV Northern Flying Squirrel, Red-tailed Hawk, American Bald Eagle, Red Fox, coyote, White-tailed Deer, Cooper Hawk, and Eastern Screech-Owl.
As you walk along the boardwalk, you might see some of these plants: Bishop’s Cap, Jewelweed, False Hellebore, Indian Pipe, Turtlehead, Wild Raisin, Sundew, Grass Pink Orchid, and the Pitcher Plant.
The wheelchair accessible boardwalk is available for self guided tours and pre-arranged tours made in advance.