Cranberry Glades

Hope everyone had a great week life gets hectic and overwhelming sometimes,  and I have to say my favorite feature of WordPress is the ability to schedule my blog posts so I can work on them during the week, and that is only if I remember to work on it ahead of time.    🙂

Today’s topic is going to be on the Cranberry Glades in West Virginia.  I have been to this area several times in my life over the years.  Typically, during the fall, we take a family drive over the Scenic Highway that ends at the Cranberry Glades.  Walking into this area you are transported into a different scene that is not the typical landscape of West Virginia.

The Cranberry Glades are in Richwood WV, and is the largest area of bog s, or acidic wetlands, in West Virginia.  The park is located on 750 acres and offers a unique and exotic ecosystem.  The park was established by the US Forest Service in 1965, to protect and preserve over 60 unique plant species that call this area home.   The blogs are like that found in the “Muskegs” of the Arctic Tundra.  In 1974, the Cranberry Glades Botanical Area was designated as a National Natural Landmark. Over the years this site has been the subject of many scientific studies especially during the 1930’s, 1940’s and 1950.  Such studies were performed by Maurice Brooks, Strausbaugh, Darlington, and Earl L Core.

These bogs are home to two carnivorous or insect-eating plants the purple pitcher plant, and the sundew plant.  The bog is also home to the Cranberry plant hence the name of the site.   Many of these unique plants are descended from seeds that took root in this area over 10,000 years ago. The glades are also now the southern-most point in North America where some of these life forms are found.

You do not want to step off the platform while viewing the area as most of the bog is underlain with peat that is up to 10 feet thick.   The wilderness is home to 5 different bogs.  The “Big Glade” at 59 Acres, the Flag Glade at 28 Acres, Long Glade at 20 acres, Round Glade at 8 acres, and Little Glade 1 Acre.  Currently, the Little Glade has since grown over and is no longer recognizable.  The glades are also the headwaters for the Cranberry River which is a popular trout stream.  Our typical excursion has only been to the “Big Glade”.

Cranberry Glades serves as a major tourist stop along the Highland Scenic Highway corridor.  Along with the ½ mile board walk, there is also a Cowpasture Trail that is 6.0 miles long for hiking that serves as the border between the Cranberry Glades Botanical Area and the much larger Cranberry Wilderness (50,000) acres.  Due to the ecologically-sensitive nature of the area and plant life, visitors are not permitted to leave the developed paths within the Glades.

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