Eastern Region Viewing Area
LOCATION and PHOTOS
Cranberry Mountain Nature Center: Native Plant and Pollinator Garden
Forest: Monongahela National Forest
District: Gauley Ranger District
Description: The Cranberry Mountain Nature Center serves as a visitors’ center for the south zone of the Monongahela National Forest and the nearby communities. The exhibit hall features many interactive displays which are both educational and entertaining to young and old alike. The auditorium offers short films upon request on topics such as Smokey Bear Story, Jewels of the Monongahela, Cranberry Glades, wildflowers, and many others. Another feature of the center is its retail outlet, well-stocked with field guides, children’s nature books, and books of local interest. Along the edge of the center grounds winds an interpretive trail where trees, wildlife and, depending on the season, a wonderful display of wildflowers can be viewed. Special programs and guided tours can be arranged. The nature center also hosts several events throughout the year, such as Kids Night, Cranberry Mountain Shindig, and the Scenic Mountain Triathlon.
The newest feature of the nature center is the Native Plant and Pollinator Garden. Planted in May, 2008, the plants have filled the garden with abundant wildflowers, which attract many bees, hummingbirds and butterflies. Featured are columbine, wild bergamot, coreopsis, aster, blazing star, beardtongue, oxeye daisy, black-eyed Susan, bee balm, phlox and wild geraniums. A section of butterfly milkweed attracts Monarch butterflies. Wildflower meadow areas will also be featured next spring.
The garden is next to the nature center, along a sidewalk which allows handicap access. The garden area features a birdbath and a finch feeder. Hummingbird feeders hang nearby on the building. A flagstone separation in the garden leads into the shade of a large maple tree, which serves as a picnic area for visitors. One end of the garden path turns into the interpretive trail, the other end features benches at the butterfly milkweed garden, with views of the hummingbird feeders, the finch feeder and the beautiful Highland Scenic Highway.
Directions: The Cranberry Mountain Nature Center is located 23 miles east of Richwood, WV and 14 miles west of Marlinton, WV at the junction of WV Rts. 39/55 and Rt. 150 (Highland Scenic Highway).
Ownership and Management: U.S. Forest Service, Monongahela National Forest, Gauley Ranger District, Cranberry Mountain Nature Center. Additional information is available during the summer months at the Cranberry Mountain Nature Center at 304-653-4826 and during the winter months at the Gauley Ranger District at 304-846-2695.
Closest Town: Richwood, West Virginia.