Cranesville Swamp Preserve
Cranesville Swamp Preserve is a 1600 acres (647.5 ha) preserve situated in Preston County, West Virginia
West Virginia
West Virginia is a state in the Appalachian and Southeastern regions of the United States, bordered by Virginia to the southeast, Kentucky to the southwest, Ohio to the northwest, Pennsylvania to the northeast and Maryland to the east...

 and Garrett County, Maryland
Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

. It is one of the few remaining boreal
Boreal ecosystem
The term boreal is usually applied to ecosystems localized in subarctic and subantarctic zones, although Austral is also used for the latter....

A bog, quagmire or mire is a wetland that accumulates acidic peat, a deposit of dead plant material—often mosses or, in Arctic climates, lichens....

s in the southern United States,
unusual in harboring many plants and animals that are normally only seen in more northern climates.


The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy is a US charitable environmental organization that works to preserve the plants, animals, and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive....

 purchased the 1600 acres (647.5 ha) beginning in 1960. In October 1964, the site was designated as one of the first National Natural Landmark
National Natural Landmark
The National Natural Landmark program recognizes and encourages the conservation of outstanding examples of the natural history of the United States. It is the only natural areas program of national scope that identifies and recognizes the best examples of biological and geological features in...

s in the country.


Cranesville Swamp is situated in a natural bowl, or "frost pocket
A microclimate is a local atmospheric zone where the climate differs from the surrounding area. The term may refer to areas as small as a few square feet or as large as many square miles...

," creating a climate that is more consistent with more northerly regions.


Cranesville Swamp's unusual setting allows 19 different plant communities to flourish,

with the most dominant species being, among others, Sphagnum moss, Speckled Alder (Alnus rugosa), various sedge
- Plants :* Acorus calamus, sweet flag, a plant in the Acoraceae family* Any of the plants in the family Cyperaceae- Animals :* A collective noun for several species of birds, including bitterns, cranes and herons* Sedge-fly, caddisfly- Other uses :...

s (Carex folliculata, and C. stricta) and grass
Grasses, or more technically graminoids, are monocotyledonous, usually herbaceous plants with narrow leaves growing from the base. They include the "true grasses", of the Poaceae family, as well as the sedges and the rushes . The true grasses include cereals, bamboo and the grasses of lawns ...

es. Bog species include round-leaved sundew (Drosera rotundifolia) and narrowleaf gentian (Gentiana linearis).

The swamp is also home to the southernmost natural community of larch
Larches are conifers in the genus Larix, in the family Pinaceae. Growing from 15 to 50m tall, they are native to much of the cooler temperate northern hemisphere, on lowlands in the north and high on mountains further south...



In addition to black bear
American black bear
The American black bear is a medium-sized bear native to North America. It is the continent's smallest and most common bear species. Black bears are omnivores, with their diets varying greatly depending on season and location. They typically live in largely forested areas, but do leave forests in...

, porcupine
North American Porcupine
The North American Porcupine , also known as Canadian Porcupine or Common Porcupine, is a large rodent in the New World porcupine family. The Beaver is the only rodent larger than the North American Porcupine found in North America...

, snowshoe hare
Snowshoe Hare
The Snowshoe Hare , also called the Varying Hare, or Snowshoe Rabbit, is a species of hare found in North America. It has the name "snowshoe" because of the large size of its hind feet and the marks its tail leaves. The animal's feet prevent it from sinking into the snow when it hops and walks...

 and a wide variety of birds, the rare northern water shrew has been documented here. Birders have also noted the golden-crowned kinglet
Golden-crowned Kinglet
The Golden-crowned Kinglet, Regulus satrapa, is a very small songbird.Adults are olive-gray on the upperparts with white underparts, with thin bills and short tails. They have white wing bars, a black stripe through the eyes and a yellow crown surrounded by black...

 and Nashville warbler
Nashville Warbler
The Nashville Warbler, Vermivora ruficapilla, is a small songbird in the New World warbler family.They have olive-brown upperparts, a white belly and a yellow throat and breast; they have a white eye ring, no wing bars and a thin pointed bill. Adult males have a grey head with a rusty crown patch ;...

, rarely seen in this area.
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