Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center is OpenMay 17, 2021
In April of 2019, ground was broken to begin construction of a brand new headquarters and visitor center for Canaan Valley’s National Wildlife Refuge. The new building location is on the same campus as the previous structure. Only this time the building footprint would grow to 8,200 square feet.
Demolition was much needed as the original building was constructed for a restaurant in 1975 and by 2010 the infrastructure was shot. Plus, there was a need to better serve the visitor’s refuge encounter with education and a tangible experience. This starts with a proper welcoming and ends with a lifelong appreciation through hands on hiking, hunting, boating, or biking.
Within the new headquarters are office and professional spaces for both US Fish and Wildlife along with Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge staff. Most importantly, a substantial portion of the building has been reserved for public services. A 60-seat meeting room, a 14-seat conference room, 10 museum-style exhibits in the visitor center area, an outdoor kiosk containing additional exhibits and a glass-fronted bookstore.
After a long 2020 of closures and life altering habits, it is with great pleasure to announce the opening of the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge and Visitor Center as of May 1, 2021.
Upon parking one will notice two main entrances, take the one on your left if looking at the building. An informative kiosk is also located here as an introduction and kind welcoming to the nations 500th wildlife refuge. Stepping inside you will be greeted by staff ready to explain plant and animal diversity unique to the highest valley of its size east of the Mississippi River.
One goal in the construction of the visitor center is to ensure an interactive experience. Not only are you learning about the area, but you can peer outside a panorama window overlooking Canaan Valley. A favorite exhibit of mine illuminates areas of the refuge on a 3D map that fall into various plant or animal species.
If time is of the essence and a day of exploring is not possible, take a quick stroll around the headquarters “backyard”. A path winds through exhibits of wildlife habitat, informative kiosks, and some of the various flora found in the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge. The view is also spectacular, looking to the southern end of Canaan Valley.
Officials and designers added in a multi-media conference room and 60 person meeting room for use by any public person, business, or organization. The state of art multi-media room is a huge deal for our area as this type of amenity is in short supply to professionals. Educators also find a new opportunity for school field trips to learn about nature and what makes Canaan Valley so special.
Located along Rt. 32, only seven miles south of Davis, West Virginia, the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center is conveniently located near state parks, ski resorts, and much more. First time visiting? This is the perfect starting point to learn about all that Tucker County and Canaan Valley has to offer.