Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2018 - 46
The indigo bunting
tive wells still stand.
is a possible
North BeNd State Park
Located in the north-eastern part of West Virginia,
North Bend SP might be best
known for its place along
the historic B&O Railroad
Rail Trail. This famous 5,500mile American Discovery
Trail wilderness path crosses
the US, passes over 36 bridges, and through 10 tunnels.
In the West Virginia portion,
travelers can make their way
through a 2,297-foot tunnel and brave the haunted Silver Run Tunnel. Hardwood forests and dense understory
support enviable populations of birds.
LIFE LISTERS: Cerulean Warbler / Pileated Woodpecker
/ Downy Woodpecker / Hairy Woodpecker / Red-bellied
Sapsucker / Titmouse / Chickadee / Nuthatch / Eastern
Towhee / Worm-eating Warbler / Hooded Warbler / Louisiana Thrush / Ovenbird
BIRD TRAILS: The North Bend Rail Trail 72-mile section
is flat and offers leisurely strolls. Throughout the park, 14
hiking trails totaling 26 miles range from easy to difficult.
WHERE TO STAY: North Bend SP has a full-service 29room lodge overlooking the river valley. There are also
nine deluxe vacation cabins and two campgrounds with
a total of 77 sites for all types of camping.
MUST-SEE: 19th Century oil and gas wells: The park is
in West Virginia's historic drilling region, and a few inac46 BlueRidgeCountry.com
FairFax StoNe State Park
As one of the smallest state parks at only four
acres, this is an avian hotspot. Birders and
botanists alike love this area of mid-successional fields, open woodlands, and wetlands
at the edge of the Monongahela National Forest. Elm, walnut, cherry, ash and locust trees
occupy the land along with spicebush and
elderberry at the shrub levels - perfect birding habitats. The park's claim to fame is the
1700's boundary stone marking the historic
dispute between the colonies of Maryland
LIFE LISTERS: Rusty Blackbird / Goldenwinged Warbler / Olive-sided Flycatcher /
Brown Thrasher / Eastern Towhee / Field
Sparrow / Prairie Warbler / Indigo Bunting /
Yellow-breasted Chat / Blue-winged Warbler
/ Black-throated Blue Warbler / Blackpoll
Warbler / Cape May Warbler / Black-throated
Green Warbler / Tennessee Warbler / Swainson's Thrush / Blackburnian Warbler / Ovenbird / Common Yellowthroat / Magnolia Warbler
BIRD TRAILS: The close proximity to the national forest and other West Virginia state parks opens the wilderness for birding hikes on dozens of trails. Twenty miles of
trails in neighboring Blackwater Falls SP and 18 miles of
trails in next-door Canaan Valley Resort SP are popular
hiking areas for guided birding pilgrimages.
WHERE TO STAY: As a day-use park, the closest campgrounds can be found in Blackwater Falls State Park (65
tent and trailer sites) and Canaan Valley Resort State Park
(34 paved, wooded sites with hookups).
MUST-SEE: Allegheny Front Bird Migration Observatory: While in the area, be sure to visit the oldest, continuous Bird Banding Station on the continent in Dolly Sods,
Monongahela National Forest (particularly from mid-August to mid-October). With a 40-year history of banding
migratory species, they had the privilege of confirming a
Kirtland's in 2014.
Where will you celebrate the 100th birthday of the
Migratory Bird Treaty Act?
Each state park recommendation above is within or
adjacent to an Audubon's Important Bird Area (IBA). This
designation is designed to protect diverse habitats and the
birds that need them. In partnership and collaboration
with multiple organizations around the world, Audubon
has "identified 2,758 IBAs covering 417 million acres of
public and private lands in the United States" (audubon.
org/important-bird-areas). Thank you to Audubon for a
century of avian conservation.