Cranesville Swamp Preserve is a 1,600-acre preserve situated in Preston County, WV and Garrett County, MD. The swamp formed 15,000 years ago during the last Ice Age, when glaciers inched close but never reached Maryland. The climate warmed and the glaciers retreated but many of the boreal plants remained. Nestled in a mountain valley bowl known as a frost pocket, where colder conditions still prevail and the climate is cold enough for these "ice age" plants.
I was really intrigued the first time I heard about this swamp -- a colleague at work mentioned to me she and her husband were going to check it out during, it turns out, the same day we were there. After seeing it in early fall, we both determined that we would try to return in about 6 or 7 months, to see it as spring was breaking from the winter cold.
Boreal bogs formed thousands of years ago when ponds filled with peat moss. Many bogs were mined to use their peat as a soil additive. Those that survived provide a glimpse of what much of North America looked like during the ice ages.
This site was protected by The Nature Conservancy in stages, beginning in 1960. Since that time, the Conservancy has acquired more than 1700 acres which will be held in trust in perpetuity.
Enjoy the drive -- from Hancock on, you'll encounter some lovely scenery, especially after you exit off of I-68. And as with other posts, especially those about fall foliage, sometimes the drive is the thing, the entire point. Although not the case in this post, the beauty of the surrounding countryside was a welcomed bonus to a lovely day.
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