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Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge - Wellsburg

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The Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1990 to protect, conserve, and restore habitat for wildlife native to the river's floodplain. The refuge consists of twenty-two islands and four mainland tracts scattered along 362 miles of the upper Ohio River. Most of the refuge's 3440 acres of land and underwater habitat are located in West Virginia; however, Pennsylvania and Kentucky each have two refuge islands.

The refuge is important in conserving the "wild" Ohio within one of our nation's busiest inland waterways. Refuge islands are gradually returning to forested conditions after years of farming, oil and gas extraction, and other activities. The refuge works to protect wildlife and habitats native to the Ohio River and its floodplain. Migratory birds and endangered freshwater mussels are among the important wildlife emphasized on the refuge.

Local Info

The primary hiking trails at the refuge are located near the towns of St. Marys and Williamstown in West Virginia. The trails by St. Marys meander around Middle Island which is the only refuge island with bridge access. The trails by Williamstown start from our Visitor Center and go through a diverse array of habitats.

Visiting Tips

The refuge visitor center center is located at 3982 Waverly Road in Williamstown, WV and is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM. Refuge units are open from an hour before sunrise to an hour after sunset.

Camping & Lodging

Camping is not permitted on the refuge. The Marietta Unit of the Wayne National Forest offers camping and other forms of outdoor recreation. Small and large towns are abundant along the river and offer lodging as well.

Trails in Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge - Wellsburg - 1

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0.4 mi 0.7 km #1Buffalo Creek Nature Trail
Wellsburg, WV
0.4 mi 0.7 km Wellsburg, WV

Photos of Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge - Wellsburg - 2

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Fall at Buffalo Creek.
Nov 9, 2016 near Wellsburg, WV
Great Lobelia in bloom along the trail!
Oct 17, 2016 near Wellsburg, WV

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