Cranesville Swamp Preserve is a 1,600-acre (650 ha) preserve situated in Preston County, West Virginia and Garrett County, Maryland.[4] It is one of the few remaining boreal bogs in the southern United States, [5] unusual in harboring many plants and animals that are normally only seen in more northern climates.[4]

Cranesville Swamp Preserve
IUCN category V (protected landscape/seascape)[1]
Cranesville Swamp - Bog.jpg
Bog at Cranesville Swamp
Map showing the location of Cranesville Swamp Preserve
Map showing the location of Cranesville Swamp Preserve
Location of Cranesville Swamp Preserve in West Virginia
LocationUnited States
Coordinates39°31′53″N 79°28′55″W / 39.53139°N 79.48194°W / 39.53139; -79.48194Coordinates: 39°31′53″N 79°28′55″W / 39.53139°N 79.48194°W / 39.53139; -79.48194
Area1,600 acres (6.5 km2)[2]
Elevation2,547 ft (776 m)[3]
WebsiteCranesville Swamp Preserve


The Nature Conservancy purchased the 1,600 acres (650 ha) beginning in 1960.[2] In October 1964, the site was designated as one of the first National Natural Landmarks in the country.[2][6]


Cranesville Swamp is situated in a natural bowl, or "frost pocket," creating a climate that is more consistent with more northerly regions.[6][4]



Cranesville Swamp's unusual setting allows 19 different plant communities to flourish, [7] with the most dominant species being, among others, sphagnum moss, speckled alder (Alnus rugosa), various sedges (Carex folliculata, and C. stricta) and grasses. Bog species include round-leaved sundew (Drosera rotundifolia) and narrowleaf gentian (Gentiana linearis).[2]

The swamp is also home to the southernmost natural community of larches.[2]


In addition to black bear, porcupine, snowshoe hare and a wide variety of birds, the rare northern water shrew has been documented here. Birders have also noted the golden-crowned kinglet and Nashville warbler, rarely seen in this area.[2]


  1. ^ "Cranesville Swamp Preserve". Protected Planet. IUCN. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Cranesville Swamp Preserve". The Nature Conservancy. Archived from the original on 2009-03-09. Retrieved 2009-02-26.
  3. ^ "Cranesville Swamp". Elevation Query. U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved 2009-03-08.
  4. ^ a b c "Cranesville Swamp". West Virginia University Extension Service. Retrieved 2009-02-26.
  5. ^ Fuller, KB; Frank, PS Jr. (Autumn 1974). "The Cranesville Pine Swamp". Atlantic Naturalist. 3. 29: 101–105. Archived from the original on 2012-02-23. Retrieved 2009-03-04.
  6. ^ a b "Cranesville Swamp Nature Sanctuary". National Park Service. Retrieved 2009-03-02.
  7. ^ Colbert, Judy (2004). Maryland and Delaware: Off the Beaten Path : a Guide to Unique Places (8, Illustrated ed.). Globe Pequot. p. 10. ISBN 0-7627-4418-9. Retrieved 2009-03-05.