Continuous forest, abandoned mine portals, rivers, and streams provide habitat for a diverse and nationally significant variety of amphibians. Nearly 50 species of amphibians have been documented at New River Gorge National River. Species of special concern that are believed to occur within the park include the eastern hellbender and black-bellied salamander. Wood frogs, spring peepers, and red spotted newts are all commonly seen throughout the park.
The southern Appalachian Mountains contain the most diverse salamander populations in the world. With 34 different species, West Virginia is home to more species of salamanders than almost any other state.
Amphibians are important indicators of the health of the environment. With their permeable skin, gelatinous eggs, and gilled larvae, they are prone to absorb pollutants from water and soil into their bodies. A diverse population of amphibians can be a good indicator of a healthy ecosystem.
Did You Know?
The New River Gorge was logged extensively thoughout the past century. The landscape is now recovering, with the park ecosystem returning to its more natural state, but there are still plenty of signs of the past activities.