Welcome Sweet Spring! Twelfth Annual New River Gorge Wildflower Weekend April 24 – 26, 2015

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Date: April 17, 2015
Contact: Jodi French-Burr, 304-574-2115


Jodi French-Burr

Glen Jean, West Virginia, April 17, 2015.Spring in West Virginia highlights one of the earth's greatest natural treasures, the biologically diverse southern Appalachian forest. Next weekend's 12thannual New River Gorge Wildflower Weekend is a celebration of this amazing natural heritage,April 24 –27, 2015. This event highlights the glories of the season and our shared stewardship of these natural treasures at New River Gorge National River, Tamarack, and the state parks of Babcock, Hawks Nest, Little Beaver, Pipestem Resort, and Twin Falls Resort.

So what is so special about this area, the cause for such celebration? The New River Gorge area has the most diverse flora of any river gorge in central Appalachia. New River Gorge National River and area West Virginia State Parks help preserve this unbroken and globally significant section of the Appalachian forest ecosystem. Besides providing essential habitat for endangered mammals, rare birds and amphibians, a dedicated botanist can find over 1400 species of plants in these park sites.

The reason for this diversity of plants stems from the varied topography of the gorge, the northern flow of the New River that provides a pathway for southern plants to migrate and grow along the warmer sheltered riverbanks, and the higher elevations of the gorge that provide habitat for northern species.

In the New River Gorge spring begins with the first solitary bloom of a skunk cabbage, bloodroot, or trout lily by the riverside in early March. April offers a forest carpeted with wake robin and great trillium, dutchman's breeches, and Virginia bluebell, and the understory alive with redbud and dogwood. The finale has showy displays of Catawba rhododendron, flame azalea, Fraser magnolia, and tulip poplar into the last days of May. With over 72,000 acres of protected habitat, New River Gorge is a haven for a great diversity of both plants and animals. These public parks are places any of us can explore to discover such wonders, especially during events like New River Gorge Wildflower Weekend. 

All programs are FREE! Bring water and wear sturdy walking shoes for guided walks. Snacks, binoculars, a hand lens, and a favorite field guide are also useful.Advanced reservations are requested for the Garlic Mustard Pull at Glade Creek and the Hike Into Spring! at Grandview. For further information or to make reservations 304-466-0417.

Here is the program schedule for this year's event:

Friday, April 24, 2015

Handywork for Earth Day: Garlic Mustard Pull

8:30 am to 12:00 pm,Glade Creek trailhead on Glade Creek Access Road in New River Gorge National River near Prince, WV

Celebrate Earth Day and lend a helping hand to the natural forest. Team up with park staff to help remove a troublesome invasive plant species, garlic mustard. Wear long sleeves, long pants, sturdy walking shoes, work gloves, and bring water. Space is limited.Reservations requested by April 22;call 304-465-6534.

Afternoon with the Artists

10:00 am to 6:00 pm daily,artist studios and on site at Tamarack.Come and go as you please to see how nature inspires artists. Tamarack artists demonstrate their skills.

Wildflower ID 101: Basic Field Guide Skills

5:00 pm to 7:00 pm,Rend trailhead on WV Route 25 near Thurmond, WV. Bring your favorite wildflower field guide for a close-up look at spring blossoms on this 2.0 mile walk along an old railroad line through a forest. Some field guides will be available to borrow.

Youth Arts in the Parks Performance Celebration

6:00 pm to 7:30 pm,auditorium at Tamarack in Beckley, WV. See how nature has inspired performance arts in this celebration of ecology through art. Featured southern West Virginia youth artists include the Beckley Dance Theatre, Coda Mountain Academy of Music, and Theatre West Virginia's Professional Training Academy Acting 1 Class. 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Early Birding at Grandview

7:30 am to 8:30 am,Grandview –Shelter #4 at New River Gorge National River in Grandview, WV.Bring your binoculars and get an early start with the local neighbors –birds.

Hike Into Spring!

9:00 am to 1:30 pm,Grandview –Shelter #4, New River Gorge National River in Grandview, WV. Join naturalists on a leisurely 2.5-mile hike from Grandview down to the New River, finding wildflowers and other natural wonders along the way. Be prepared for some steep terrain as we travel down an old dirt road. A free return shuttle will be provided.Reservations requested by April 22;call 304-466-0417.

Afternoon with the Artists

10:00 am to 6:00 pmdaily,artist studios and on site at Tamarack.Come and go as you please to see how nature inspires artists. Tamarack artists demonstrate their skills.

5-Minute Photography. April 25 from4:00 pm to 6:00pm.Learn the basics of photography as you try your hand at this art form at a mini-workshop. Cameras will be available.

Earth Day Interpretive Hike

3:00 pm to 5:00 pm,lobby of Twin Falls Lodge at Twin Falls Resort State Park in Mullens, WV. Enjoy a 2.5 mile guided hike along the beautiful Falls Trail. See both waterfalls on this moderate hike. Meet at the lodge to car caravan to the trailhead.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Spring Birding at Babcock

8:00 am to 9:30 am,Glade Creek Grist Mill, Babcock State Park in Clifftop, WV.Stroll the diverse habitats of Babcock in search of the region's more secretive beauties—birds.

Babcock Botany

10:00 am to 12:00 pm,Glade Creek Grist Mill, Babcock State Park in Clifftop, WV. Take a close-up look at the rich plant life of Babcock's forests and mountain streams. Be prepared for moderate terrain on this 2.0 mile leisurely walk.

Afternoon with the Artists

10:00 am to 6:00 pmdaily,artist studios and on site at Tamarack.Come and go as you please to see how nature inspires artists. Tamarack artists demonstrate their skills.

Falls &Flowers: the Nature of Brush Creek

1:00 pm to 4:30 pm,nature center at Pipestem Resort State Park in Pipestem, WV.Enjoy beautiful waterfalls and blooms along Brush Creek on this moderate 3.0 mile round trip walk. Meet at Pipestem's Nature Center to car caravan to the trailhead.

Redbuds and More Nature Walk

2:00 pm to4:00 pm,Hawks Nest Rail Trail trailhead in Ansted, WV.Walk this creek-side trail to discover trees, flowers, and more growing near the river's edge on this 1.5 mile stroll.

April 1 through 30, 2015

Youth Arts in the Parks Wildflower Exhibit

8:00 am to8:00 pmdaily,art exhibit in the the center courtyard vestibules and the David L. Dickirson Fine Arts Gallery, Tamarack in Beckley, WV.Students from Fayette, Nicholas, Raleigh, and Summers counties celebrate regional ecology through art in this special exhibit, works inspired by the nature of our public parks—especially wildflowers.

For more information about participating sites visit:

National Park Service:https://www.nps.gov/neri, https://www.facebook.com/newrivergorgenps, https://Twitter.com/NewRiverNPS, or stop by any New River Gorge National River visitor center.

West Virginia State Park sites: www.wvstateparks.com or stop by any state park.

Tamarack: www.tamarackwv.com or stop by Tamarack in Beckley, WV.

West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection: www.dep.wv.gov.


Last updated: April 17, 2015

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P.O. Box 246, 104 Main Street
Glen Jean, WV 25846


(304) 465-0508

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