Wetlands, Marshes and Swamps

Wetlands in Shenandoah's Big Meadows
Wetlands in Shenandoah's Big Meadows

Little is known about the number or extent of wetlands in Shenandoah National Park. The park currently identifies wetlands using the National Wetland Inventory maps, but several studies are underway to help better refine these maps. Areas along stream banks are considered wetlands, thus greatly increasing the number of wetland areas in the park. The park has several known wetland areas beyond stream banks, with Big Meadows being the most visible and studied wetland. At Big Meadows, two Mafic Fens (types of wetlands) contain globally rare plant communities believed to be endemic to the Park and support eight state rare plant species. The Meadow also supports an abundance of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and insects, some of which are not found elsewhere in the Park. A rare snake, a rare insect, and several salamander and bird species are among the animals that occupy the Big Meadows wetland areas. Although we currently know little about all of the wetlands in the park, we can expect that at least a portion of them contain flora and fauna unique to wetland habitats.

Related Information

A useful reference that deals with wetlands is:

Mitsch, W.J. and J.G.Gosselink. 1996. Wetlands. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Somerset, New Jersey.

Websites that provide helpful information about wetlands are:

The Environmental Protection Agency Wetland Resources Website

Mid-Atlantic Integrated Assessment - Wetlands - Environmental Protection Agency

Listing of these websites does not and is not intended to imply endorsement by the National Park Service of commercial services or products associated with the sites.

Last updated: February 26, 2015

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Shenandoah National Park
3655 U.S. Highway 211 East

Luray, VA 22835


(540) 999-3500

Contact Us