The United States Department of the Interior has announced $7 million in construction funding for a new Administrative/Visitor Center for Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge. The current facility was a former restaurant built in 1975, later turned into offices, and is no longer adequate to meet the needs of either visitors or employees. The building has significantly deteriorated over the years with foundational damage, inadequate wiring, plumbing, and energy inefficient and outdated heating and cooling systems.
The funding will support design, site development and construction of the new, multi-purpose building and associated utility, transportation and visitor services infrastructure. In addition, the funding will also support parking lot improvements, educational kiosks and signs.
According to Refuge Manager Ron Hollis, the new building will “provide state-of-the-art interactive and educational experience for visitors, a safe and efficient work space for Service employees, community meeting space, and a bookstore for the Friends group. The building will house refuge employees as well as staff from the West Virginia Ecological Field Office, both administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.”
Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge attracts more than 53,000 visitors to West Virginia’s Tucker County annually. It offers hunting and fishing as well as a broad range of recreation, such as 31 miles of hiking trails, naturalist-guided bird walks and environmental education for people from preschoolers to those in college.