Friday, July 11, 2014

Traveling West Virginia: Middle Island Nature Preserve

Middle Island Creek is the longest creek in West Virginia, and Middle Island itself is located where the creek empties into the Ohio River. The state of West Virginia maintains the Ohio River islands as natural environments. Formerly, Middle island was farmland. A few years back I had the privilege to meet Walter Carpenter whose family once owned twelve islands, I believe he said, in the Ohio River. This was one of those islands. Walter remembered farming on the islands as a young man.

Today Middle Island is mostly young forest and undergrowth, serene and quiet except for the occasional call of birds, the hum of a passing tug on the river, and the murmur of traffic in the small town of St. Mary's, WV. You can drive right on to the island via an old steel bridge, that has the unusual feature of a 90-degree turn at one end. Pretty surprising!

The road is flat, straight, and invitingly green.

Plaques along the road tell the islands story and describe the flora and fauna of the region.

A monument on the island memorializes the La Rue family who were the first European settlers in the area. Jacob and Isaac LaRue are buried on Middle Island.

I got out of the car to wander a little ways along a path that passes through an impossibly green tunnel of trees.

Sweet gum leaves hang low, blocking the sun along the path.

A robin finds a high perch to sing his song.

You can drive a good ways along the island; in place the trees open to afford a view of the beautiful Ohio.
We passed walkers, joggers and bikers along the road.

Downriver, a barge makes its way under the St. Mary's bridge.
 And another is following not far behind. I don't know why but it makes me happy when I see barges on the river.

That 90-degree turn I mentioned, pictured as we were leaving the island.

To get to Middle Island, take I-77 to the Emerson Avenue exit (between Parkersburg, WV and Marietta, OH). Go North on State Route 2 to St. Mary's. Turn left on George Street. the bridge to the island is about 4 blocks straight ahead on George Street.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.


Anonymous said...

How do we get there??

Granny Sue said...

I updated the post to include directions. Thanks for reminding me to do that.

Nance said...

shoot, I wish I had been along for the ride! Next time I'm in WV, I'm looking for this area.

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