Friends of Blackwater works to conserve critical habitat for rare species, and to fight for policies like the Endangered Species Act which will keep West Virginia and the Highlands "wild and wonderful" for future generations.

black bear in ferns

Latest News

Stop Extinction Challenge

Stop Extinction Challenge

On August 3rd, citizens around the country are going to be participating in the Stop Extinction Challenge – reaching out to their congresspeople and urging them to protect the Endangered Species Act. If you have the time, go to your local congressional office in person, and tell them to maintain strong protections for endangered species […]

a wood turtle walking across leaves

Species Spotlight: Wood Turtles

By, Steven Krichbaum (Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology) The Wood Turtle (Glyptemys insculpta) occurs from northern West Virginia and Virginia through the northeastern US into southern Canada. They are “very rare and imperiled” and a “species of greatest conservation need” in WV’s wildlife conservation strategy. Adult Wood Turtles have a brownish knobby carapace (upper […]

a sign reading "no hunting in Chief Logan" at the entrance to Chief Logan State Park

State Park Hunting Controversy Continues

This year, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources is expanding the hunting opportunities within state parks. Hunts will take place in 10 parks around the state – Beech Fork, Cacapon, Canaan Valley, Chief Logan, Lost River, North Bend, Pipestem, Stonewall Jackson, Twin Falls, and Watoga. For most parks hunting would take place over a […]

SS850032Mon Forest closeup of Ginny held

Endangered Species Update June 2018

Friends of Blackwater supporters have been sending hundreds of letters and making dozens of calls to Congress to support the Endangered Species Act. And our voices are making a difference!  Massive public support from across America for the ESA really paid off during negotiations for the Omnibus Spending Bill for 2018. Several “poison pill” amendments […]

a flying squirrel being held in a glove

“Ginny” Likes Old Growth Forests

“Ginny,” the West Virginia Northern Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus fuscus) is a descendant of squirrels that were left behind in Appalachia at the end of the last Age, more than 10,000 years ago. Ginny’s ancestors were specialists in living in a cold climate and as the Mid-Atlantic Highlands warmed, the big-eyed nocturnal mammals found a […]



Hellbenders are the largest aquatic salamander in the United States, regularly reaching up to a foot in length. Hellbenders “breathe” through their skin, which makes them sensitive to water quality issues and the species has declined due to water quality degradation and habitat loss. Hellbenders rarely leave the water, and are active mostly at night, […]