WILLIAMSTOWN, W.Va. -- Two visitor-friendly wetlands are within a few minutes drive, should swamp fever strike while paying a visit to the Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge's Visitor Center.
One of them, the Williamstown Wetlands, comes into view immediately after making the turn off W.Va. 14 onto Waverly Road/East 4th Street, the road leading to the refuge headquarters.
A project of the Williamstown Women's Club, the Williamstown Wetlands was developed over a 10-year period, with help from the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, the Little Kanawha Resource Conservation and Development program and the West Virginia Citizens Conservation Corps. It officially opened last September.
A looping, half-mile-long combination of trails and boardwalks take visitors to viewing areas around the wetland complex. Interpretive signs provide information on the flora and faunas living in what was once a marshy eyesore.
Parking and a trailhead information kiosk are available in a lot behind DaVinci's restaurant, which donated most of the land for the wetland.
A larger public wetland area encircled by trails and viewing platforms can be found by crossing the Williamstown Bridge into Marietta, Ohio, turning right on Ohio Route 7, and then turning left on Acme Street near the entrance to the Marietta Kroger parking lot.
The aptly named Kroger Wetland, owned by the city of Marietta, has been open to the public during daylight hours since 2003. A one-mile-long trail equipped with interpretive signs passes through a hardwood forest and circles a 14.5-acre wetland area.
Parking and a trailhead information stand can be found just off Acme Street at the rear of the Kroger store.
Reach Rick Steelhammer at rsteelham...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5169.