Ice Mountain Preserve

North River Mills, WV

Ice Mountain gets its name from the refrigeration effect that takes place inside its talus — a sloping mass of boulders at the foot of the mountain. In cooler months, dense, cold air sinks deep into the talus, and ice masses form inside. As the weather warms up, the cooler air flows out of vents among the rocks at the bottom of the slope. The preserve protects a collection of boreal plants usually found much further north. Sustained by the cool air flowing from some 60 small holes and openings at the base of the talus, species such as twinflower, dwarf dogwood, Canada mayflower, and bristly rose all can be found here. The 149-acre preserve also provides habitat for breeding neotropical birds such as warblers, vireos and thrushes, as well as a collection of birds and animals that are typical of the Central Appalachians.

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