For the last three years, officials at the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge in Tucker County alongside Senator Joe Manchin and Senator Shelley Moore Capito have been working to secure funding for the installation of a new visitors center.
“We hope to build a state of the art interactive and educational experience for people, not only here at the visitors center but also in Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge because we want our outreach to be in the valley, in Tucker County, and for West Virginia,” said Canaan Valley Wildlife Refuge Project Manager Ron Hollis.
Canaan Valley Wildlife Refuge is a centerpiece of its community, attracting more than 53,000 visitors to Tucker County annually. The current building was erected in 1975 and no longer meets the needs of the visitors and employees.
“This whole network is set aside to protect and enhance the habitat of these creatures that we protect so that we can protect it for the benefit of the American people for this generation and the next generation,” continued Hollis.
The construction funding announced by the Department of the Interior in the Fiscal Year 2018 operations plan will permit the installation of the design, site development, and construction for the new, multi-purpose building.
Officials anticipate the construction will enhance the tourism economy of Tucker County and bolster the environmental education and recreation opportunities in the area.
The project is still in the very early stages, but officials say the building will house refuge employees as well as staff from the West Virginia Ecological Field Office; stay with 12 News for further updates as the story develops.