Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge

The Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1990 to protect, conserve, and restore habitat for wildlife native to the river’s floodplain. The refuge consists of twenty-two islands and four mainland tracts scattered along 362 miles of the upper Ohio River. Most of the refuge’s 3440 acres of land and underwater habitat are located in West Virginia; however, Pennsylvania and Kentucky each have two refuge islands.

The refuge is important in conserving the “wild” Ohio within one of our nation’s busiest inland waterways. Refuge islands are gradually returning to forested conditions after years of farming, oil and gas extraction, and other activities. The refuge works to protect wildlife and habitats native to the Ohio River and its floodplain. Migratory birds and endangered freshwater mussels are among the important wildlife emphasized on the refuge.

At the Visitor Center, visitors can explore exhibits describing mussels, other local wildlife, and historic uses of the Ohio River and its islands. A 1200 gallon aquarium features fish native to the river. There are also two turtle tanks and a unique aquarium featuring freshwater mussels. Interpretive programs are offered throughout the year.  The trails surrounding the visitor center are an excellent place for birding or for enjoying the area’s natural splendor.

Contact Information

Michael Schramm
Reservations and Information:
304-375-2923

Address:
3982 Cort 1, Williamstown, West Virginia 26187, United States

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Location

Other Information

  • Hours Open

    Visitor Center is open Monday-Saturday, 8am-4:30pm. Closed on Federal holidays. Trails and refuge lands are open from an hour before sunrise to an hour after sunset every day.
  • Seasons Open

    Open year-round.
  • Prices and Fees

    There are no fees.
  • Pet Friendly Notes

    Dogs are allowed on trails if they are on a leash.