Crawford’s Knob Natural Area Preserve
In 2008, recognizing the importance of preserving this ecologically significant area, the Wintergreen community donated a conservation easement for Crawford’s Knob to The Nature Foundation at Wintergreen that manages the property.
The 1,346 acre area of Crawford’s Knob has been dedicated to the Commonwealth of Virginia’s natural area preserve system. The conservation easement expanded the protection of this land, now closed to the public, is near the hiking trails of Wintergreen, the Appalachian Trail, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and George Washington National Forest.
Crawford’s Knob encompasses mature hardwood forest overlooking Nelson County’s Rockfish Valley. Seemingly subtle qualities of greenstone-influenced soil have led to the establishment of a rare wetland community known as a “mountain-piedmont basic seepage swamp.”
Spring water seeping up through cobbles along the headwaters of Paul’s Creek supports a lush flora characterized by red maple, white ash and yellow birch in the overstory, spicebush in the mid-story, and a herbaceous community comprised of various orchids, lilies, ferns, grasses and sedges. Upslope from the swamp is an expanse of mature hardwoods, interspersed with steep, thinly vegetated outcrops. The tract lies along a narrow section of the Blue Ridge, which is a critical bird migration corridor.