Carvins Cove Natural Reserve

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Carvins Cove Natural Reserve
Carvins Cove Natural Reserve is located in Virginia
Carvins Cove Natural Reserve
Location within Virginia
Type Municipal park
Location Botetourt and Roanoke counties, Virginia
Nearest city Roanoke, Virginia
Coordinates 37°23′12″N 79°56′59″W / 37.38659°N 79.949752°W / 37.38659; -79.949752Coordinates: 37°23′12″N 79°56′59″W / 37.38659°N 79.949752°W / 37.38659; -79.949752
Area 12,700 acres (51 km2)
Operated by
Open All year

Carvins Cove Natural Reserve is a 12,700-acre (51 km2) city park in Botetourt and Roanoke counties, Virginia. Managed by the Western Virginia Water Authority and the City of Roanoke, it is the fifth-largest city park in the United States, and the second-largest city park managed by a municipality.[1]

History and ownership[edit]

In the 1930s, Carvins Creek was dammed to create the Carvins Cove Reservoir, which for many decades served as the primary water source for the City of Roanoke. A small rural community (called Carvins Cove) was displaced by the reservoir's creation, and some of its roads and housing foundations still become visible during droughts. A series of droughts in the late 1990s spurred the City of Roanoke and Roanoke County to create the Western Virginia Water Authority,[2] which consolidated their water delivery systems.

The 630-acre (2.5 km2) reservoir and the land below the 1,200-foot (370 m) contour are owned by the Authority; the land above the contour is owned by the City of Roanoke. In April 2008, Roanoke City Council placed 6,185 acres (25.03 km2) of Carvins Cove under a conservation easement donated to the Western Virginia Land Trust and the Virginia Outdoors Foundation. The easement protects much of the Cove from inappropriate development and is the largest ever recorded in the Commonwealth of Virginia.[3]


Recreational activities, such as mountain biking, hiking, and equestrian activities, are allowed around the reservoir. Boating and fishing are allowed on the reservoir itself, but there are strict limits to preserve water quality. The fear of zebra mussels motivated the city to apply the first restrictions in the early 1990s.[4]


  1. ^ "The 100 Largest City Parks" (PDF). The Trust for Public Land. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-06-25. Retrieved 2008-05-13. 
  2. ^ "History and Development". Western Virginia Water Authority. Archived from the original on 2006-05-18. Retrieved 2017-01-21. 
  3. ^ Easement protects land at Carvins Cove -
  4. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica Almanac 2006, pg. 272

External links[edit]