The Cedars Natural Area Preserve
|The Cedars Natural Area Preserve|
Cedars with some prairie plants in the foreground at The Cedars Natural Area Preserve
|Location||Lee County, Virginia|
|Area||1,797 acres (7.27 km2)|
|Governing body||Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation|
The Cedars Natural Area Preserve began as a 50-acre (0.20 km2) procurement by The Nature Conservancy in 1996. The following year, the land was transferred to the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation to be managed as a Natural Area Preserve. Additional lands were added to the preserve in the ensuing years. In 2015, a state grant provided $317,711 to expand the preserve through purchase of an additional 150 acres (0.61 km2), including 6,170 feet (1,880 m) of frontage along the Powell River.
The Cedars Natural Area Preserve is located in Lee County near the Powell River, within a 30-to-40-square-mile (78 to 104 km2) region of karst landscape that is known as "The Cedars". The limestone bedrock in such karst regions is easily eroded, leading to thin soils, sinkholes, caves, and losing streams. The 1,797-acre (7.27 km2) preserve's glades and woodlands comprise a rocky and rugged landscape that serves as a haven for numerous rare plants adapted to the habitat. The preserve also protects habitat for the loggerhead shrike, a rare bird within Virginia.
Regionally rare plants found within the preserve include:
- Wild hyacinth (Camassia scilloides)
- Crawe’s sedge (Carex crawei)
- Mullien Foxglove (Dasistoma macrophylla)
- Ringed panic grass (Dichanthelium annulum)
- Flattened spikerush (Eleocharis compressa var. compressa)
- Northern rattlesnake-master (Eryngium yuccifolium var. yuccifolium)
- Pink thoroughwort (Fleischmannia incarnata)
- Canada bluets (Houstonia canadensis)
- Rattlesnake-master (Manfreda virginica)
- Pitcher’s stitchwort (Minuartia patula)
- Yarrow-leaved ragwort (Packera millefolium)
- White blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium albidum)
- Tall dropseed (Sporobolus compositus var. compositus)
- Ozark dropseed (Sporobolus ozarkanus)
- Running glade clover (Trifolium calcaricum)
The preserve is owned and maintained by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. It does not include improvements for public access, and visitors must make arrangements with a state-employed land steward prior to visiting.
- Copenheaver, Carolyn A.; Kyle, Kevin H.; Stevens, Glen N.; Kamp, Matthew H. (October 2005). "Comparing Juniperus virginiana tree-ring chronologies from forest edge vs. forest interior positions in the Cedars Natural Area Preserve in Virginia, USA" (PDF). Dendrochronologia. 23 (1): 39–45. doi:10.1016/j.dendro.2005.07.002.
- Winegar, Deane; Winegar, Garvey (2002). Highroad Guide to the Virginia Mountains. John F. Blair, Publisher. p. 82. ISBN 9780895872777.
- "State grant to secure addition for The Cedars in Lee". Kingsport Times-News. September 23, 2016. Retrieved December 14, 2016.
- "The Cedars Natural Area Preserve". Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. Retrieved December 14, 2016.
- Dingwell, Suzanne (October 3, 2015). "Adding Land to Cedars Natural Area Preserve". Virginia Native Plant Society. Retrieved December 14, 2016.
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