Bear Rocks Preserve

Kent Mason, Photographer / Conservationist

Bear Rocks Preserve, at 4,000 feet elevation, is a windswept expanse of subalpine heath barrens, where stunted red spruce, cranberry bogs and massive boulders define the landscape along with it's cold, wet boreal climate. Accounts from the eighteen hundreds described this land around Bear Rocks as open treeless expanse similar to what it is today. It belongs to The Nature Conservancy (TNC) which is the largest conservation organization in the world. Bear Rocks Preserve is home to more than a dozen rare plants and animals. This 477 acre preserve is north of and adjacent to Dolly Sods Wilderness and its eastern border follows the Eastern Continental Divide. The rim is a ridge of sandstone cliffs and rock outcroppings from which one has an exceptional 180 degree view eastward of nine ridges to the Shenandoah National Park. The land drops 2,000 to 3,000 feet below the rim. It is the most visited area in the region and my favorite photographic location because of it breathtaking beauty. I serve as a Bear Rocks Preserve monitor as well as the WV photographer for TNC. This gallery is a photographic tour of Bear Rocks Preserve.