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Otter Creek Wilderness
Part of Monongahela National Forest
Wilderness Area
Otter Creek Trail (shown near Condon Run trailhead) runs the length of the Wilderness.
Country  United States
State  West Virginia
Counties Randolph, Tucker
Coordinates 39°01′58″N 79°39′13″W / 39.03278°N 79.65361°W / 39.03278; -79.65361
Highest point McGowan Mountain [1]
 - location northeast of Bowden
 - elevation 3,912 ft (1,192.4 m) [2]
 - coordinates 38°59′00″N 79°41′39″W / 38.9833333°N 79.69417°W / 38.9833333; -79.69417
Lowest point Dry Fork riverbank
 - location southeast of Hendricks
 - elevation 1,751 ft (533.7 m) [3][4]
 - coordinates 39°04′03″N 79°36′51″W / 39.0675°N 79.61417°W / 39.0675; -79.61417
Area 20,698 acres (8,376.2 ha) [5][6]
Established 1975 [1]
Management Monongahela National Forest
Owner USDA Forest Service
IUCN category Ib - Wilderness Area
Nearest city Elkins, West Virginia
Location of Otter Creek Wilderness in West Virginia
Website: Otter Creek Wilderness

The Otter Creek Wilderness is a U.S. Wilderness area located in the Cheat-Potomac Ranger District of Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia.[5] The Wilderness sets in a bowl-shaped valley formed by Otter Creek, between McGowan Mountain and Shavers Mountain in Tucker County and Randolph County, West Virginia.[1] It is crossed by 42 miles (68 km) of hiking trails. Otter Creek Trail is the longest, at 11 miles (18 km).[7]

Contents

History

By 1914, all of the virgin forest in the Otter Creek watershed had been timbered, mostly by the Otter Creek Boom and Lumber Company, but also by the owners of several small farms and homesteads.[5] In 1917 key land purchases were made by the U.S. Forest Service as part of the formation of the national forest system. The Otter Creek area was managed as a multiple use forest, including some second growth logging, until the passage of the Eastern Wilderness Act in 1975.[8] The last private in-holding was acquired the same year.

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2009 addition

The Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009 added 698 acres (282 ha) to the original 20,000 acres (8,100 ha) of the Otter Creek Wilderness.[6] This addition is situated on the northern and eastern flanks of McGowan Mountain leading down to Dry Fork. It provides much of the scenic view for this popular river which contains excellent whitewater paddling and trout fishing.

References

Further reading


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