Stauffer’s Marsh is a 45.7 acre nature preserve just south of Shanghai, WV along Back Creek Valley Road. The site is especially popular for birdwatching, as approximately 150 species have been spotted there to date.
The hiking opportunity consists of approximately 1.3 miles of short, linked trail that begin at the roadside parking area. The Marsh Trail and Marsh Overlook Trail offer an opportunity to view the large pond. From there, the Connector Trail leads to the Back Creek Trail, which runs from the creek back to the parking area. Finally, the West Pond Trail is an out-and-back trip that leads to further views of the marsh from a roadside vantage point.
Fishing, for the most part, is not allowed in the marsh, although locals with prior permission are still able to wet a line. Nevertheless, there is enough diversity in avian and aquatic wildlife to make for an interesting hike.
The Potomac Valley Audubon Society has four local preserves (also including Yankauer, Cool Spring, and Eidolon), so there are ample opportunities to check out the eastern panhandle’s flora and fauna. The brochures and interpretive signs at each site add greatly to the learning experience and make for a really nice family experience. I would highly recommend a trip to any of these PVAS operated tracts.