Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail
- Site Contact: (276) 762-5297
- Site Access: Free, Daily
Site MSP06: A.R. Matthews Memorial Park
Elevation: 1461 ft. At present, the area includes access to the eastern bank of the State Scenic Clinch River, which is lined with numerous large hardwood trees. Pileated woodpecker, flycatchers, vireos and thrushes can be found along this river embankment. There are several species of endangered mussels in the Clinch River. Feel free to observe them from above, but please do not disturb them. The slightly overgrown dirt road that runs alongside the river has numerous small puddles ideal for frogs such as green and pickerel frogs. Open, grassier areas, where sunlight is able to penetrate through openings in the forest canopy, are frequented by numerous damselflies such as calico pennant and slaty skimmer. When wildflowers within these areas are in bloom, look for butterflies such as zebra swallowtail and red-spotted purple.
From Wetlands Estonoa, return to Fourth Street. Turn left on Fourth Street and continue 0.3 miles, crossing under the railroad tracks to T-1225. Turn left on T-1225 and proceed 0.2 miles to the park entrance. To return to the interstate, follow US 58-A west for approximately 18 miles to Norton. From here, follow US 23 back to I-81 or begin the Big Stone Gap or Appalachian Wonders Loops.