Heath Barren Beauty

Stunning fall colors in a wasteland

To look at this photo, you would never suspect that this is the top of a mountain. But it is.

This beautiful landscape is at Bear Rocks Preserve in the Dolly Sods Wilderness in West Virginia. Dolly Sods is managed by the U.S. Forest Service, and they describe this preserve as “a diverse and complex ecosystem of windswept heath barrens.” Heath barrens are vast areas of uncultivated land, and are consider by some as wasteland because they cannot be used for agricultural purposes.

High above the Canaan Valley, this amazing preserve is a mix of giant rocks, stunted red spruce, mountain laurel, bogs, and blueberry bushes with their brilliant crimson leaves. Such landscape is usually found much further north in Canada.

Bear Rocks is a much-photographed area because of it stunning vistas. “Heath Barren Beauty” is my Photo of the Week.

© Bruce Stambaugh 2021

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