GRANDVIEW, WV (WVNS) — If you taken some of the recent warm weather as a a chance to venture into the wild and wonderful woods of West Virginia, you may have noticed something new to a local trail!

According to the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve’s Facebook, 2.5-meter-high deer exclusion fences were erected near the Big Buck Trail at the Grandview site of the park. The fences were put up as part of a long-term study on oak trees by the National Park Service.

Two different areas within the National Park and Preserve are being utilized for this study; Grandview and Backus Mountain. According to the NPS, Grandview showed more abundance of underbrush protected from deer browse than the unfenced areas.

Due to this result, deer exclusion fences are continuing to show “promising results” for increasing the cover and diversity of plants in these areas. The deer fences will aid plant species that are usually enjoyed by deer like cucumber root, bellwort, and fairybells.

The study also showed the fences had protected seedlings that dropped from trees to where they grew to over a meter tall.

The fences also protected many tree seedlings that were able to grow to over a meter tall, with Grandview having a 6x and Backus Mountain 2.6X increase in these large seedlings. These will eventually become the main overstory trees in the future if they can grow tall enough to be out of the reach for deer to browse.

New River Gorge National Park and Preserve Facebook

It was also noticed that the fenced in areas that did not receive controlled burns did not have a noticeable increase in oak tree growth, but rather saw larger seedling growth in maple trees.

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