The Cacapon River, located in the Appalachian mountains of West Virginia's eastern panhandle region, is a beautiful and scenic river known for its outstanding fishing, boating, wildlife, and scenery.  As part of the Potomac River watershed, it is an American Heritage River.

In recent years, however, the Cacapon River and its watershed have become threatened by development, and industrial and agricultural growth.  Concern about these issues led to the establishment of the Cacapon Institute in 1985 (originally known as the Pine Cabin Run Ecological Laboratory). 

Cacapon River's Caudy's Castle formation (click to enlarge)
Fun on the Cacapon River (click to enlarge)
The Lost River at Squirrel Gap trail (click to enlarge)

What is a watershed?  

A watershed is the area of land that water flows across or under on its way to a single river.  In the Cacapon River watershed (see map below), water flows down from various mountain ridges into the Cacapon River basin.  On its way to the river, water travels over the surface and across farm fields, forest land, residential lawns, and city streets, or it seeps into the soil and travels as ground water.  Large watersheds are made up of many small watersheds.  

The Cacapon River Watershed is made up of three major river segments and many smaller watersheds.  The headwaters region of the Cacapon River, known as the Lost River, receives water from a watershed covering 178 square miles.  The largest tributary of the Cacapon is the North River, which drains 206 sq. mi. -- an area comparable to that of the Lost River.  Overall, the Cacapon River watershed includes the Lost and North River watersheds, and those of many smaller streams for a total of 680 square miles.  The Cacapon Watershed is itself part of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.  

Cacapon Watershed (click to enlarge)

The Watershed Community  

People influence what happens in their watershed, good or bad, by natural resources--the water, soil, air, plants, and animals.  What happens in their small watershed also affects the larger watershed downstream.  For example, any source of water pollution in the watershed, even if it's far away from the river, can eventually make its way into the river.














Cacapon Institute - From the Cacapon to the Potomac to the Chesapeake Bay, we protect rivers and watersheds using science and education.

Cacapon Institute
PO Box 68
High View, WV 26808
304-856-1385 (tele)
304-856-1386 (fax)
Click here to send us an email
Frank Rodgers,  Executive Director

Website  made possible by funding from The Norcross Wildlife Foundation,  the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Virginia Environmental Endowment, NOAA-BWET, USEPA, The MARPAT Foundation, and our generous members.