Publication Details

Primeval Paths: Bison in West Virginia

Thomas-Van Gundy, Melissa A.; Perkins, Jessica D.; Krause, Crystal ; Huebner, Cynthia D.; Ferrari, Lorenzo ; Smith, Linda S.

Year Published



Natural Areas Journal


Approximately 2600 km of bison and elk trails have been mapped in West Virginia using historical records, including county histories and travelers' accounts with published dates between 1876 and 1977. Most points of interest associated with these trails document European bison or elk hunting events. We explore some potential uses of the digital trails data and discuss the limitations of the data and need for further refinements. This map of major bison trails (available for download at is an important resource for telling a more complete story of the history of forests and woodlands of West Virginia.

• Primeval paths: Bison in West Virginia Research Data Publication
• Supplemental Report: Bison in Pioneer West Virginia [PDF]
• Supplemental Table: Locations of terrestrial vascular plants considered rare in the state


historical ecology; historical maps


Thomas-Van Gundy, Melissa A.; Perkins, Jessica D.; Krause, Crystal; Huebner, Cynthia D.; Ferrari, Lorenzo; Smith, Linda S. 2021. Primeval Paths: Bison in West Virginia. Natural Areas Journal. 41(4): 315-322.

Last updated on: October 27, 2021