This is one of Virginia's largest natural area preserves, encompassing nearly 3,500 acres, and is mostly comprised of wetland communities, five of which are rare in Virginia. Especially notable is the presence of pocosins, a community type that is fast disappearing from the southeast U.S. Pocosins are characterized by tangled masses of dense evergreen shrubs and vines with a scattered pond pine overstory. This unique wetland community and the forested swamps and freshwater tidal marshes of the lower North Landing River support at least 11 rare species of plants and animals. The area also provides important habitat for breeding and wintering waterfowl.
This Preserve, closed for the last decade due to illegal activities and DCR's lack of funding to support site management staff, is scheduled for re-opening during 2015.
Access facilities include parking, a boardwalk portage trail to a canoe/kayak launch on Alton's Creek, a water trail interpretive guide and map, a wildlife viewing platform, and interpretive signage. The North Landing River, a designated state scenic river, provides fine paddling opportunities, close encounters with nature, and a sense of wildness only a short distance from the busy, fast-developing communities of Virginia Beach and Chesapeake.