Protected by the Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Preserve, the valley of the Ohio River beckons explorers of the nation's great rivers. Sleepy river towns and booming cities like Parkersburg
commingle along valley bends and among the hollows beyond. It includes Calhoun, Jackson, Pleasants, Ritchie, Roane, Tyler, Wirt, and Wood Counties in West Virginia. Its most notable early boom was in oil in the mid-1800s and its economic center then was Parkersburg.