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PETERSBURG — With temperatures in the mid-40s and wind gusts strong enough to force visitors to take occasional stutter steps to maintain their balance, there was no doubt last Sunday that fall had arrived at the Dolly Sods Wilderness.

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Two sites in Canaan Valley have been designated West Virginia Natural Areas as part of a new Division of Natural Resources initiative designed to provide added protection for, and increased public awareness of, rare plant and animal species found on state-managed lands.

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A freshwater mussel species last seen in the wild in the Kanawha River below Kanawha Falls is among 23 animals and one plant the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed on Wednesday to be removed from the federal endangered species list and officially declared extinct.