New River Gorge National River Proposing Hiking, Biking Trail Improvements

New River Gorge National River officials are seeking comments on a proposal to increase hiking and mountain biking trails in the park. NPS photo.

Fans of New River Gorge National River who enjoy the park for hiking and biking, as well as for white-water boating or fishing, are being asked to review a plan to improve hiking and mountain biking opportunities in the park.

New River Gorge officials back in the fall of 2009 began work on an environmental assessment to expand their existing trail system to the Craig Branch and Garden Ground areas of the park. Under the plan, “stacked loop” single-track trail systems would be developed in each area. Such systems blend beginner, intermediate, and expert loops systems together, according to the officials.

The park's preferred alternative in the EA that's now ready for review calls for about 11 miles of single-track mountain bike and hiker trail at Craig Branch, and another 33 miles at Garden Ground.

“The public has expressed a great deal of interest in developing additional trail opportunities for both hiking and bicycling within the park," said New River Superintendent Don Striker. "We invite and appreciate the public’s continued participation in this planning process by providing written comments and by attending the open house at Canyon Rim Visitor Center.”

The open house is scheduled for February 10 between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the Canyon Rim Visitor Center, located off U.S. Route 19, just north of the New River Gorge Bridge.

You can review the document at this page. Or, if you live near the New River, you can view a hard copy of the plan at the Canyon Rim Visitor Center, Sandstone Visitor Center, and at the park headquarters in Glen Jean, west Virginia.

Limited hard copies are available upon request. Send written requests to the address below or call 304-465-6527.

Comments are being taken through March 4, 2011. You can either comment at the web page cited above, or send written comments to:

Don Striker, Superintendent
New River Gorge National River
P.O. Box 246
Glen Jean, WV 25846
e-mail:

Comments

I think it is a wonderful idea to increase the number of trails in New River Gorge National Park. I haven't been to this National Park but I would like to one day. I haven't completely read the entire plan that you've developed but the parts I read about the hiking trails staying around three feet wide or people walking in single file is great!

The trails I've liked the best are narrow and go through woods with lots of shade. Trails that are really roads and no shade are the worst!

So anyway, I support what you are doing since this park is large enough for added trails and your plan shows that you will keep human impact to a minimum. I have hiked all over the United States and the Np's have some of the best hiking and backpacking trails I've experienced. Keep up the good work.