Tuesday, June 28, 2016

National Park areas minimally damaged by floods

At Masons Branch, Gauley River
National park areas in southern West Virginia survived recent floods with minimal impact, though several areas will be closed until further notice, according to Trish Kicklighter, superintendent of the New River Gorge National River, the Bluestone National Scenic River, and the Gauley River National Recreation Area.

Roadways closed in the park areas include Keeney's Creek Road from one mile below Winona to Nuttallburg and the lower beach access road near Sandstone Falls. Campsites closed in the park include walk-in campsites at Grandview Sandbar and Glade Creek. The drive-in sites at both campgrounds remain open. River-access sites closed in the parklands include points along the road along New River at Hellems Branch and Woods Ferry and the Mason Branch on Gauley River.

Kicklighter said visitors should be prepared to encounter muddy conditions, possible downed trees on
 trails, and rough, uneven surfaces throughout the park where gravel roads have been washed.

“We are working hard to restore access to high priority areas like campgrounds and river access areas," the superintendent said.

"Our number one priority is the safety of our staff and park visitors. Receding flood waters can leave behind trash and hazardous materials. We will strive to have as much open as possible before the upcoming holiday weekend, but we first need to make sure things are in good, safe condition.”

Engineers from the Federal Highway Administration will visit the park this week to evaluate additional park-owned roads and bridges. As park facilities are opened, or as other changes occur, updates will be posted on the parks’ Facebook account at www.facebook.com/newrivergorgenps, and through Twitter at @NewRiverNPS.

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