Monday, November 28, 2016

Watts returns to W.Va. as superintendent of New River Gorge National River

Watts named superintendent
The former chief of interpretation and education for national parks in southern West Virginia, Lizzie Watts has been named superintendent of New River Gorge National River, the Gauley River National Recreation Area, and the Bluestone National Scenic River, according to Mile Caldwell, director for the National Park Service's northeast region.

“The Northeast Region is pleased to welcome Lizzie back,” said Caldwell. “Her vast expertise and knowledge in leadership, park management, and community development is an asset to the National Park Service.”

Watts, a 25-year veteran of the park service, served five regions in various disciplines throughout the country. She began her career at Blue Ridge Parkway as a park ranger, while attending North Carolina State University.

From Blue Ridge Parkway, she held various law enforcement positions at Olympic National Park, George Washington Parkway, and Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.
Thursday, November 17, 2016

Hikers encouraged to hike to Long Point on Black Friday

New River Gorge Bridge from Long Point
Hiking proponents in southern West Virginia are encouraging area residents to eschew crowded stores on the afternoon after Thanksgiving Day and instead join in a group hike on the Long Point Trail, which leads to one of the best known scenic overlooks in New River Gorge National River.

The 3.2-mile hike to-and-from the rock outcrop at Long Point departs from the Long Point trailhead off Gatewood Road near Fayetteville at 10 a.m., according to a joint press release issued by the National Park Service and the regional activity initiative Active Southern West Virginia.

The easy-to-moderate trail leads to one of the best views of the gorge and the New River Gorge Bridge. Hiker should wear appropriate shoes and anticipate potentially wintry weather.

The distance hiked will count toward totals for the New River Gorge 100-Mile Challenge, a hiking initiative being promoted in conjunction with the of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, according to ranger Jodi French-Burr.

Photo courtesy
Friday, November 4, 2016

Alliance receives grant to study Fayette, Nicholas trail network

On the Cranberry River. Photo courtesy Mike Boyes.
The New River Gorge Trail Alliance has received a $140,000 planning grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission to study the feasibility of a regionally-connected bike trail system in Fayette and Nicholas counties in south-central West Virginia.

Working in partnership with West Virginia Connecting Communities, the alliance will spend the next year planning a regional network of trails in the counties, according to alliance president Bill Wells.

“Our vision is to join together successful existing bike trails, such as the Tri-Rivers Trail, the Meadow River Trail, and the White Oak Trail, into a larger network of trails,” Wells said.

“By connecting the Monongahela National Forest to the New River Gorge National River, our region’s status will continue to grow as an East Coast adventure recreation destination.”
Thursday, November 3, 2016

Fayetteville, W.Va., growing as a popular winter-tourism destination

Fayetteville, W.Va., in Winter. Courtesy Tim Naylor.
Many communities that depend on warm-weather tourism suffer through winter, but one West Virginia town renowned as a destination for whitewater rafting is breaking out of that cycle.

Hiking, rock climbing and mountain biking have increased year-round in Fayetteville, benefiting a growing number of eclectic shops, restaurants, and cultural venues that are particularly attractive in winter.

According to Sally Kiner, executive director of the Fayetteville Convention and Visitor Bureau, the expansion appears to be the result of a discovery of the region as a full-spectrum outdoor-recreation destination.

"The Fayetteville area has long been known as a destination for high adventure, but visitors have found that it's far more than that, and that's a promising development," she said.

"One happy result is the growing popularity of Fayetteville as a winter destination. Winter is an ideal time of year to visit. The landscape is beautiful, our varied lodging is generally discounted, and its restaurants are somewhat less crowded -- you won't have to stand in long lines waiting to be seated."

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