From Staff Reports
GLEN JEAN —
The National Park Service (NPS) is moving forward with development of several new trails in the New River Gorge National River after a recent environmental assessment failed to turn up any significant negative impact.
Eventually, the Park Service would like to create a Through Park Connector trail that would make it possible to walk or bike from one end of the park to the other, and then back again on the other side of the river.
The first phase of that plan is now approved. It will build several new trails and connectors to create a continuous path from Raleigh County Memorial Airport almost to the northern edge of the park, north of Fayetteville.
“The public expressed a great deal of interest in developing additional trail opportunities for both hiking and bicycling within the park and developing additional segments of the Through Park Connector trail,” explained Superintendent Trish Kicklighter.
“The NPS looks forward to working with the (Boy) Scouts and other volunteer organizations to begin constructing several of these trail segments this summer.”
The Trail Development Plan/Environmental Assessment was released for public review in February and the public comment period concluded on April 5. The NPS considered all comments received at the public open house in March and those received both electronically and in writing.
The NPS will now work with various volunteer groups to develop new trails throughout areas of the northern half of the New River Gorge from McCreery north to the park boundary on river left.
A park official told The Register-Herald in March that the first phase of the plan could be complete in about three years.
A copy of the Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) and the Trail Development Plan can be viewed online. Go to http://www.nps.gov/neri, select “Management,” then “Park Planning,” then “Trail Development Plan — Phase One,” then “Document List.”
Hard copies can be viewed at Canyon Rim Visitor Center, Sandstone Visitor Center, and the Park Headquarters in Glen Jean. Printed copies of the FONSI are available on request by calling 304-465-6527.