The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

July 15, 2013

Scouts to explore New River Gorge National River


GLEN JEAN — The remainder of the month will be a busy time in New River Gorge National River, National Park Service officials said in a recent press release. In addition to maintaining its regular operations and serving visitors to the area, National Park Service rangers will also be supporting the 2013 National Scout Jamboree being held at the neighboring Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve. With the exception of weekends, thousands of Scouts will be exploring the park between July 17 and July 23. In addition to participating in trail building service projects, youth will have the opportunity to experience whitewater and rock climbing adventures.

Whitewater rafting is one of the most popular recreational activities at New River Gorge National River. The rapids range from Class III (mild) to Class V (wilder). A trip on the river is one of the best ways to experience the park. On five days of the Jamboree — July 17, 18, 19, 22 and 23 —commercial river outfitters will provide guide services for the roughly 2500 Scouts who will be on the river each day. These Scouts will be rafting sections of the Upper and Lower New from approximately 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. NPS river rangers, visitor and resource protection rangers and skilled volunteers will be positioned in key locations to provide additional safety and assistance to all river users.

All river access and boat launch areas will be open daily for outfitters and private boaters, though traffic may be busier than normal. Please note no trips are scheduled for Scouts on the weekend days, July 20-21.

Not only will Scouts brave the rapids, they will also venture onto the sandstone cliff faces of the New River Gorge. Within New River Gorge National River over 1,400 established rock climbs exist, making the Gorge one of the most popular climbing areas in the country. The cliffs at New River Gorge are very hard sandstone, and range from 30 to 120 feet in height. Scouts will experience this first hand on one of the two daily climbing excursions planned for July 17-19, and July 22-23. Commercial rock climbing services will guide Scouts on the climbing adventures in the park on these days from approximately 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. NPS visitor and resource protection rangers will provide safety and assistance as necessary. Again, no Scouts will participate in climbing adventures on the weekend days.

The NPS is excited to share the resources and recreational opportunities of New River Gorge National River with thousands of Scouts and visitors traveling to the area. Kathy Zerkle, a veteran river guide and NPS river ranger, shared her thoughts about the upcoming events: “I see the Jamboree as an opportunity for the National Park Service to showcase the New River to a multitude of young people and to positively impact their perception of West Virginia. It excites me to be a part of any activity that brings people into the outdoors and exposes them to the adventure of the river, setting a foundation for further exploration of America’s parks.”

Please visit www.nps.gov/neri for information about recreational opportunities, scenic views, and cultural sites to explore at New River Gorge National River. With more than 70,000 acres and 53 miles of river, there are many places for visitors to experience their National Park.