The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

Local News

October 28, 2013

Proposed campground fees up for comment

(Continued)

will still be available at other primitive campgrounds and backcountry campsites in the park.

The reasoning behind the fee proposal is two-fold. First is the reality of declining budgets and increasing costs to maintain these facilities. Park staff, vehicles and supplies are decreasing with budget cuts, while gas costs to reach these remote campgrounds remain high and facilities continue to age, requiring maintenance and repairs. Fee revenues, under the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act, will be dedicated to managing the fee collection program and to facility maintenance and improvements at these and other park campgrounds. Fees would allow the NPS to continue to provide a satisfactory level of service to overnight visitors and would reduce the potential need to extend seasonal closures of campground facilities.

Secondly, the nature of free campsites along the river often invites some of the local criminal element into the park.  The crime rate for every major category in West Virginia except for motor vehicle theft is up and rising.  Park rangers have responded to numerous visitor complaints and incidents in these three campgrounds, including domestic disputes, disorderly conduct, and alcohol-related crime and noise complaints. Other comparable campgrounds in the National Park system had similar issues prior to institution of a nominal fee for camping.

After the fee was introduced, the people who were largely responsible for the criminal issues, presumably being unwilling to pay, were replaced by more family-oriented groups filling the campsites. The NPS anticipates that charging this $5 fee at the New River Gorge National River will produce similar results so that the park may offer the public a safer and more enjoyable visitor experience in and around the Army Camp, Glade Creek and Grandview Sandbar campgrounds.

For more information and to submit comments on the proposed fees, please go to www.nps.gov/neri and from the links on the left side of the page, select “Management,” then “Park Planning,” then “Civic Engagement for Proposed New Fees at Army Camp, Glade Creek and Grandview Sandbar Campgrounds,” then “Document List.”

Comments can be submitted online through this website, or may be submitted by mail to: NPS – New River Gorge National River; Attn: Comment on Proposed Camping Fees; PO Box 246; Glen Jean, WV 25846-0246.

Please submit comments online or by mail no later than Nov. 24.

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