MAY 12, 2014 -- Its construction delayed by a hard winter, the new flagship campground for the New River Gorge National River, located near Sandstone and Meadow Creek, W.Va., in northern Summers County, will open in autumn, according to National Park Service officials.
The 26-site campground will be the first on park property in southern West Virginia to accommodate RV camping, and spokesmen for local development agencies say that and its proximity to Interstate 64 should help boost regional travel.
"It's a beautiful location on a nice stretch of water, and its proximity to I-64 should definitely help draw people to Summers County," Rick Moorefield said of the campground.
A park development consultant and extension agent for West Virginia University, Moorefield has been working elsewhere in the county on the John Henry Park, which has been established near the site of the folk hero's legendary battle with a steam-powered drill. "Once we get people into Summers County, we feel like we'll have a chance of getting more interested in exploring and seeing what else is here."
And there's so much more to see, says Doug Maddy, a native of the southern county and executive director of the Southern West Virginia Convention & Visitors Bureau.
"It makes so much of that beautiful region that much more accessible," Maddy said of the development. "You've got historic Hinton just to the south, I-64 and the park service's Sandstone Visitor's Center are only two miles away, and it increases the opportunity for more overnight trips on the river.
The park service on Monday announced set rates for the campground, which should become effective in November, while other campgrounds elsewhere in the national parklands nearby are open to guests on a first-come-first-served basis.
According to Jamie Fields, a spokeswoman for the campground development project, walk-in tent sites without electricity will be available at $10 per night, walk-in tent sites with electricity will be available at $18 per night, drive-in car sites with electricity will be available at $24 per night, and drive-in RV sites with electricity and water will be available at $28 per night.
The campground includes four walk-in tent-only sites, five drive-in RV sites, seventeen drive-in car sites, and a large group camping site, Fields said. Amenities will include communal water spigots, vault toilets, a dump station, a public boat launch, and an amphitheater for park interpretive programs. A camp host will also be stationed at the facility.
The campground was originally scheduled to open in the early summer of 2014, Fields said, but because of the harsh winter, construction delays have pushed the opening back to the fall of 2014.