NPS to close restrooms, campgrounds in southern W.Va.

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NPS to close restrooms, campgrounds in southern W.Va.
The New River enters the spectacular New River Gorge below Thunder Buttress. (Photo courtesy Ed Rehbein)

The National Park Service will temporarily close its restrooms and campgrounds on the New, Gauley, and Bluestone rivers in southern West Virginia in response to the COVID-10 outbreak.

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Park Superintendent Lizzie Watts announced that those facilities will be shuttered throughout New River Gorge National River, the Gauley River National Recreation Area, and the Bluestone National Scenic River

Hiking trails and river accesses will, however, remain open, she said.

“We will continue to monitor state and local situations as we assess and modify our operations in response to the latest federal, state, and local health guidance,” Watts said

Park officials previously closed the Canyon Rim Visitor Center near Fayetteville, West Virginia, in response to guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and in accord with local and state guidelines to promote social distancing.

The NPS encourages people who choose to visit the three parks during the pandemic to follow guidelines from the CDC and state and local public health authorities to protect themselves and park employees.

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“While the park remains open for use,” Watts said, “services are limited, and we would ask your help in practicing Leave No Trace principles.”

Watts suggests that visitors plan on packing out trash and using restroom facilities prior to visiting the park.

“We are working closely with federal, state, and local authorities to monitor COVID-19 and will notify the public when we resume full operations,” she added.

Park updates and closures can be found on the park website at and on Facebook and Twitter.

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