Harpers Ferry park proposes closure of Maryland Heights parking

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Harpers Ferry park proposes closure of Maryland Heights parking
Hikers take in the view of Harpers Ferry, West Virginia from Maryland Heights. Photo by Rick Burgess

National Park Service officials say that after careful consideration they propose permanently closing parking areas at Maryland Heights at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.

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The parking areas have been closed since March 2020, originally as a COVID-19 safety protocol, but park officials have maintained the closures because of parking safety-related incidents in the area.

Such incidents have now been virtually eliminated, and a permanent closure will ensure the safety of staff, visitors, residents, and local emergency services personnel.

The public is invited to attend a virtual meeting on February 10 from 6 to 8 p.m., during which staff will explain the proposal and invite attendees to share their questions, comments, and alternative ideas.

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Comments on the proposed closure can also be submitted electronically or by mail through Feb. 27.

The parking areas can hold a maximum of 16 vehicles and are not large enough to handle the amount of visitation the Maryland Heights trail now receives. Illegally parked vehicles now often extend into the roadway and block one lane of travel on a narrow, busy road.

Visitors can access the Maryland Heights trail and climbing areas by parking in the main Visitor Center lot and riding the park shuttle to the historic Lower Town. There is limited parking available in the Lower Town Train Station and River Access Lots.

It is a short walk from Lower Town across the pedestrian footbridge to the trailhead and main climbing routes. This method of travel offers the chance to explore three national parks in one visit—Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park, and the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.

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Park officials say there are several ways to get involved.

Attend the public meeting: A virtual public meeting explaining the proposal and providing time for questions, comments and alternative ideas will be held on Feb. 10 from 6 to 8 pm. Follow the link to join the Microsoft Teams meeting and view the meeting presentation live. A recording of the meeting and meeting presentation materials will also be available after Feb. 10 on the park website.

Electronic comment: You are invited to submit written comments and identify any issues or concerns about the proposed closure until Feb. 27 to HAFE_Superintendent@nps.gov.

Comment by mail: Written comments may also be mailed to the address below. Mailed comments must be postmarked by Feb. 27 to receive consideration.

Superintendent
Attn: Proposal to close Maryland Heights parking areas
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
P.O. Box 65
Harpers Ferry, WV 25425

Learn more about the proposal on the park website.

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