National park holds open house before proposed demos

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National park holds open house before proposed demos
The Billy Joe Adkins home is among those slated for demolition. (Photo courtesy National Park Service)

GLEN JEAN, W.Va. — The National Park Service is inviting interested members of the public to attend an open house on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Glen Jean Bank in Glen Jean, West Virginia.

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At the open house, the park service will provide information regarding its proposal to demolish 16 deteriorating and non-historic excess structures in New River Gorge National Park and Preserve.

The service's proposal includes removing hazardous structures, disposing of all associated building debris, and restoring the sites to a condition consistent with their natural surroundings, which will provide visitors with additional recreational opportunities.

Funded by the Great American Outdoors Act, the project to remove unnecessary structures will address deferred maintenance needs and eliminate approximately $800,000 in yearly maintenance and law enforcement costs, allowing staff and financial resources to focus attention on maintaining other facilities and resources that park visitors can enjoy.

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Many of the buildings and structures came into the possession of the park service through land acquisition within established park boundaries. Most were not intended for occupation or use and are now abandoned, dilapidated, overgrown safety hazards vulnerable to trespassing and vandalism and a burden to maintain.

The structures/areas to be removed through this project are:

  • Ajax Mines Grounds (Items to be removed include large pipes, mechanical apparatus, and fences)
  • Ajax Pump Station Building
  • Billy Jo Adkins House
  • Burnwood Maintenance Storage Building
  • Burnwood Ranger Storage Building
  • Burnwood Ranger Storage Shed
  • Clarence Plumley House, Meadow Creek
  • Dun Glen Boat Storage/Emergency Cache (Constructed by NPS)
  • Glade Creek Restroom
  • Glenwood Corp River Road Cabins (Structures have been removed. Next phase work will include remediating old septic systems and revegetating area)
  • Grandview Resource Stewardship Office
  • Jonny and Brenda Adkins House
  • Julian Mark Richmond House
  • Julian Mark Richmond Shed
  • Samuel Ames Garage
  • Samuel Ames House

The park service plans to complete its environmental and cultural review process for this project in early 2023 to implement the demolitions as early as summer 2023 and work into the fall.

For those unable to attend the open house, the public materials and additional information will also be made available on the NPS’ planning website at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/GAOANon-HistoricDemolition.

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This project is funded through the Great American Outdoors Act Legacy Restoration Fund, which is part of a concerted effort to address the extensive maintenance backlog in national parks.

Supported by revenue from energy development, the fund provides up to $1.3 billion per year for five years to make significant enhancements in national parks to ensure their preservation and provide opportunities for recreation, education, and enjoyment for current and future visitors.

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