Gauley River Access For 2010 (WV)
August 26, 2010
An Open Letter to Gauley River Boaters
The rangers and staff of the Gauley River National Recreation Area welcome you to the 2010 boating season. National Park Service (NPS) employees have been working, and are continuing to work, on preparing the put-in’s and take-out’s, and other public use spots for upcoming Gauley River NRA visitation. We hope that this season will prove to be a safe and spectacular one for every one.
The NPS reports no new big changes for the upcoming season but hopes to continue to build on successes and make improvements with respect to public facilities. This said, the Gauley Tailwaters campground and the public boat launches will continue to operate much like they did last year. Boaters will see new development at some of the river access points which the NPS is committed to improve, where feasible, for public enjoyment.
Camping at the Gauley Tailwaters campground continues to be free of charge and is on a first come, first served basis. There is a maximum of 8 people allowed in each campsite. There is a 2 tent, 2 vehicle maximum at each site. Quiet hours are from 10pm to 6am in the campground. Rangers provide patrols and may register each campsite. Campers who bring their pets are asked to keep their pets on a leash. The public boat launch at the Tailwaters is being improved by the park maintenance staff prior to the boating season.
Mason’s Branch will continue to be managed like last year. Due to the limited amount of public land available at this access, the narrowness of the road, and the retained rights of both the upstream and downstream adjacent landowners, the park, again, plans to restrict private vehicle access on Saturdays and Sundays like last year. Parking at Mason’s Branch for private boaters is offered on Fridays and Mondays in the upper parking lot. The road and parking lots are closed to private vehicles on Saturdays and Sundays. To help with parking, American Whitewater has again leased the Legg field above Mason’s Branch. The field will be available throughout the Gauley season for private boater parking. The NPS is also making arrangements to provide a free boater shuttle service from Mason’s Branch to the Legg field. This free service has worked well since the acquisition of the property and is a benefit to boaters who cannot park their personal vehicles at the take- out on the weekends.
Boaters who use the public boat launch at Wood’s Ferry will find two permanent restroom and changing facilities. Both of these restrooms were under construction last year. This year, both have been completed and will be available for use. The park maintenance staff has also just completed improvements at the boat launches at Wood’s Ferry. The launches were hardened with surface material for traction and the grade was improved to make river access easier. Parking at Wood’s Ferry will be managed like it has in the past with few restrictions. Boaters are asked to park close together in an organized fashion to take advantage of all the available space and to create parking opportunities for other boaters.
NPS river patrol operations will continue as in the past. The NPS provides daily river patrols during the scheduled releases with an emphasis on EMS and rescue. The NPS river ranger patrol boat carries an AED in addition to other medical supplies and they are available to provide both routine and emergency boater services as they arise.
Additionally, the NPS has been in contact with the state Department of Transportation who has intentions of improving the dirt and gravel Panther Mountain Road prior to the beginning of the season. This road is the primary access to all of the public boat launches and routinely sees heavy traffic use.
As our Gauley season planning efforts progress, we will post information on our web page at www.nps.gov/gari as well as continuing to communicate with private boaters through partnering organizations such as American Whitewater and the West Virginia Rivers Coalition. For this season as in the past, we appreciate all of the boater public cooperation that helps to make the Gauley boating season the special time that it is.
Chuck Noll, Acting Chief Ranger
New River Gorge National River
Gauley River National Recreation Area
American Whitewater would like to thank the National Park Service and all the Park Service staff for working with the private boater community to establish an outstanding private-public partnership for the management of this remarkable river. See everyone at Gauley Fest.