• sun setting over the gorge

    New River Gorge

    National River West Virginia

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  • River Detours and Closures at the Thomas Buford Pugh Memorial Bridge

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historic photo of steam train
Program Description
Students focus on the importance of the railroad to the New River Gorge and to the United States as a whole. Students visualize the challenges of railroad construction at the time of the Civil War. Through discussion, students learn that the railroad brought changes... people, jobs, mines, and lumber camps, as well as a means to transport coal, timber, and other goods out of the gorge to a national market. Whenever possible, students visit Thurmond Depot where demonstrations, hands-on activities, and role playing are part of the learning experience.

Available at:
Burnwood, Canyon Rim, Glade Creek, Grandview, and Thurmond

Grade Level:
4th – 6th

Program Length:
1.5 hours

Background Materials:

Railroading Overview

The railroad helped to overcome a transportation barrier and open the New River Gorge to many opportunities.

Instructional Objectives:

1. List three reasons why the completion of the railroad was so important

2. List and describe jobs that were associated with the operation of the railroad

3. Explain what happened to the railroad throughout the years

Pre-visit activities:
Railroad Jargon
Riding the Rails Scavenger Hunt

Post-visit activities:
People of the Rails
Railroad Charades
Railroad Nomenclature
Railroad Towns

More Information:
Books to Share with Children
Additional Resources for Teachers

History/Social Sciences

WV Content Standards met:

History/Social Sciences- SS.4.4.3, SS.4.4.4, SS.WV.4.4, SS.WV.4.8, SS.WV.5.2, SS.WV.5.3,
SS.5.3.4, SS.5.3.5, SS.5.4.9, SS.5.5.3, SS.5.5.7

Did You Know?

Peregrine Falcon

Between 1987 and 1991, over thirty peregrine falcons were released within New River Gorge. Think you saw one? If so, please contact the park wildlife biologist at (304) 465-6542. More...