• 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

    The WV Department of Highways and the Federal Highways Administration is replacing the Thomas Buford Pugh Memorial Bridge on Route 41 in the town of Prince. Construction will require temporary full river traffic closures and long term river detours. More »

Water Safety

ranger with kids trying on life jackets
Program Description
Students learn that the New River is very powerful and has many potential hazards. Students understand that the best way to enjoy the river is with safety and respect. Students learn some basic water safety tips, accident prevention, and simple and appropriate emergency responses. Students will be involved in hands-on activities, demonstrations, games, and videos.

Available at:
Burnwood, Canyon Rim, Glade Creek, Sandstone Falls, and Thurmond

Grade Level:
1st – 8th

Program Length:
1 hour

Background Material


Safe use of water resources is essential at New River Gorge National River.

Instructional Objectives:

1. Name three hazardous characteristics of the river and identify potentially hazardous situations

2. List reason reasons why PFDs (personal flotation devices) should be worn

3. State and demonstrate two ways to rescue someone in trouble

Pre-visit activities:
Life Jackets Save Lives
A Water Safety K_W_L Chart
Longfellow’s Whale Tales

Post-visit activities:
The River Safety Game
Two Truths and a Fib

More Information:
Additional Resources for Teachers


Did You Know?

BASE Jumper at New River Gorge

One day each year, hundreds of BASE (Building, Antenna, Span, and Earth) jumpers come to New River Gorge to parachute from the New River Gorge Bridge.