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Contact: Leah Taber, 304-579-9208
HARPERS FERRY, W.Va.— After reviewing and considering public comments and safety concerns, the National Park Service (NPS) has permanently closed the Maryland Heights parking areas at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park (NHP).
The Maryland Heights parking areas, which held only 16 vehicles, were not large enough to handle the visitation the Maryland Heights trailhead receives, and illegally parked vehicles often extended into the narrow, busy roadway and blocked one lane of travel. This created a serious safety concern because it impeded local fire and rescue units and law enforcement and created dangerous situations for park visitors and neighbors.
Visitors can access the Maryland Heights trail and climbing areas by parking in the main Visitor Center lot and riding the park shuttle to historic Lower Town. There is also limited parking available in the Lower Town Train Station and River Access lots. It is a short, level walk from Lower Town across the pedestrian footbridge to the trailhead and main climbing routes. This method of travel offers the chance to explore four national parks in one visit: Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail and the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail.
Harpers Ferry NHP developed possible alternatives based on feedback provided by community members, partners, stakeholders, local law enforcement and emergency services personnel, outdoor recreational groups and tourism organizations. The park evaluated these potential solutions based on how well they met the goals for safety, resource protection, efficiency and visitor experience. Permanently closing the parking areas was the highest-scoring alternative for safety, resource protection, and sustainability. For more information on this decision, please visit the park website.
Attend the public meeting: The public is invited to attend a virtual meeting on May 26 from 6 to 7 pm. NPS staff will present a summary of the public comments received on the proposed closure and explain the management decision. A recording of the meeting and meeting presentation materials will also be available after May 26 on the park website.
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is one of more than 400 national parks cared for by the National Park Service. The 3,500-acre park preserves, protects and interprets the nationally significant history of Harpers Ferry, which includes the topics of natural heritage, industry, transportation, John Brown’s Raid, the Civil War and African American history. Located in West Virginia, Virginia, and Maryland, the park features over 20 miles of hiking trails. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/hafe.
Last updated: May 20, 2022