OverviewThe National Park Service (NPS) invests in planning to ensure that decisions it makes are as effective and efficient as possible in carrying out the NPS mission. That mission is to preserve unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations and to cooperate with partners to extend the benefits of resource conservation and outdoor recreation.
Various Federal laws require the National Park Service to engage in transparent planning efforts and to solicit public and agency input in decision-making. These laws include the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), and the Endangered Species Act. Many other laws require certain procedural steps and National Park Service policy welcomes civic engagement in thinking about the future of the resources held in trust for them, and in planning and decision-making. Actions taken by the National Park Service to implement these legal provisions are frequently referred to as “compliance.”
Park staff are responsible for project management and design, review of other agency projects and neighboring development plans, and management of compliance with NEPA and other laws and regulations. Park staff are also responsible for preparing a variety of planning and environmental documents to help guide it in managing park resources. These documents can range from site-specific impact analyses on facility locations to broader park-wide plans for future use and management of the park. Although park staff members are responsible for preparation of these documents and making decisions ultimately, this cannot be done effectively without public involvement.
The 2011 General Management Plan (GMP) establishes a vision for New River Gorge National River (now redesignated as New River Gorge National Park and Preserve) for the next 20 years. It guides the management of resources, visitor use, and general development at the park. The primary purpose of the plan is to provide a foundation from which to protect park resources while providing for meaningful visitor experiences. The selected alternative, Alternative 5 – Exploration Experiences, preserves primitive recreational experiences from end to end of the park. Interspersed with these primitive areas will be cultural and interpretive focal areas where visitors can explore communities and other places that once populated to gorge, experience the river, and enjoy a variety of recreational experiences. A north to south through the park connector composed of improved scenic roads and trails will enable visitors to travel the length of the park. Partnerships with gateway communities and improved rim to river experiences will foster links to the park as a whole and to specific cultural and interpretive resources.
The park developed a Foundation Document in 2016; this document provides basic guidance for planning and management decisions by laying out a single, shared understanding of what is most important about the park. The document includes the park’s purpose, significance, fundamental resources and values, and interpretive themes. The document also contains an assessment of planning and data needs that identifies planning issues, planning products to be developed and the associated studies and data required for park planning.
Planning documents currently available include:
Documents Open for Public Review
Other Plans and Projects
An archive of completed projects as well as projects without documents open for comment may be found on the PEPC website.
Planning, Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) is an online collaborative tool dedicated to facilitating the civic engagement process in conservation planning, environmental impact analysis and informed decision-making. PEPC allows parks to improve efficiency and implement agency guidelines.
Last updated: September 10, 2021