historic photo of coal miners
Coal Miners at Nuttallburg

The New River Gorge area is full of wonderful, dreadful, exciting, and unusual stories. The geology of the gorge tells a story that dates back millions of years. There are stories of disasters, both natural and man-made. Floods, droughts, blights, coal mine explosions, and fires have all been a part of its history, as has the story of the struggle of the people making a life in this rough and rugged land.

There are many positive stories too - the beauty of the area, the plants and animals that thrive in the gorge, and most of all the people who lived, worked and played here. From the Native Americans that hunted, fished and traveled the gorge to the children that visit the park today, people have made stories that they will remember and pass on.

New River Gorge National River protects not only the natural resources of the park, but also the stories. By collecting and saving oral histories, photographs, artifacts, and records, the park hopes to keep these stories alive and help people create their own New River Gorge stories.

A small town sitting next to a river viewed from the air
Mining and Industrial Disasters

Learn about the coal mining disasters at Layland, Red Ash, and Rush Run in New River Gorge and other industrial disasters.

historic photo of men poling long, narrow boats on a river
Batteaux on the New

Long before the coming of the whitewater rafting industry, commerce along the New River was carried out by long, flat bottomed batteaux.

A black statue of a man holding a sledgehammer sits to the side in front of a railroad tunnel
John Henry & the Coming of the Railroad

Construction of the Great Bend Tunnel on the C&O Railway just south of New River Gorge spawned the legend of John Henry.

Old stone wall ruins of a building in the forest
Berry Holler & the Big Branch Trail

Discover this popular hiking trail through the stories of Bertha Huffman, who grew up on Big Branch.

A grey stone arrowhead
Arrowheads of the Past and Present

Learn more about the history of Native Americans in New River Gorge.

A grey stone arrowhead
History of Native Americans

Learn about the history of Native Americans in the Lower New River region.

historic photo of miners with guns
West Virginia Mine Wars

The West Virginia Mine Wars were a series of labor struggles in the 1900s that saw coal miners fight for their right to unionize.

Last updated: September 27, 2023

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Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 246, 104 Main Street
Glen Jean, WV 25846



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