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Contact: Paul Menard, 304 465-6521
GLEN JEAN –The National Park Service announced today that the draft General Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement (GMP) and draft Foundation Plan for New River Gorge National River have been released for public review and input. Three public meetings will be held during the review period so that members of the public, federal, state, local agencies and organizations can provide feedback and comments to the planning team.
New River Gorge Superintendent Don Striker commented that, “The draft GMP has been carefully developed so that the five alternatives reflect a range of management strategies for the stewardship of the National River over the next 15 to 20 years. The draft plan identifies the National Park Service preferred alternative so the public will know which alternative we consider the best. We very much need to hear what people have to say about the plan and each of the alternatives for consideration in determining the final plan. The GMP is important because so many other planning and project documents tier from this plan. All future planning must be consistent with the intent and philosophy of the general management plan.”
According to Striker, one of the more controversial components of previous planning sessions has been resolved by Congress. “Many of the comments we received during our scoping sessions were from hunters concerned about an alternative that would have banned hunting in the New River Gorge National River. With passage of a law last year stating that there shall be hunting here, the United States Congress has clarified their intent with respect to this aspect of park operations, and all the alternatives now include hunting.”
Area residents, business owners, local officials, and organizational representatives are encouraged to come anytime to any of the Public Open Houses, scheduled at three locations at different times.
Tuesday, March 9th, 2010 from 4-6 pm
Memorial Building Auditorium, 97 Park Avenue (corner of Park Ave. & James St.
Wednesday, March 10th, 2010 from 3-6 pm
Tamarack Conference Center, One Tamarack Park (exit 45, I-77)
Thursday, March 11th, 2010 from 6-9 pm
NPS Canyon Rim Visitor Center – (US 19, just north of Fayetteville)
Copies of the plans are available for public review and comment online at the park’s website (www.nps.gov/neri) or via the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) site at (http://parkplanning.nps.gov/neri). Printed copies (in limited quantity) and CDs can be requested by calling (304) 465-6526. Printed hardcopies can be viewed at the following locations:
New River Gorge National River - Headquarters
104 Main Street
Glen Jean, WV 25846
New River Gorge National River - Canyon Rim Visitor Center
162 Visitor Center Road (off US 19, north of the New River Gorge Bridge)
Lansing, WV 25862
New River Gorge National River – Sandstone Visitor Center
Meadow Creek Road
Sandstone, WV 25958
Raleigh County Public Library
221 N. Kanawha Street
Beckley, WV 25801
Summers County Public Library
201 Temple Street
Hinton, WV 25951
Oak Hill Public Library
611 Main Street
Oak Hill, WV 25901
The draft GMP will be available for public review for at least 60 days, ending April 2, 2010.
The preferred method to comment is on-line (www.nps.gov/neri), however, written comments may be sent to: Superintendent Don Striker, New River Gorge National River, 104 Main Street, Glen Jean,West Virginia 25846. Comments are welcome any time throughout the formal review period and will be carefully considered in arriving at the final plan.