Briana Heaney Published

New River Gorge National Park To Close During Government Shutdown

A brown highway sign with white lettering on a hazy August day with green mountain ridges in the background.Curtis Tate/West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Updated on Sept. 29, 2023 at 4:14 p.m.

October is peak season for visitors at the New River Gorge National Park, but it may be forced to close as early as Sunday due to the government shutdown.

The Department of the Interior, which is responsible for managing the National Park Service, has announced that if there is a shutdown then the National Park Service will be closed. 

Across the country thousands of park rangers will be furloughed, gates will be locked, and visitor centers will be closed at national park sites, including all of West Virginia’s national park and forest lands. Areas that are impossible or impractical to restrict public access to will remain open. The park service is discouraging the public from visiting national parks and forests during the government shutdown.  

States, local governments, cooperating associations, and other third parties can donate money to keep the park running during the shutdown but that is subject to the approval of the National Park Service director. However, Gov. Jim Justice says the state has no current plan to support the park during the shutdown.

The park service will continue activities necessary to protect life and property like law enforcement and emergency response, protection of federal land, property, and waterways.