Caitlin Tan Published

Three W.Va. National Parks Close Campgrounds

New River Gorge Bridge

Three national parks in West Virginia closed their facilities at noon on Tuesday in response to COVID-19.

Campgrounds and restrooms in New River Gorge National River, Gauley River National Recreation Area and Bluestone National Scenic River are closed indefinitely. 

This announcement came in a press release, one day after Governor Jim Justice ordered campground closures at all state parks. Some city parks across the state have also entirely closed. 

The three national parks that lie within southern West Virginia will continue to be open for recreation, although people are encouraged to visit less popular trails, said Eve West, the chief of interpretation and visitor services for all three parks.

“We would encourage you to not use the trails that are the most popular, and if you do go to a trailhead, and you do see a lot of vehicles there, just don’t go at that point in time, go to a different trail or come back at a different time,” she said. 

West said people can visit the parks virtually, through a variety of videos on the national park service website, including GoPro videos of rafting trips. 

Because staff and services are limited, West said to practice ‘Leave No Trace’ if recreating at the park, which includes things like packing out one’s trash and going to the bathroom before coming to the park.