New River Gorge: high adventure playground for Boy Scouts - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

New River Gorge: high adventure playground for Boy Scouts

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July will be a busy month in New River Gorge National River! In addition to maintaining the park's regular operations and serving visitors to the area, National Park Service rangers will also be supporting the 2013 National Scout Jamboree being held at the neighboring Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve. With the exception of weekends, thousands of scouts will be exploring the park between July 17 and 23. In addition to participating in trail building service projects, youth will have the opportunity to experience whitewater and rock climbing adventures.

Whitewater rafting is one of the most popular recreational activities at New River Gorge National River. A trip on the river is one of the best ways to experience the park, according the National Park Service. Commercial river outfitters will be providing guide services for the roughly 2,500 Scouts who will be on the river each day from July 17-19 and also on July 22 and 23.  These scouts will be rafting sections of the Upper and Lower New from approximately 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.  NPS river rangers, visitor and resource protection rangers and skilled volunteers will be positioned in key locations to provide additional safety and assistance to all river users.  All river access and boat launch areas will be open daily for outfitters and private boaters, though traffic may be busier than normal. There are no trips scheduled for scouts on the July 20 and 21. 

Not only will scouts brave the rapids, they will also venture onto the sandstone cliff faces of the New River Gorge. Within New River Gorge National River there are more than 1,400 established rock climbs. The cliffs at New River Gorge are very hard sandstone, and range from 30 to 120 feet in height.  Commercial rock climbing services will guide scouts on the climbing adventures in the park from approximately 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. on July 17-19 as well as July 22 and 23. 

Officials with the NPS said they are excited to share the resources and recreational opportunities of New River Gorge National River with thousands of scouts and visitors traveling to the area. 

"I see the Jamboree as an opportunity for the National Park Service to showcase the New River to a multitude of young people and to positively impact their perception of West Virginia" said Kathy Zerkle, a veteran river guide and NPS River Ranger. "It excites me to be a part of any activity that brings people into the outdoors and exposes them to the adventure of the river, setting a foundation for further exploration of America's parks."

 More information about recreational opportunities, scenic views, and cultural sites to explore at New River Gorge National River can be found at www.nps.gov/neri. With more than 70,000 acres and 53 miles of river, there are many places for visitors to experience their National Park.