FAYETTEVILLE, WV (WVNS) — For decades, hikers and adventure seekers have been able to go inside over 120 abandoned mine portals located throughout the park.

National Park Service Director Chuck Sams visited the park to learn about their plans to gate some of those portals.

The project, which is funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will cover 3 of the abandoned portals.

One of these portals has been gated since 1992, but now the gate is badly rusted and falling apart, making it easy for people to get inside.

The other two portals will be gated after having been open to the public for years

Director Sams spoke about the dangers the mine portals present to anyone who enters them.

“We do know that many people are still trying to enter many of these abandoned mines but they have a lot of hazards,” said Sams. “The ceilings and the walls are very brittle and can fall upon you and that would leave you stranded in there with very little chance of getting help. So we’re trying to make sure that we’re mitigating for those types of hazards.”

While the portals will no longer be open to the public, they won’t be completely cut off from nature.

“We also put up the gates to allow bats to go in and out as they please,” said Wender. “These are really important habitats for 6 different species of bats that are considered imperiled in the state. 3 of those are actually listed under the Endangered Species Act.”

The park plans to begin work on the gates within the next two weeks.

They hope to finish the project by mid-summer.