New River Gorge announces temporary visitor center closure

West Virginia
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Glen Jean, WV (WOWK) – Canyon Rim Visitor Center will temporarily close beginning Wednesday, March 18. Outdoor facilities including hiking trails, campgrounds, and river access points will remain open.

New River Gorge National River Superintendent Lizzie Watts announced that the park will be temporarily closing its primary visitor contact facility, in response to the latest guidance from the White House, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and local and state authorities to promote social distancing.

“The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners is our number one priority,” Watts says. “While the park remains open for hiking, biking, and other recreational activities, Canyon Rim Visitor Center, which regularly hosts up to 1,000 visitors per day during March and early April, will remain closed until further notice.”

Park officials urge visitors to do their part when visiting the park and to follow CDC guidance to prevent the spread of infectious diseases by maintaining safe distances; washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; avoiding contact with eyes, nose, and mouth; covering mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing; and most importantly, staying home if sick.

For high-risk populations, such as the elderly and people with underlying conditions, park staff is encouraging extra caution and adherence to CDC guidance, especially for those who are at higher risk of serious illness.

“We will be monitoring the national and statewide situation as we continue to asses and modify our operations according to CDC guidance,” Watts says. “Information about current operations, programs, facilities, and closures can always be found on our park website at nps.gov/neri.” The park will also be sending out notifications on their social media platforms, noted Watts. Updates on national park areas nationwide will be posted on nps.gov/coronavirus.

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