Glen Jean, W.Va. – For the fall 2021 hunting season, regulations at New River Gorge National Park and Preserve will remain the same as they have in previous seasons.
With the park’s new national park status, the New River Gorge will be announcing its new hunting regulations this fall. Hunters and hikers can rest easy this season though, as the new regulations will not take effect until Jan. 1, 2022.
Areas in the park where hunting is currently prohibited include:
- Camp Brookside
- The Arrowhead Trail Area
- The Park Loop Trail Area
- The Burnwood Environmental and Education Area.
Hunting is also prohibited within 500 feet of heavy visitor use areas, including established campgrounds, day-use areas and visitor centers. Under West Virginia state hunting regulations, it is illegal to shoot a firearm within 500 feet of a school, church, dwelling, or other places where people socially gather. Regulations also prohibit ATV and ORV use on trails and off-road in the park.
Visitors enjoying the trails during hunting season should consider following these extra safety precautions:
- Wearing blaze orange and including an orange vest for pets
- Staying on established trails
- Avoiding cross-country travel
- Considering hiking in areas where hunting is prohibited.
Leave No Trace principles are always encouraged, but especially important during hunting season. The park also encourages guests to remember to recreate responsibly when visiting the park.
Hunting is mandated by law within New River Gorge National Park and Preserve as directed in the enabling legislation that created the park, because it is a “national park and preserve.” For additional NPS units that allow hunting see https://www.nps.gov/subjects/hunting/visit.htm.
Information and maps for areas currently restricted to hunting and for areas that will take effect beginning January 1, 2022, are on the park’s website at Hunting – New River Gorge National Park and Preserve (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov). Additional information and regulations for hunting within the park and other areas can be found on the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources Hunting website at Hunting – West Virginia Division of Natural Resources : West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (wvdnr.gov).
Visitors should also be aware that COVID restrictions remain in place in the park. To promote staff and visitors’ safety, masks are required in all NPS buildings, which include Canyon Rim Visitor Center, Thurmond Visitor Center, Grandview Visitor Center and Sandstone Visitor Center. These restrictions apply regardless of location or vaccination status. Additionally, masks must be worn in outdoor spaces where physical distancing cannot be maintained, such as narrow or busy trails and overlooks.
For current information on trail closures and other alerts in the park, visit the park website at nps.gov/neri.