Tuesday, November 11, 2008

New River Gorge National River

As a country we have set aside a number of river areas as National Rivers. The Ozark National Scenic Riverways was the first, set aside in 1964. More have been added under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act was passed in 1968:

It is hereby declared to be the policy of the United States that certain selected rivers of the Nation which, with their immediate environments, possess outstandingly remarkable scenic, recreational, geologic, fish and wildlife, historic, cultural or other similar values, shall be preserved in free-flowing condition, and that they and their immediate environments shall be protected for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Congress declares that the established national policy of dams and other construction at appropriate sections of the rivers of the United States needs to be complemented by a policy that would preserve other selected rivers or sections thereof in their free-flowing condition to protect the water quality of such rivers and to fulfill other vital national conservation purposes. (Wild & Scenic Rivers Act, October 2, 1968)

Some of these rivers are managed by the National Park Service, some by Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and others National Forest Service. There are a number that are in partnership with other state and local agencies, Partnership Wild and Scenic Rivers.

When looking for something to visit on our way to the Blue Ridge Parkway, we chose the New River Gorge National River in southern West Virginia. I gave myself a day to scout out the area and I definitely would like to go back and spend more time exploring the area. It is a unique river in North America, because it flows north!

We woke up to a cloudy, somewhat wet morning.

We started at the Grandview area. The overlook of the gorge was obscured by the fog, but the forest was lovely in its partially obscured state. The foliage was past its peak, but the fallen leaves left a beautiful carpet underneath the trees.

We ate a picnic lunch by Glade Creek - sitting on rocks by the boat launch. There were these amazing insects that moved by the thousands along the water creating ripples. Along the road to the Glade Creek campground, I saw my first Downy woodpecker. It is one of the smallest woodpeckers - I would not have realized it was a woodpecker if I had not had the binoculars to see it more clearly.

New River Gorge has four visitor centers - Canyon Rim, Sandstone, Thurmon Depot, and Grand View. Canyon RIm and Sandstone are open year round. Canyon Rim is right near the beautiful New River Gorge Bridge, the world's second longest single arch bridge. We were not there for dramatic enough lighting for me to venture a photo (yes, I've gotten bad, if I can't get a good or great photo, I don't take one at all - silly me) The next day was going to be "Bridge Day." The bridge is closed to vehicular traffic and fills with pedestrians. Activities include Base jumping, rappelling, and high line, and rafting below. Naturally vendors supply food and refreshment as well as souvenir shirts, crafts, and photos, etc. While this might be a fun thing to attend another year, our time was limited and I was glad we happened by the day before rather than the day of the event.

We went from the falls area over to the Thurmon historic district. I had seen a backroads route that I wanted to explore. We found the beautiful Dunlap Creek:

Some parts of my backcountry route definitely fit in the "road less travelled' category, but it was a great road to be pretty much by yourself in a beautiful outdoor area. It was also a great place to create more of these artistic images that I have not come up with a great name for. I liked this one because of how the small tree shows up with its brilliant yellow foliage.

While I did not find that "perfect" place to photograph the New River, I did stop at the end of the day to get at least a few shots at the river level.

The next morning we went over to the Sandstone Visitor Center. This is a new, very beautiful Visitor Center - well worth the stop. We saw the Sandstone Falls from the road. It was a long hike down and it was a bright sunny day, so we continued our journey south following the foliage.

I would love to come back to this area and spend a week both exploring and trying to wait for those perfect lighting moments.

1 comment:

Mary Ann Melton said...

While I love to receive comments on my blog and while I may myself make political commentary for which I will welcome comment, I will remove posts that are blatantly political having nothing to do with the current blog post.