MEADOW CREEK, W.Va. -- A new "flagship" National Park Service campground, featuring power and water hookups and drive-in sites for recreational vehicles, is taking shape in the southern end of the New River Gorge National River.
The new Meadow Creek Campground, located on the shore of the New River about two miles downstream of the Sandstone Visitor Center in Summers County, is scheduled to open early next summer.
The first phase of development for the new campground calls for 17 drive-in car sites, five drive-in RV sites and four walk-in sites for tent campers. Power will be available at all campsites and the five RV sites will also have access to water hookups. A large group-camping site also is part of the initial development plan.
Other campground amenities include communal drinking water spigots, vault toilets, an amphitheater for ranger-led interpretive programs and a public boat launch ramp.
Meadow Creek will be the first non-primitive campground in the New River Gorge National River and the first to charge fees.
National Park Service planners have developed a proposed fee schedule, based on rates charged by other private, state park and U.S. Forest Service campgrounds in the vicinity. By law, the fees must be comparable to and must not undercut rates at other campgrounds in the area.
Proposed fees for the new campground are $18 per night for walk-in, tent-only sites with power; $24 per night for drive-in car sites with power, and $28 per night for drive-in RV sites with power and water. Fees collected from campers at Meadow Creek will be used to cover electricity and water costs and to maintain other campground amenities at Meadow Creek and other camping areas in the park.
Primitive, no-fee campgrounds are operated by the National Park Service at Army Camp, off W.Va. 41 near Prince; Stone Cliff Beach, off W.Va. 25 near Thurmond; Grandview Sandbar, on Glade Creek Road near Prince; War Ridge/Backus Mountain, off Backus Mountain Road near McCreery.
"There's a growing need for campgrounds, particularly campgrounds with hookups for high-end RVs, in this area," said Doug Maddy, president of the Southern West Virginia Convention and Visitors Bureau. "This is a great development, and what makes it particularly great is that it's happening at the south end of the park, which hasn't seen the benefit from the park's presence that the north end has."
Funds have been allocated for planning -- but not yet for developing -- a second phase of the campground, which would bring the total number of walk-in tent sites to 10, drive-in car sites to 23, and drive-in RV sites to 7, according to Jamie Fields, planner at New River Gorge National River.
For more information on the campground and to submit comments on the proposed fees, visit the New River Gorge National River's website at www.nps.gov/neri and select from the links at the left side of the page "management," then "park planning," then "civic engagement for proposed new fees at Meadow Creek Campground" and then "document list."
Comments also may be submitted by mail to New River Gorge National River, Attn: Comment on Proposed Camping Fees, P.O. Box 246, Glen Jean, WV 25846-0246. Comments should be submitted no later than Sept. 15.
Reach Rick Steelhammer at rsteelham...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5169.