MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- A team of West Virginia University researchers are hoping to get a better understanding of the cliffs surrounding the New River Gorge National River and what attracts visitors there.
The Morgantown school says it was awarded a $235,000 grant from the National Park Service to conduct an assessment of the cliffs in order to preserve the area.
The three-year project began in 2010. It includes a look at geological and botanical components, as well as an assessment of recreational users of the cliff areas.
Researchers say that the majority of the cliffs had been geologically and biologically unexplored. And there also had not been an extensive study on visitor use.Annual recreational visits to the river have risen from 230,000 to more than 1.1 million over the last 28 years.