GLEN JEAN, WV (LOOTPRESS) – UPDATE: Due to a scheduling conflict, the public meeting will now be held on Thursday, January 11, 2024, from 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM. The location, Bank of Glen Jean, is still the same.
In a bid to revitalize the historic landscape of New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, the National Park Service (NPS) is extending an invitation to the public to attend a meeting regarding the proposed demolition of 35 “deteriorating and excess structures” within the park.
This initiative forms part of a broader project financed by the Great American Outdoors Act Legacy Restoration Fund, aimed at restoring historic structures, investing in park infrastructure, addressing deferred maintenance needs, and reducing operational costs.
Scheduled for Wednesday, January 10, 2024, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., the public meeting will be held at the Bank of Glen Jean located at 23 County Route 25/9 in Glen Jean.
During the gathering, the NPS will present comprehensive information regarding the proposal to demolish the structures, 21 of which hold historical significance and are either listed or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.
For those unable to attend the meeting, public materials and additional information will be accessible until January 15, 2024, on the NPS planning website.
The NPS proposal entails the removal of hazardous structures, proper disposal of associated building debris, and the restoration of sites to a condition harmonious with their natural surroundings.
The environmental and cultural impact of this removal will undergo assessments in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act.
Many of the structures in question were acquired by the NPS through land acquisition within established park boundaries.
Over time, they have become abandoned, dilapidated, and safety hazards, susceptible to trespassing and vandalism, according to the National Park Service.
The removal of these structures aims to alleviate deferred maintenance needs, eliminate excess yearly maintenance and law enforcement costs, and enable the NPS to allocate resources more efficiently toward maintaining facilities that park visitors can enjoy, according to the National Park Service.
Among the structures considered for removal are the following:
Charles Ashley Outbuilding – Thurmond
Charles Ashley Garage – Thurmond
May Bagoski House – Thurmond
Harold Smith House – Thurmond
Sidney Allen Ward House – Thurmond
Wedzel Young House – Thurmond
Marilyn Brown House – Thurmond
Tom Kelly House – Thurmond
Erskine Pugh Rental House – Thurmond
James Humphrey Sr. House – Thurmond
Thurmond Package Plant – Thurmond
Thurmond Ice House – Thurmond
McGuffin Garage – Thurmond
Philip A McClung/Meadows House – Thurmond
Dun Glen Building – Dun Glen
Dun Glen Ark – Dun Glen
Dun Glen Boat Storage Rack – Dun Glen
Dun Glen Mini Ark – Dun Glen
Prince Brothers’ (Monks) General Store – Prince
Harrah Coal House – Harrah Site
Harrah Outbuilding #2 – Harrah Site
Harrah Outbuilding #1 – Harrah Site
Harrah Hen House – Harrah Site
Harrah Smokehouse – Harrah Site
Harrah House – Harrah Site
Harrah Outhouse Remains – Harrah Site
James K Carper Barn – Grandview
Cochrane Farm Outbuilding #1 – Cochrane Farm
Cochrane Farm Outbuilding #2 – Cochrane Farm
James Phillips Storage Building #2 – Phillips Farm
James Phillips Farm Shed – Phillips Farm
James Phillips Outbuilding #1 – Phillips Farm
James Phillips House (collapsed) – Phillips Farm
Brookside Pool Chemical Treatment Building – Brookside
Vallandingham House (Addition Only) – Vallandingham
Photos of each structure are included at the beginning of this article in the order they are listed above. All photos are courtesy of the National Park Service.
The NPS anticipates completing the environmental and cultural review process by mid-2024, with the goal of implementing demolitions as early as fall 2024.
The broader context of this initiative lies within the Great American Outdoors Act, a concerted effort to address the extensive maintenance backlog in national parks.
Funded by revenue from energy development, this act allocates up to $1.3 billion per year for five years to the NPS, aiming to make substantial enhancements in national parks to ensure their preservation and provide opportunities for recreation, education, and enjoyment for current and future visitors.