[West Jefferson] – New River Conservancy (NRC) and New River State Park (NRSP) have begun the first phase of ReWilding Elk Shoals. NRC is raising money to complete this initial phase in order to reopen the property and repurpose the chapel as a public meeting space. This work will reopen Elk Shoals to the public for the first time in over 5 years.
Phase 1 of ReWilding Elk Shoals includes demolition of two derelict buildings, improving the beach area, riverbank restoration, and preparing the chapel to reopen as a public meeting space. “Once this work is compelte, we can move onto the next phase. Phase 2 will improve the campground area and plant hundreds of trees and shrubs along that section of the river.”, says NRC President George Santucci.
Demolition of the two derelict buildings has already begun. Where possible, contractors have salvaged wood, aluminum, plumbing, electrical and other materials to be refurbished and recycled. Improvements to the beach area are under way as well. When complete, the beach area will have an improved gravel parking area with handicap accessible parking and new picnic areas.
Riverbank restoration along the entrance to the property will involve installing stabilizing rock structures and planting native grasses, shrubs, and trees to prevent erosion and shade the stream.
Preparations for the community room have also begun. NRC and NRSP partnered with students from St. Joseph’s University out of Phildelphia, as part of an alternative Spring Break volunteer opporotunity, to begin preparing the chapel. Material and furniture from the chapel that can be salvaged will either be donated, auctioned off at a later date, or repurposed for the community room.
New River Conservancy and New River State Park have begun scheduling dates for more volunteer opporotunities at Elk Shoals. For more information on volunteer opporotunities contact: Summer Rich at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (336)-846-6267 ext. 326.
Founded in 1976, New River Conservancy is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to protect the waters, woodlands, and wildlife of the New River Watershed. The New River, whose headwaters, are in NC, flows through VA and West Virginia before joining the Gauley River to form the Kanawha River. Learn more about the New River Conservancy by visiting www.newriverconservancy.org.