The Bridge Buttress Trail Project is a partnership between The Access Fund, New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, and the Appalachian Conservation Corps (ACC).
Over the spring of 2021, an ACC young adult AmeriCorps crew, based in Beckley, West Virginia, worked alongside two Access Fund trail builders and NPS staff to build legacy-quality dry laid stone steps and retaining walls to stabilize access to a popular climbing area in the New River Gorge.
The project itself stabilized a popular climbing and trail access point that was heavily eroded by growing user traffic. This work was needed to create a sustainable recreation opportunity and to ensure visitor safety.
The crew’s nearly 1,400 work-hours on the project included selecting, shaping, and installing 48 locally quarried stone steps and 52 square feet of retaining wall built to traditional NPS quality standards. The work crew used highline rigging and hand tools to place large stone at the base of the climbing area and to create several staircases to access various climbing routes in the area. Great care was taken to protect the resource while work was ongoing.
ACC is a program of Conservation Legacy with offices in Beckley, WV and Harrisonburg, VA. ACC’s drive is to build connections and opportunities for local communities though partnerships with public land managers. This project and partnership will serve as an anchor point for future local crews. Specifically, this project helped strengthen a growing partnership with the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve that is centered on creating career paths and mentorship opportunities for youth and young adults while completing critical conservation work in West Virginia.
Peter Kingham, NPS Roads and Trails Supervisor, provided technical expertise on-site. Pete’s knowledge of traditional trail building and personal drive to support and grow future conservationists was critical to the success of this project. With the support of NPS and The Access Fund, ACC is creating paths forward for West Virginia’s youth and young adults.
A detailed project plan and portfolio is available upon request.