The National Park Service has released a general management plan (GMP) for the New River Gorge, a 70,000-acre park along the New River in south central
The important aspect of this plan is that hunting will be permanently protected. Although hunting had been a discretionary activity in the park, its future was not threatened until the Service began a planning process which ignited efforts by anti-hunters to close the park forever to hunting.
In response to that threat an amendment was inserted into the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 which was signed into law a year ago. It changed the discretionary "may" to the authorized "shall." Therefore, all five of the management options addressed in the plan include this hunting mandate. The plan can be viewed on line at http://parkplanning.nps.gov. Select New River Gorge,
Public comments are being accepted until April 2nd and can be sent on line per the instructions given with the plan. Although the National Park Service is now required to open the park to hunting, it is still important for hunters to review each of the alternatives as they address hunting and submit comments.