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Sunday, April 8, 2012

American Alpine Club - New River Gorge Campground

Following the approach of the Grand Teton Climber's Ranch, the American Alpine Club (ACC) has been looking for new sites across the country. The formula is simple, provide affordable and accessible lodging options for climbers visiting world class climbing destinations. Recently, the AAC has invested in two new locations: the Shawangunks and the New River Gorge. Yes, you did read that correctly - the New River Gorge is getting an American Alpine Club campground. A strong and energetic climbing community, driven in part by the New River Alliance of Climbers, coupled with the diverse partnership of the AAC and Access Fund has made this unique opportunity possible. Before the project was given a green light the property needed to be re-zoned from land conservation to business & tourism. Now I know what some of you might be thinking when you read that.....Even though the property is being re-zoned the AAC plans to implement environmentally friendly building practices. For example, trees cleared to build roads will be used for the campground's shower house, pavilion and manager's quarters.
In the weeks leading up to pitch the proposal to the planning commission, I was consulted to help out with mapping the campground. This involved mapping the main access road, camping sites,  new trails, parking lots, etc. and incorporating this information into a geographic information system (GIS). I'm very excited to use my background in GIS to help out with this project. Below is a 34"x48" map that was created for the Planning Commission and Fayette County Commissioners to help pitch the proposal. The Planning Commission gave their consent with a 10-0 vote on 3/26/12. This good news was presented to the Fayette County Commission on 4/4/12 and was approved for re-zoning! The first phase of the project will involve constructing the main access road and roughing in around twenty campsites. Additional phases will involve building a pavilion, shower house, manager's quarters and constructing additional campsites, with an estimated build of 60 campsites. The project has a rich history and I want to thank everyone involved, especially Gene Kistler, NRAC and the AAC who continued to support the effort.