Conservation Team Restoring Bridge Buttress in New River Gorge

Last week, the Conservation Team West crew arrived in Fayetteville, West Virginia to begin the second phase of restoration at the famous Bridge Buttress, one of the most popular climbing areas in the New River Gorge.

Bridge Buttress. Ancestral lands of S’atsoyaha, Tutelo and Moneton.

The New River Gorge, previously designated a National River, was recently named as America’s 63rd National Park, gaining the highest level of protection from the federal government. Bridge Buttress is one of the most popular climbing areas in the park because it’s stacked with classic routes with easy roadside access. But its popularity means that it has been heavily impacted by overcrowding, which has beat down belay areas and caused severe erosion, soil loss, and degradation of native plants.

Last fall, Access Fund teamed up with the New River Alliance of Climbers (NRAC) and the National Park Service (NPS) to begin much-needed restoration of this popular climbing area. Crews began the work of building sustainable stone staircases, retaining walls, and restoring native plants.

This spring, the Conservation Team will work alongside the Appalachian Conservation Corps and NPS trail staff to remove a rapidly deteriorating wooden staircase, replacing it with a solid stone staircase. The crews will employ a host of trail building techniques to quarry, shape, move, and place large stone blocks and timbers for the project. They will also reinforce several belay platforms and staging areas to protect tree roots and give space for native vegetation to thrive

Ancestral lands of S’atsoyaha, Tutelo and Moneton.

This comprehensive restoration project will bring Bridge Buttress up to the high standard it deserves as the premier climbing area in one of our most iconic National Parks. We’re excited to partner with the National Park Service on more climbing conservation projects in the future.

This project was made possible, in part, by a West Virginia Recreation Trails Program grant. The Conservation Team is made possible by the generous support of title sponsor Jeep, and supporting sponsors REI Co-op, La Sportiva, CLIF, Therm-a-rest, YETI, Mountain Hardwear, and Athletic Brewing Company.