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Lower New River Watershed


LARC693D Studio: Land Development

Master of Landscape Architecture

Lower New River Watershed

West Virginia University

Acknowledgement I would like to thank the following people for contributing to our project. Carrie Moore Levi Rose Don Stricker Deputy Darden Bobby Bower Tristan Cleveland Christy Bailey Nicki Taylor George Santucci Gary Hartley Adam Hodges Heather Lucas Melissa Dragon

Assistant Professor, West Virginia University, Landscape Architecture/Environmental Design Wolf Creek watershed/Plateau action network New River Gorge National River - National Park Service New River Gorge National River - National Park Service New River Gorge Regional Development Authority New River Gorge Regional Development Authorit River outfitters/New river clean water alliance U.S. Environmental Protection Agency National committee for new river Boy Scouts of America National Coal Heritage Clean Water Alliance Thurmond

Contents Introduction


Historic Context Social History Cultural History Economic History Environmental History

6 8 12 16 24

Inventory & Analysis


Social Aspect Cultural Aspect Economic Aspect Environmental Aspect Conceptual Plan Visions Cultural Travel Routes Recreational Trail Routes Streetscape Enhancement Stormwater Management Thurmond Historic Park Project Statement Inventory & Analysis Conceptual Design Design Detail Construction Detail

32 44 52 60 88 90 92 96 100 102 104 106 108 110 112 122





The Lower New River Watershed The Lower New River watershed is located in the northern part of New River watershed which is in Ohio River watershed(Figure 1). The New River, part of the Ohio River watershed, is a tributary of the Kanawha River, going through North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia is over 320 miles long. It was named the New River because it was not known to early Atlantic Coast explorers. However, it is one of the oldest rivers in the world, and It is selected as American Heritage River. The Lower New watershed is over 690-square-miles long located between Summers, Raleigh, and Fayette counties in the southern West Virginia, from Hawks Nest Dam in the north to Blue stone dam in the south(Figure 3). It holds 15 subwatersheds that drain into ma jor tributary creeks(Figure 2). The watershed area has abundant natural resources that has cultivated unique industries and culture. A ma jority of the watershed is forested, and approximately 6 % of the watershed is developed (=110 square miles). The most populated city in this area is Beckley in Raleigh County. Other ma jor cities and towns are, Ansted , Fayetteville, Oak Hill, and Hinton. Over 9,000 people live in the Lower New River Watershed.

Over 9,000 People Live in

Watershed Area 690 sq-miles 1.


6 % of the Watershed is Developed

15 Subwatersheds and Tributaries



(n.d.). New River Gorge Bridge [ photograph]. Retrieved from New-River-Gorge-Bridge-101602659

Figure 1. New River Watershed Adapted. From Lower New River State of the Watershed Report by New River Water Clean Alliance.

Figure 2. Subwatersheds and ma jor tributary creeks in the Lower New River watershed.

Lower New River Watershed

Hawks Nest Dam

Fayette County Fayetteville


Summers County Raleigh Conty

Hinton Bluestone Dam




mi 10

Figure 3. Study site : the Lower New River


The Lower New River area has such a dramatic history between 18th century to 20th century. The land where Native American used to travel for hunting and gathering, experienced European settlement, Civil war, and the thrive and decline of Coal Industry. This history is also the history of people who supported the growth of the United States.


Historic Context

In 1770s, descendants from families in Virginia settled in the upper New River area. There were conflicts between settlers and Native Americans, and Native Americans soon left the area. People survived mostly by hunting and farming before the mining industy started in the 1870s. Also, the river was the most reliable source of transportation until railroad was built. The Chesapeake & Ohio railroad was built along both side of the New River valley nearby creating a through route to the Ohio to Mississippi Rives in 1870s. At the same time, the railroads developed lumbering and coal mining, and this area grew rapidly. At first English and Scottish immigrants were imported as workers for digging coal. Later, Southern European “hunkies� settled in the coal camps along Dunloop and White Oak Creeks. In the latter years a ma jority of the miners in the New River Gorge were African-Americans.







However, this coal field went into decline after World War 2, because of the emergence of alternative energy supplies such as oil, natural gas and, from the late 1950s, nuclear power used for electricity. Between 1950 and 2000, Southern West Virginia’s population decreased by one-third. There used to be 60 coal towns along the New river Gorge, but almost all of them were abandoned by 21st century.




Railroad Industrialization IImmigrant Native American

Before the western settlement started in 1770s, it is known that Native American people lived in the New River region from 10,500 to 8,000 B.C. It was their hunting field for mammoth, musk ox, mastodon, and caribou. New River was the place for visiting and hunting for them. They settled themselves in the area along the river since they started agriculture approximately 6,000 years ago.

European Settlement

Coal Mining

Early Settlement. (n.d.). New River Gorge Historic Resource Study, Key Moor [ photograph]. Retrieved from

Miners. (n.d.). Simple Truth [photograph]. Retrieved from http://easytruths.



Depopulation 10

Jennifer Johnson(n.d.). Things I love [photograph]. Retrieved from

Restoration Preservation Abandoned Ghost towns




At the same time, recreational activities have become popular and it has become one of the biggest businesses in this area. Originally, residents of the southwestern Virginia/southeastern West Virginia region have used the area for recreational purposes, especially hunting, fishing, trapping, and camping. Since the first rafting company began operations in 1968, the New River has become one of the best whitewater rafting rivers in the country. In 1978, National Park Service approved the outstanding natural scenic and historic values of this area, and New River Gorge National River was established as a unit of the national park system. Located in the Appalachian Mountains of southern West Virginia, the park encompasses over 72,808 acres of land along 53 miles of the New River from Bluestone Dam to Hawks Nest State Park. Today, New River Gorge National River is renowned for its excellent recreational opportunities: whitewater rafting, canoeing, hiking, rock climbing, fishing, hunting, bird watching, camping, picnicking, and biking.







There used to be Native American in the Lower New River area, but there is few cultural elements left except for the path called “Indian Path” along Paint Creek, which was used as a path for their hunting rout. More than that, the culture cultivated by coal Industry is unique and outstanding in this area. In the New River Gorge, there were about 60 coal mining towns which began when the C&O Railway came through the Gorge in 1873. These towns, most of which are now gone, were owned by the coal companies which leased housing to the poor West Virginians, European immigrants and southern African-Americans who were lured to the jobs which mining provided. Once a miner became employed in a camp, the coal company controlled his life and the lives of his entire family. The mining companies provided schools, churches and medical services for the miners’ families, and groceries and other goods were available for purchase through the one company store within each camp. Scrip coins were made by each coal camp companies as forms of advance payment on the miners’ future paychecks, so they could buy staple goods for their families in the coal camp company stores. The lives that people had in coal towns were really hard, with dangerous job, and low payment. There were several tragic accidents occurred and killed hundreds of people. However, this unique environment created the strong community bonds and unique culture. The music known as Blue grass or Appalachian music, become popular in Appalachian region including this area of southern West Virginia.

Native American




Industrializaion 13.

1870s 14.



Pay day. (n.d.). West Virginia Mines [photograph]. Retrieved from


Hard Life & Music 1920s 16..


The music represents a lifeline of dark, bittersweet melodies, descended from Scottish and English traditions and reflecting the resilience and inspiration with which musicians responded to the hardships of West Virginia – geographic isolation, poverty, labor- intensive jobs, and dismal economy. The songs run from the profound and rare to the amusing and nostalgic.



Since the coal industry declined, most coal camps were abandoned, and people moved into large cities such as Beckley, however the coal industry is still the first industry in this area, and the communities in this area still have a strong bond and unique mountain culture. Celebrating their history and culture, they have many festivals and fairs such as Bridge day and Appalachian Festival. In addition, the recent popularity of outdoor recreational activities is bringing a new culture there.




Outdoor Recreation




Festivals 23.


Settlers living in the region survived by hunting and farming in the lowlands near the river. They also built several mills along the river for grounding grain. They found that this area produce salt and the Mercer Salt Works were established near Lick Creek in 1850. This is the most prominent industry in the area. Salt was exported to other region by boats through the river. River had been the ma jor transportation until the railway was built. The New River Gorge region was opened up to the outside world in 1873 with the establishment of the railroad. This area became one of the most important areas which helped fuel American industry by supplying the coal and lumber. The history and archeology associated with the lumbering industry can be seen in the ruins of old towns like Hamlet. This area once vividly illustrated the cycle of commercial logging in the southern Appalachians. The demand for lumber grew steadily and Hamlet and Glade rode the boom, but the logging practices of the time brought both the forests and the towns to doom. From the 1880s to the 1930s, the old-growth forests of West Virginia were completely cut down. No more trees, no more logging or logging towns, the mills closed, the towns and narrow gauge rail-line were abandoned and the metal section of the bridge was recycled for use during WW II.

The New River Industries 1770s











Bridge piers on the New River near the mouth of Glade Creek. 31.



Old moss-covered foundations are all that remain of the townsite of Hamlet. 32.


Lumbering in West Virginia Between 1879 and 1912, about 20 billion board feet of timber was cut in West Virinia. This represented about 8.5 million acres, or 85% percent of the state’s virgin forest, destroyed. 1,500,000,000

By 1920, most of the virgin timber was gone. The lumver industry began a steady decline.


The numver of trees our increased dramatically in the early 1900s, after railroads were build to take logging equipment deep into the forest and haul lumber out to market.





1906 1908 1910 1912 1914 1916 1918 1920 Figure 4. Lumbering transition. From “State’s history reveals bitter clear-cutting legacy”.


The New River Coalfield is located in northeastern Raleigh County and southern Fayette County. The coal in this field is a low volatile coal, and the seams of coal that have been mined include Sewell, Fire Creek, and Beckley. This is very high quality bituminous coal rated at approximately 15,000 BTU (16,000 kJ). The New River Field was the chief producer of beehive coke in Southern West Virginia before the 1890s and after the 1920s. In the interim period, it was second to the Pocahontas Coalfield. After the energy revolution from coal to oil, the demand of coal declined rapidly. Between 1950 and 2000, Southern West Virginia’s population decreased by onethird. Unemployed miners and their families left the state in droves, leaving behind remnants of a once-thriving region. In many places, these structures still exist, displaying coalfield history captured in time. Over 60 coal towns were once located there, supported by independent commercial districts at Beckley, Oak Hill, Mount Hope, and Fayetteville. By the 21st century, many coal camps had partially or completely returned to nature.

Decline 1960s




Residential Area in Thurmond


Turmond - Depot



Turmond - Downtown

Figure 5. Coal mining towns. From “New River Field”.

Restored Depot

Restored Downtown 17

In 1968, the first rafting company was built, and since then, the New River has become poplar place for whitewater rafting in the country. In the last 42 years, more than two and a half million guests have come for rafting, with an average of more than 100,000 guests per year over the last 20 years. In 2010, rafting companies directly employed more than 1,000 people, according to the data gathered by the West Virginia Professional River Outfitters. Since the whole area along the New river was registered as a national park in 1978, various recreation businesses have begun, and it has been growing as one of the important industry in this area. Fishing is one of the most popular activities on the main stem of the New River. The New River, an excellent warmwater fishery, is home to a wide diversity of fish including bass (smallmouth, largemouth, striped, and rock), walleye, muskellunge, crappie, bluegill, carp, and channel catfish. Fishing brought an estimated $1.2 billion to the West Virginia’s economy in 2006. More than one million visitors spend an estimated $130 million annually in the New River Gorge region. Festivals and events are also bringing economic benefits in this area. The New River Birding and Nature Festival, one of the top 10 birding events in the country, draws bird watchers from near and far each year. This weeklong event generates an estimated $100,000 in direct income each year, more than $10,000 of which supports local educational programs for high school students and programming at the Wolf Creek Park wetlands boardwalk. They also have the Boyscout area developed which is expected to bring a big economic benefit in this region. The Boy Scouts of America’s (BSA) is planning to have a new national high adventure camp and National Jamboree site located on 10,600 acres adjacent to the New River Gorge National River in Fayette County.

New Economy 1960s









The ratio of Employment by Industry for the three couties

1 2 12 11 10

3 9






Figure 6. The ratio of Employment by Industry for the three couties ( Fayette, Raleigh,Summers),1990

The ratio of Earning by Industry for the three couties

1 2

12 11 10 9

3 8


4 6


Figure 7. The ratio of Earning by Industry for the three couties ( Fayette, Raleigh,Summers),1990


“ The Summit “ 39.

- Boy Scout Camp Project 100 - year Vision -



Figure8. Boy Scouts to build trails in New River Gorge. From “ Boy Scouts to build trails in New River Gorge” by New River


Figure9. Geographic Features.From“The Summit Bechtel Reserve Map”.

This area was chosen for the camping site for one reason it provides the opportunity to incorporate rafting and other river-related activities as a centerpiece of BSA adventure programs. The economic investment associated with building and developing the programs for the camp will exceed $200 million. When the camp is fully operational, BSA will have 500 to 600 scouts per day boating various sections of the New River, for an additional 25,000 rafting days per year. They are also planning to host the National Scout Jamboree at the site in 2013 and every four years after that. This event will bring more than 200,000 people to the area over a ten-day period. They are also planning to incorporate this project into community revitalization.

Figure 10. Geographic Features. From “The Summit Bechtel Reserve Map”.


Orogeny The New River’s origins can be traced back to the birth of the Appalachian Mountains and an ancient river called the Teays. Late in the Paleozoic Era, 500 million years ago, the North American and African plates collided, buckling and shattering the earth’s crust and forcing the Appalachians up towards the sky. The Teays River, with headwaters near present-day Blowing Rock, NC, drained the slopes of the new mountain range. As the Teays River picked up speed and power it began cutting through the roots of the old mountains, all the while maintaining it northerly flow. This action continues today in the spectacular New River Gorge, where in some place the river has cut 1500 feet down through the old Appalachians to create a deep canyon. Because the New River is so old, its habitats and wildlife have been able to achieve a form of stability, and unique. Those species are typically Atlantic coastal plain and piedmont, such as melic grass, living with northern mountain species. During the time that Native American was using this area for hunting, the impact to the environment was not significant, however since European setters moved in this area and civilization started, the landscape has been changed. Especially, most of the original deciduous forest stands and understory species have been impacted by past and current activities associated with timbering, mining, agriculture, transportation, utilities, and the exclusion of fire. From 1880s to the 1930s, forests were degraded because of excessive lumbering, and rivers were polluted by acid mine drainage.

Figure 11. Diagrammatic evolution of high arsenic belt in Northern Appalachian Mountains. From “Arsenic in groundwaters in the Northern Appalachian Mountain belt”.



Acer saccharinum

Betula lenta



Plethodon nettingi

Glaucomys sabrinus



Spiraea virginiana

Isotria medeoloides

After the coal and lumber industries declined, the forests have recovered slowly, but they are the secondary


Ecoregions Figure 12. Ecoregions by Wikipedia.

17: Appalachian mixed mesophytic forests 44.


Quercus montana 49.


Pruche du Canada 50.

Corynorhinus townsendii virginianus 54.


Odocoileus virginianus

Ursus americanus 55.

Arabis serotina

Tilia americana


Ptilimnium nodosum

Trifolium stoloniferum


Acid mine Drainage



Forest Destruction



Fecal Impaired Stream

forests, not the same as the old forests which had grown since ancient time. Speaking of water quality, of the 93 stream miles impaired by poor biological conditions, and nearly 70 percent of all the streams are also impaired by acid mine drainage. Abandoned mine lands over 2,500 acres in the Lower New River watershed are considered the source of metals and pH impairments. In addition to mining-related sources, metals can also come from forestry practices, oil and gas operations, erosion, and the presence of roads and urban development. Moreover, wastewater treatment systems, failing septic systems and household sewage straight-piped into streams without being treated are causing raised levels fecal coliform bacteria.

Sources of Water Pollution

Figure 13, 14 . New River Watershed Adapted. From Lower New River State of the Watershed Report by New River Water Clean Alliance.


The Bluestone Lake Project was authorized by Executive Order of the President Franklin Roosevelt, September 12, 1935, and the Flood Control Acts of June 22, 1936, and June 28, 1938, for the purposes of flood control and power development. Construction of the project was begun in early 1941, suspended in 1944 because of World War II. Work resumed in 1946, and completed for operational purposes in 1949. The Bluestone dam is a concrete gravity dam, and the size is 2,040 acres. Since Bluestone Dam was build, it has changed natural flow of the water, and influenced the river ecosystem. Because the dam holds the amount of water and keeps the river level constant, the temperature of the water has become warmer and constant annually. It has also regulated the dynamism of water flow in the flood plain, and decreased the biodiversity.

Bluestone Dam


In recent years, it was discovered that Bluestone Dam would be unable to pass the Probable Maximum Flood possible at the site, which could cause failure of the dam. To remedy the problem, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has undertaken a Dam Safety Assurance program for Bluestone. The DSA project includes raising the dam by 8 feet (2.4 m), installing anchors and thrust blocks to tie the dam into bedrock, spillway improvements and other work. The first phase of the project was completed in October 2004. The second phase, installing bedrock anchors, is underway as of March 2010 and expected to be finished in 2011. Three additional phases remain to be constructed.

General Ecological Impacts of Dam Eliminating floodplain diversity Altering hydric rates & sediment movement Changing water temperature Impeding migratory fish movement

River Temperature (C)

• • • •

Month 26

Figure 15. The difference of river temperatures by regulated and unregulated.




Dam Data

Dam Type: Concrete Gravity Size: 2,040 acres Drainage Area: 4,565 sq-miles Flood Control Pool: 36 miles Maximum Height: 165 feet Length: 2,048feet



New River Gorge National Park


Hawks Nest Dam 65.

Canyon Rim VC 66.

New River Gorge Bridge 67.

Rock Climing 68.

Grist Mill 69.

keymoor Mine Site

Thurmond Historic District 70.


Figure 16. New River Gorge National Park Map. From New River Gorge National Park.

Sandstone Falls


• • • • • • • •

9 area with Trails Visitor Centers Picnic Areas Campgrounds Public River Access Overlooks Sinages Preservation Area

• •

Fire management Vegetation Management Wildlife Management Safety Management Trails and Facilities


• • •

Step 1(2005). Initiate Project Step 2(2005-2006). Define Planning Context and Foundation and Project Scoping Step 3(2006-2007). Develop and Evaluate Alternatives Step 4(2009-2010). Prepare Draft Plan Step 5(2010-2011). Revise and Publish Final Plan


Historical Preservation & Restoration (Thurmond, Army Camp, Kaymoor...) Endangered Species Re-intorduction (Peregine Falcon)


• •


In 1978, the New River was authorized as a national park by NPS because of the unique history and abundant natural resources that this area has. The authorized boundary currently encompasses 72,186 acres within a 53-mile corridor along the New River that extends from the city of Hinton on the south to the upstream limit of Hawks Nest State Park on the north. Since 1978 the NPS has acquired 52,960 acres from willing sellers within the boundary and has secured conservation easements on another 164 acres. They have worked on the general management plan by using a six-step planning process. The plan had 5 alternative plans and NPS selected alternative 5 as their final plan.

Environment Education Program Rangers in Training Program Maps & Leaflets

Step 6(2012-). Implement the Approved Plan Alternative 5 would preserve areas for primitive recreational experiences from end to end of the park. Interspersed with these primitive areas would be cultural and interpretive resource focal areas where visitors could explore communities and other places that once populated the gorge, experience the river, and enjoy a variety of recreational experiences. A north-south through park connector composed of improved scenic roads and trails would enable visitors to travel the length of the park, visiting these areas and accessing the backcountry. Partnerships with gateway communities and improved rim to river experiences would foster links to the park as a whole and to specific cultural and interpretive resource areas within the park. Other connecting trails outside the park – made possible through partnerships –would offer visitors an opportunity to hike or bike from New River Gorge National River to the Bluestone National Scenic River, the Gauley River National Recreation Area, and other attractions in the region. 29

Planning The Lower New River watershed is located in three different counties. Because of that, they do not have one integrated planning covering whole watershed area. Each counties and cities have their own planning for their development or land uses, and also several organizations are working with their own missions and goals.

Transportation Routes Interstate Highways State Routes Other Roads Railroads

In state level planning, one of the impacts to this area was transportation planning. Department of transportation, WV started the interstate highway projects in 1950s. Before that, Route 19 (Originally, it was route 4) was the main route going through from the north to the south in West Virginia. The first segment of Interstate 64 to be built started in 1958, and the final segment of Interstate 64 to be completed was between Sam Black Church and the West Virginia Turnpike near Beckley. Since interstate was opened, it has allowed people and products to travel through more easily from the region to other regions. Cities and towns along the interstate have been developed mostly, but still the population has been decreased since the coal industry

Figure 18. Transportation Routes.

Beckley 19




Raleigh County Memorial Airport


Aerial Photo of Beckley

The main routes are the interstate 64 and 77, and U.S Highway Route 19, Route 61, Route 41, Route 3, and Route 97. These routes give accesses to Charleston, Washington D.C, Charlottesville and Richmond in NC from the Lower New River Watershed. Beckley is a hub city of those routes. The location of this city has invited businesses, especially related to coal industry. 30

Economic Development

Parks & Wildlife Management Area

Mining Permit Boundary

National Park Boundary

Industrial Parks

State Park Boundary

Industrial Sites

Wildlife Management Areas

Manufacturing and Business

Exisiting Trails

Office Buildings


Figure 19. Economic Development.

Industorial Park in Beckley After WWII, coalfields were closed, and not many active coalfields exist along the river. However, Frasure Creek Mining LLC began operation of mountain-top removal mining close to Fayetteville. Coal mining is still the first industry, and many manufacturing companies are located in this area. In addition, industrial parks have been built in some area, are inviting diverse businesses.



15 mi

Figure20. Parks & Wildlife Management Area.


Bald Eagle in New River area

West Virginia is known as one of the most biodiverse area in the world. The New River area has some rare species such as Bald eagle and Indiana Bat. New River Gorge National Park, state parks, and wildlife management areas have their own plans to preserve the ecosystem. The trails going through the natural provide an opportunity for people to learn about the nature. 31


139,798 people live in Fayette, Raleigh, and Summers County now. The peak population was almost 200,000 on 1950s, and 30% of the population decreased since then. While some towns have the issue of depopulation, aging, and abandoned houses, some citizen groups or movements are trying to help the communities.

Social Aspect Inventory and Analysis




According to Table 1, the total population of Fayette, Ralegh, and Summers Couty is 139,798. 57% of the people (79,220) live in Raleigh County, 34% of them (47,579) live in Fayette County, and 9% of them live in Summers County (12,999). 22% of the population of Raleigh County lives in Beckley, which is the most populated city in the Lower New River watershed. 16% of the population in Fayette County lives in Oakhill, which is the second most populated city in this watershed. 6% of the population of Fayette county lives in Fayetteville, and 22% of the population of Summers County lives in Hinton. The average ratio of the population living in those cities is 22% in the watershed area. This means that approximately one of every five people lives in city areas, and four of

every five people live in suburban areas.

The difference of population density between the three counties area is recognized. The population density of Raleigh is almost two times more populated than that of Fayette County, and five times bigger than that of Summers County. The population densities of the ma jor cities are Beckley (1,856.1), Oak hill (1570.9), Fayetteville (934.8), and Hinton (1244.5). Beckley, the county seat of Raleigh, is also most densely populated in this area. A large difference in racial makeup is not seen between those three counties, but Raleigh has a larger Hispanic and Asian population in comparison to the other counties. As the largest city in this area with the intersection of ma jor highways and state routes, there is the possiblity of a more dynamic flow of people through Raleigh County. Table1. Demographic in the three couties ( Fayette, Raleigh,Summers)


Analysis According to the population by age ranges, 21% of the total population in the watershed area is under 18 years old, and 17% is older than 65 years old. The age from 18 to 64, which means labor force, is 62% of the total population. The average ratio of the population under 28 years old in the United States is 23.3%, and the population older than 65 is 13.3%. The Lower New River watershed has an aging population in the United States. The ratio of the population by age ranges does not show a big difference between the three counties, but the ratio of children(under 18 years old) is less and that of elderly( more than 65 years old) is more in Summers County compared to the other two counties. There is no significant difference on the composition of households between the three counties. The average ratio of the households with children under 18 years old is 28% of the total households in the watershed area. The ratio of households with no children (Couples do not have children, or couples live alone after their children left from them) is the highest with 54%. 27% of the total households live by themselves, and 50% of them (13% of the total households) are older than 65 years old. The families live together is 69% of the total number of households. The average number of house units per family which is a measure of housing equivalent to the living quarters of one household. is 1.7, and per house hold is 1.2. The housing unit per mile of Raleigh County is approximately two times more dense than that of Fayette County, and three times more dense than that of Summers County. House unit is This means that houses are more densely placed in Raleigh County compared to the other two counties.



ge ran by a ge s

17 %


Black or African American

co m

Figure2. P op ul


io at

21 %

Native American Asian

Pacific Islander




Hispanic or Latino Two or more Others

27 %

Figure3. The

keup (%) ma

s po

n itio

of Househ old s(




l na

a drastic increase and decrease of the population in Fayette County



There was


with children under the age of 18 married couples living together A female householder with no husband present


Percentage of population under the age of 18

White Black or African American Native American Asian Pacific Islander Hispanic or Latino Two or more Others

Percentage of population from 18 to 24

Percentage of population under the age of 18 Percentage ofPercentage population from 18from to 24 of population 25 to 44 Percentage of population from 25 to 44 of population 45 to 64 Percentage ofPercentage population from 45from to 64 Percentage of population 65 years of age

Households with children under the age of 18 Married couples living together A female householder with no husband

Percentage of population 65 years of age or older


Inventory and Raleigh County in the past 120 years, but it was not seen in Summers County (

Figure4). The topography is really steep, and the access to this area is poor. Moreover, there is little amount of coal underground in Summers County. These might be the reasons that there has not been significant development in this area. Similar movement of the population change are seen in Fayette County and Raleigh County(Figure4),but the changes are more radical in Fayette County. The population increased rapidly from the 1870s to the 1950s due to the coal industry. The rapid change of the population shows that there was large numbers of immigrants came into this area with the growth of the coal industry and decent amount of them have left this area after the coal industry started declining. The peak population was almost 200,000 in the 1950s, but 30% of the population left this area since then. It assumes that the 90% of the population of Fayette County and Raleigh County are the people moved into this area since the coal industry started, and large amount of the population is the third generation from them. It means that many people are related to the history of the coal industry in this area, and most of them. During the 1950s to the 1970s, 40% of the population of Fayette County and the 30% of the population of Raleigh County decreased with the decline of the coal industry. In the 1980s, both counties had approximately 10,000 people increased, but 10,000 people decreased during the next 10 years. Since then, the movement of the population is stable with the decreasing tendency. According to the figure 5, the population of Beckley did not increase with the decrease of the population in Raleigh County. It suggests that there was not a large number of people

that moved into Beckley after some of the coal camps were closed.

The population by age ranges of Beckley shows the ratio of the population older than 65 years old is higher than that of Raleigh County (Table2). The composition of household also shows



110,000 100,000








70,000 Fayette 60,000



50,000 40,000








20,000 10,000


0 1950

Figure4. Population Movement in Fayette, Raleigh,and Summers County 36







Figure5. Population Movement in Raleigh County,and Beckley

Analysis that the ratio of the households living alone who are 65 years of age or older in Beckley is higher than that of Raleigh County. Two reasons could be assumed as the cause of this. One is that young people like to live in suburban area. Generally, the time when cities were built, populations concentrated in the cities, but since the new idea of the lifestyle of living in a house with yards in suburban area became popular in 1960s, there is a tendency of young people live in suburban area. The other reason is that there are older people moving into Bekley after their retirement. Beckley has good accesses from other states, less expenses living costs, a good climate, and beautiful nature. According to the website called “�, Beckley is one of the best cities for retirement people in the southern West Virginia. In Summers County where the influence from the coal industry was much less compared to the other two counties, the population still increased 10,000 between the 1880s to the 1950s. Since then the population has been decreasing gradually, but there is not rapid changes in the past 100 years. It assumes that the most of the people have not moved out from this


Table2. Demographic in the three couties ( Fayette, Raleigh,Summers)


Perception of natural resources

From the 1880s to the 1930s, the oldgrowth forests of West Virginia were completely cut down.





Abandoned houses, trashes in the front yeard, uncared landscapes are seen in the suburban area in the Lower New River watershed.

The European perspective on the relationship between humans and nature, based on Christianic paradigm, is the belief that humans were created to have dominion over nature and all its creatures. With this paradigm and the great progress of technology and science, we have exploited natural resources, degraded natural environment and created serious environmental problems. In the 1950s, the environmental movement occurred due to the concern over the situation of nature, and the idea of preservation of natural habitat, wiseuse of natural resources and management of land have been developed. The same situation occurred in the Lower New River watershed area. From 1870s to 1950s,

coal industry, but because of the beginning of recreational activities mainly on white water and the authorization of the New River Gorge National Park, public environmental consciousness seems to have been raised. Moreover, the negative influence of mining to human health has been discovered by scientific researches, and it resulted in development of some environmental organizations against coal mining. There are some citizen groups or movements engaged in environmental preservation, watershed, recreational activities, and also beautification in the Lower New watershed. Their activities have resulted

natural resources were exploited and in creating sense of community in degraded because of timber and the the town. For instance, some fire hydrants 38

Analysis Sense of the communities are seen by small amenities in the cities.


Boy Scout Jamboree is expected to be engaged in the community activities and anhance the Lower New River area.


Beautification toolkit is available online. It help people care about their community more and bring sense of community into their towns.


are painted and flowers decorated along streets in the downtown, Beckley, and some trash cans were built aesthetically pleasing by citizens in Fayetteville. There is also a historic preservation and restoration project in Thurmond. Moreover, the project called “Beautification Toolkit� which encourages people to beautify their communities is starting in the New River area. These show

that they have consciousness and care for the environment and community.

However, because there are still some areas do not have wastewater treatment facilities, and some properties and yards are less taken care of, it assumes that the consciousness and cares to environment and community are not strong in the suburban area. It estimated

78% of the total population lives in the suburban area. The Boy Scout jamboree will start to be held every four years starting in 2013 in Summit in Fayette County, and it has encouraged people to pay attention to their community and clean up their own community. In every jamboree, volunteer activities will be held with community involvement, and it is expected that these activities will provide the opportunity to bond people with environment in the community and enhance the community by themselves. These recent activities and incidences could result in creating membership, influence, and shared emotional connection in the process of raising the sense of community on the sense of community theory. 39

Sense of place

Figure 6. Sense of Places in the Lower New River watershed 40

Individual Scale

Regional Community Social Scale Scale Scale



Analysis 66.

The place identity of the Lower New River watershed is the New River Gorge and the steep mountains along the river. The unique dynamic natural landscapes contribute to building the sense of place, and the New River Gorge Bridge is a symbolic structure for the region. This bridge is famous as the third biggest steel bridge in the world, and from 120,000 to 200,000 visitors are estimated to attend the annual oneday event called “Bridge day� for celebrating the bridge. These facts contribute to people having pride and place bonding to the region.

The main cities in each county are a place for working, shopping, meeting, and recreation. They are the places where people have interaction randomly through those activities. As planned cites, mostly the coathouse is placed in the center of the town and developed around that is grid system in the downtown area. Moreover, the architecture is usually tall and they have vertical feeling. These characteristics create a unique and historic atmosphere even suberban areas have a sense of place.

Public space, private space, and social space are overlapped for people who live in a city. It depends on the city and area how strong the community bonds and the sense of place belonging, but it is easy to build sense of place on community level compared to suburban area in a city, because information transmission is smoother, and some activities are more likely to occur, and community projects are often conducted by the strong leadership of government. In Beckley, Oak hill, and Fayetteville some citizen groups are working on community enhancement. The sense of place for people who live in suburban area is likely to be built at churches, bars or cafes in their local area. Post offices could be the places bonding people in the community in the both of cities and suburb. Moreover, schools and some sports clubs often play an important role in creating place bonding for people through children. 80.

Individual level; some recreational activities are one of the elements which create sense of the place in the Lower New River area. The abandon natural resources of New River area provide some recreational activities such as hunting, fishing, ATV, Kayaking, rafting, rock climbing, and so on. Those activities could be daily activities for people who live in this area. Also, spending time with their family or friends at their own house, or in their community could build their sense of place. 37.




Access to services

Main cities in the Lower New River watershed have broad-band accessibility, but most suburban areas do not have a good accessibility. Some areas do not have any signal for cellphone and internet services. Some areas even do not have good road access or far from the main roads because of the steep topography. One of the most prevalent issues in this area is water pollution. According to the Figure 7 and 8, sewer treatment facilities are located in the populated areas, but almost all of the streams in this areas show high fecal coliform levels. This is not because they do not have enough sewer systems, but because the system of the collection system has a problem on how it treats wastewater. This systems called combined sewers are designed to capture both stormwater and to deliver swage from households to the plant for treatment. When it has a heavy rain, stormwater overwhelms the system designed to move and treat wastewater, resulting in combined swear overflows.

Fecal Impaired Stream

Sources of Water Pollution


Figure 7. New River Watershed Adapted. From Lower New River State of the Watershed Report by New River Water Clean Alliance.

Analysis Sewer treatment facilities Discharging facilities Figure 8. The location of sewer treatment facilities and discharging facilities


The shapes of the towns and cities, and Architectural styles tell us their origins and the influences of their history from each period. Especially, the layout of coal towns and the Architectural styles of their houses are unique in the Lower New River watershed, which is one of their identity. 44

Inventory and Analysis

Cultural Aspect


The layout of the cites

There are three different patterns recognized clearly for the cities and towns in the Lower New River watershed. One of the patterns is the cities that have been developed as county seats, and the second one is the towns created for coal mining from 1870s to 1950s. The third one is the suburban area with scattered pattern of residences. 1. County seat The county seat of each county is Fayetteville (Fayette County), Beckley (Raleigh County), and Hinton (Summers County). Each city has some patterns of grids and geometry shapes in their streets and the layout of the buildings. This means that these cities are designed cities. Each city has a courthouse in the center of the grid shapes. While Hinton has a grid system for the whole city(Figure3), Fayetteville and Beckley has only small size of grids in the center of the cities, and the rest of area has streets extending from the center towards each direction along the topography( Figure1,2).


il ra il T



Rail T rail

Figure1. The map of Beckley in 1932 and the pattern of the city

Figure2. The map of Fayetteville in 1928 and the pattern of the city

Figure3. The map of Summers in 1914 and the pattern of the city

Settlement started in 1740s in Beckley and the city ( Beckleyville) was authorized as a county seat of Raleigh County in 1850 by the act creating Raleigh County. Beckley courthouse was built in 1852. In Fayetteville, settlement started in 1830s, and it received the title for the county seat in 1873, the courthouse was built in 1897. Hinton was established in 1873 with the time when the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad was built. Their courthouse was built right after that in 1876. Therefore, it is possibly estimated that Fayetteville and Beckley still have the organic shapes of the cities in their patterns which had been made before the city planning and design became common, and whole city of Hinton was designed based on the rail road.


Analysis In addition, the shapes of the cities are related with the topography. Fayetteville and Beckley are built along creeks, and the topography where those cities are on is less steep compared to the topography in the area of Hinton. It allowed Fayetteville and Beckley to grow radially to outside of the cities. The ma jority of the immigrants in this area are composed of English, Irish, and Scottish People. The shape of the cities is possibly recognized as a diamond shape which is the really traditional shape of Irish town. Hinton has a linear shape for the city layout because it was built on the riverside along the New River Gorge with steep topography and on the narrow site. 2. Industrial towns Since the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad was built, and the coal and timber industries started, the towns that have efficient shapes for those industries appeared. Mostly, the shape of the towns is linear because they were built along the railroad which is built along rivers for the transportation reason. They have dense small and same-shaped houses close each other on the regular rows. Basically, higher position people such as a superintendent, middle management, and engineers lived in larger and nicer houses on the higher elevation in the town, and regular wordker such as miners, lived in small rental housings on the lower elevation. Company stores, schools, and post offices were usually built in the center of the town. This pattern of the towns is often seen along the rail road with rivers.

rail Rail T

3. Suburb The third pattern of town is the suburban area with scattered pattern of residences. This pattern is mostly seen on the ridge areas with creeks or along roads. It is assumed that these are the early settlers’ houses. The Scotch and Irish immigrants began moving from Pennsylvania down the Great Wagon Road into the Shenandoah Valley in the 1740s, these people mostly became farmers. There are many of these patterns seen around Beckley and Hinton. Post offices were usually built in the center of the town.

Figure4. The map of Mt.Hope in 1914 and the pattern of the coal towns

Figure4. Towns in the north of Beckley

All Map: n/s

Figure5. Towns in the west of Beckley


Figure6. Towns in the west of Hinton 47



18 15




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ou se , H

fw ay al

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C ol


am es


ra h


H ou se th Lo er g , 18 Lo C is 35 ab g In -1 co in n, 83 ns la 6 tr ss :W u ic c t a ild io 18 lR w n 52 ev oo -1 iv d, 92 al N 0 ,O ot :B th su Eg ec er re ,V yp kl e er tia y C 18 na 75 n ou cu -7 Re r th la 6 v iv ou r :T Fe a he l s se de ty S Su ra l e qu m l 18 ,C a m r 52 la e er ss Hi :J s i s c to C or o Re r da un vi ic n’ ty va Di 18 s C C l, str 72 ou ha Ea ic :C rt pe rl t, ho y on l, C us G te om re e, nt Ro ek m m er en m 18 Re an ci 50 t, vi al no es va -1 95 qu ts l 0 e ur :F Re e C ay vi ol et va on te lo v i al ill r 18 la e Re H 73 te vi is :T V va to ic he r l, ic to G Tr ri re Di an um ek s t ri pR c 18 ev t, Li 76 ll y iv al Fa -1 ,G 91 rm 3 ot st :T hi ea h c C e Re d, la H ss in Ve vi va ic to r na al n l cu Re Hi la vi sto r va r A l, ic pp La D al te istr ac V ict hi ic , an to ri Fr an on ,A t m er ic an Fo ur -S qu ar e





83. 85.

Various architectural styles are seen in the Lower New River area, especially in the cities. The styles are influenced by the origin of the immigrants, and also by the popular architectural styles on each period. Because there were many immigrants from England, Scotland, and Ireland into this area, mostly British style architectures are seen. 48

Coal towns had unique architectural style.

Houses were distributed in an orderly manner reflecting the economic and social hierarchy. Usually houses for high position people were larger and nicer, but rental houses for miners were mostly small box-like houses that are easy to build and inexpensive. Mack Gillenwater’s typology for mining dwellings between 1880-1930 was as follows: One story

Analysis am ps ,M in :C er o 18 s al H 80 ou C am se 19 s 30 ps , :C C o oa al 18 lC C 80 am am 19 p ps 30 St , or Su :C e pe 18 oa 80 ri lC n te am 19 nd 30 ps an , :C tH tw oa o ou 18 -s lC se 89 to a ry m -9 ps 0 sh ,S :P ot ag gu al tb n eox Va 18 w 94 te -1 r 89 H ou 5 :F se ay ,G e ot t 18 te hi 95 c C -1 st ou 89 yl nt e 7 y :O C ou ld r M th 18 ai ou 97 n se -1 Bu 89 ,R ild 8 om in :A g, an lta Se 19 es m 02 co qu on nd e :T tH he Em ot el M pi , or re V ic ri 19 s to H 17 ri ar :D an ve r. ve y Jo ra H hn ou nd se H ah ug ,V ha ic to rt ri H an ou se Am er ic an C ra ft sm an


19 30

:C oa

18 80 -

19 30 18 80 -

86. 87.





93. 90.

L. bungalow, basic I-house, two-story four pen, two-story shotgun, saltbox, tow-story L, and superintendent’s house. The cities have their downtowns surrounding the central areas with courthouses in each county seat. In downtown area, there are various architectural styles such as Classical Revival, Late Victorian, American FourSquare, Colonial Revival, Greek Revival,

Gothic Revival. Also commercial buildings in the downtown area are 3 to 5 story warehouse type of architecture made of bricks or sandstone which is called early commercial style. Most of the brick buildings had recessed entrances and plain exteriors, although there often was decorative work on cornices and parapets. 49



were two main routes from the East coast There



Trai l

Figure7. The map of Early Settlement Routes.

r Ar ea

Midland trail is coming from Virginia and intersects with Seneca trail at Lewisburg. People from Virginia possibly followed these routes and came into the New River area. In the early 19th century, small towns appeared along roads such as route 39, and creeks such as Paint creek. These people were hunters,

Scale: n/s


Early European settlers followed this trail and the trail became the main access to the South. It is going through the South of Bluestone Lake, and people came into the New River area from this point and spread to the whole area along the rivers. Hinton by itself was built in 1873, but people started settling around this area in the mid-18th century as the gate of the New River area from the East and the North.



to West Virginia in early settlement period. One is called Seneca trail which is from Philadelphia and it is replaced as U.S. Route 216 now. The other route was called Midland trail from Virginia area which is now replaced as U.S. Route 60. Seneca trail is also called The Great Indian Warpath (GIW) or Great Indian War and Trading Path that used to be a Native American trail for their hunting and traveling across Appalachian Mountains from the North to the South.

farmers, or fur-traders.

N Scale: n/s


Figure8. The Route to the New River Area from Seneca Trail

Analysis Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad was built in 1870s in the Lower

N Scale: n/s

Figure9. Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad Routes

New River area. This new transportation transformed this area as one of the most important coal mining region, and brought thousands of immigrant workers and markets to this area. After 1870s, a significant population growth is seen( Figure,4). The railraods expanded to each coal reserve areas in West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, and reached to Chicago area from Washington D.C. This railroad system resulted in building new towns along the railroads. This is why most towns are located along the railroads in the Lower New River area. In 1910s, State Road Bureau and State Road Commission, created by West Virginia Legislature, started building the United States Highway System in West Virginia. In

1920s, most highways were completed such as

U.S. Route 60, 19, and towns and cities along those highways were developed. These highways allowed people to travel easier and faster to all over the states. In 1960s,

Interstate highways were constructed, and

Lower New River watershed US. State Route Interstate Highway Scale: 1 : 5,000,000

Figure10. US.State Routes and Interstate Highway Routes


I-64 and I-77 were built through the Lower New River area. I-64 is coming from Beckley to Lexington, and also it is going to Charleston with I-77. Even though most coal towns have declined because of deterioration of coal Industory, cities along those roads are still vital because of the accessibility from other areas. 51

Mining is still the top industry on earnings, but the economy is getting diverse in the Lower New River area. Recreational Industry does not have high earnings, but it is bringing indirect economic effect into the regional economy. More diverse economy will be preferable to support the post coal economy. 52

Inventory and Analysis

Economic Aspect



Table1 shows the number of employed people for each industry in the three counties in 2009 (Fayette County, Raleigh County, and Summers County). Figure2 shows the percentages of the number of employment for each industry in the total number of employment. The number of employment belong to the top 5 industry are

Table1. Employment by Industry for the three couties ( Fayette, Raleigh,Summers)

approximately 50 % of the total number of employment

in this area. This means, 1 of 5 people have a related job with Health care and social assistance, retail trade, Accommodation and food service, local government, or other services, except public administration.

Health care and social assistance is an industry including hospital workers or care house workers which the largest number of employer belongs. Retail trade defined as the

re-sale (sale without transformation) of new and used goods to the general public, for personal or household consumption or utilization. Mining is the sixth largest industry having a large number of employees, and it is 5.6 % of the total number of the employment. There is no occupation of the economy by one or two industry, and the economy has balanced diverse industry. Table 2 and Figure 2 shows the earnings by Industry. From the comparison with Table 1, earning of mining is the highest in all industry which was sixth largest industry with the number of employment. This is why mining is still called the main industry in this area. An accommodation and food service which is the third largest industry with the number of employment is 13th highest earning industry. Other service which is fifth place in the number of employment is 11th place 54

1 2 12 11 10

3 9


4 7



Figure1. The ratio of Employment by Industry for the three couties ( Fayette, Raleigh,Summers)

Analysis Table2. Earnings by Industry for the three couties ( Fayette, Raleigh,Summers)

in earning. It means that there is large number of employment belong to these industry, but these jobs do not produce high earning.

Arts, entertainment, and recreation are the 17th largest industry in the number of employment, and the 19th highest industry in the earning. The recreational

industry such as white water rafting started in 1960s and this area has become popular as the destination of recreational and outdoor activities. Recreational jobs do not require a large number of employments, and they do not make higher earnings because of they are mostly seasonal jobs. Despite the number of the employment and the earnings are not high, it is known that these jobs

bring indirect economic effect into the regional economy. In

addition, New River Gorge National Park was established in 1978s, and the number of the visitors has increased since then. The National Park Service estimated that the

annual number of the visitors to the park is approximately 1,000,000. The annual spending 1 2

12 11 10 9

3 8


4 6


Figure2. The ratio of Earning by Industry for the three couties ( Fayette, Raleigh,Summers)

of the visitors is approximately $130,000,000. This economic effect influences to 3,550 businesses in the Lower New River area, and it also bring approximately $9,400,000 for the tax income into this area.

Because development is regulated in the national park boundaries, ecosystem services will be preserved for the future generation. It means that healthy water, air, natural resources, wildlife, aesthetic landscapes that attract people into this area will be preserved within the park in the future, and it will help support this region socially, culturally, and economically. 55


Three Counties Table3. Employment by Industry for Fayette County

The economic census data of Fayette County by New River development authority has no data for administrative and waste services, educational services , Health care and social assistance , management of companies and enterprises , and retail Trade. The number of the employment belongs to these industry amount 30% of the total number of the employment in Fayette County. Health care and social assistance industry and retail trade industry are in the top three in the number of employment in Raleigh County and Summers County, and these two industries possibly have a large number of employments in Fayette County. The data of Administrative and waste services, forestry, fishing, related activities, management of companies and enterprises, other services, except public administration, transportation and warehousing, and utilities were missing in Summers County. 16% of the total employments in Summers County belong to these industries. Other services, except public administration and transportation and warehousing could have higher number of employment in these industries by estimating from the other two counties data.

Table 6. Employment Summary for Fayette County (2009)

These three counties have the similarities below in the employment number data. 1.

Health care and social assistance, retail trade, accommodation and food services, Local government, other services, except public administration, mining, and construction are in the higher ranks in the ranking


The top 6 industries amount the 50 % of the total employment in each county


The economies do not rely on a few industries

Table 7. Employment Summary for RaleighCounty (2009)

Table 8. Employment Summary for Summers County (2009)


Figure3. The ratio of Employment by Industry for Fayette County

Analysis Table4. Employment by Industry for Raleigh County

The figures show the characteristics of each county. 1.

The number of arts, entertainment, and recreation employment in Fayette County is higher than the other two counties.


The number of the employment in Raleigh is approximately 66% of the total number of employment in the three counties and the economy in Raleigh county has strong influence to the regional economy.


The number of farm employment is higher in Summers County compared to the other two counties. There might be still a large number of farmers in Summers County from the European settlement period in this area.

Figure4. The ratio of Employment by Industry for Raleigh County

Table5: Employment by Industry for Summers County

The differences of employment sector between these three counties are below. 1.

The ratio of wage and salary employment is 85% in Raleigh County, 80% in Fayette County, and 71% in Summers County. It is possibly because the ratio of farmers is higher in Summers County.


The ratio of government and government enterprises is higher in Summers County. It is possibly because the population is much smaller in Summers County in contrast with the number of government employment.

Figure5. The ratio of Employment by Industry for Summers County




The average income is highest in Raleigh County, and that of Summers County is the lowest. In the three counties, the females’ median income is approximately ten-thousand dollars less than the males’ median income. The average income per capita is $15,053 in the Lower New River watershed. This is much lower than $15,053, the average income in the United State. The

average ration of the population below the poverty line is 20%, which is higher than 13.8%, that of average in the United State. Summers County has the highest ratio of the population below the poverty line (24.4%), and Raleigh County has the lowest ratio (18.5%), but it is still higher than the average in the United State. Table 9. Income Summary in Fayette, Raleigh, and Summers County

Post Coal There used to be 50 coal mining camps in the Lower New River area, most of them were closed and became ghost towns. The locations of the ghost towns are shown on Google map, and those towns are seen along the New River. The Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad was built along the rivers in 1870s for construction reasons and for the efficient transportation of coal and timber. However, because of the steep and narrow topography along the New River, the return on investment was low, owe to the decreasing of the demand of coal after 1950s. Almost all of the coal industry was gone by 1970s from the riverside of New River. After the industry was gone, those towns could not survive because of inconvenience of

road access for some other industries, and also large number of people left this area with the coal industry’s gone. Some of the coal towns in the Lower New River watershed still exist even though their population has decreased since 1950s. It is possibly because they have better road accessed to other areas, and some other industries could come into the towns. 58

Figure6. The locations of ghost towns

Analysis Figure7. Coal town map in the Lower New River area 59

The vertical elevation changes beyond 3,300 feet from the ridge of the mountains to the valleys, the ecosystems based on one of the oldest river and plateau, and the humid temperate forests which is known as one of the most diverse forest in the world, provide habitats for great number of species in the Lower New River watershed. 60

Inventory and Analysis

Environmental Aspect




The Lower New River watershed area is categorized as Appalachian mixed mesophytic forests in the classification of Ecoregions. Ecoregions are defined as: areas within which there is spatial coincidence in characteristics of geographical phenomena associated with differences in the quality, health, and integrity of ecosystems. The climate of Appalachian mixed mesophytic forests varies from humid continental in the north to humid subtropical in the south. They are one of the most biologically diverse temperate forest regions on earth, because the area is an unglaciated refugia for many species. Because of that, the tree flora is very diverse with as many as 30 different tree species at a single site, including some species that have survived since ancient times. The forest types vary with elevation. Higher elevation forests towards the east have yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis), mountain maple (Acer spicatum), sugar maple (Acer saccharum), beech (Fagus grandifolia), and eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis). Mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia) and rhododendron (Rhododendron spp.) are found in the understory. Lower elevations have more diverse types of forests. These forests include magnolias (Magnolia spp.), oaks (Quercus spp.), hickories (Carya spp.), walnuts (Juglans spp.), elms (Ulmus spp.), birches (Betula spp.), ashes (Fraxinus spp.), basswoods (Tilia spp.), maples (Acer spp.), locusts (Robinia spp.), and pines (Pinus spp.). 62

Ecoregions Figure 1. Ecoregions by Wikipedia.

17: Appalachian mixed mesophytic forests


Higher Elevation

Acer saccharum Tsuga canadensis

Betula alleghaniensis Fagus grandifolia

Rhododendron spp. Acer spicatum Kalmia latifolia

Lower Elevation

Lower Elevation







Aesculus flava Fraxinus americana

102. Carya glabra Magnolia fraseri





Robinia pseudoacacia Pinus strobus Quercus alba Quercus prinus Ulmus Americana Juglans nigra American chestnut Liriodendron tulipifera











Vegetation Class

Figure 2. Landcover - Class



Figure 3. Landcover - Subclass


Formation-land use

Figure 4. Landcover - Formation-land use


Scale : n/s Figure 5. Landcover - Macrogroup




Southern and Central Appalachian Cove Forest






Allegheny-Cumberland Dry Oak Forest and Woodland-Hardwood


Appalachian Hemlock-Hardwood Forest




Figure 6. Landcover - Ecosystem Pasture/Hay



Scale : 1 = 400,000 m 0





12 Miles






116. 115.

118. 19









Figure 7. Landcover - Microgroup


121. 122.

The wildlife in the Lower New River watershed is depending on the humid temperate forest, which is known as one of the most diverse and richest forests in the world. In addition, the huge vertical elevation changes beyond 3,300 feet from the ridge of the mountains to the valleys create different environmental conditions that provide habitats with diverse species. According to the New River national park report, there are approximately 195 types of birds and 65 species of mammals. Common mammals include groundhogs, raccoons, opossums, gray squirrels and fox squirrels, chipmunks, and white-tailed deer. Beavers, minks, and an occasional river otter may sometimes be seen along the river. The top species of the ecological pyramid in this area include Black bears, bobcats, Coyotes, red foxes and gray foxes, Hawks, and Bald eagles. The New River area is a vital area for many different types of migratory birds as a link in the north-south migratory flyway. The bio-diverse ecosystem of the New River area offers food, water, shelter, and space to those birds for survival. There are also some endangered species such as bald eagles, Peregrine falcons, Allgheny woodrats, and Virginia big-eared bats and Indiana bats. The numbers of Peregrine falcons began to decline in the 1950s due to pesticide use, and they were officially listed as federally endangered in 1970. The National Park service started a recovery program, and they released dozens of Peregrine falcons in VA and over 45 Peregrine falcons in the New River Gorge in the 90s. The project has been successful, and adult peregrines are now nesting on cliffs in Shenandoah National Park, but not in the New River Gorge area yet.

Interstate Highway US state Route White line : National Park Boundary




Endangered Species

Bald Eagle ( Migratory Bird ) Haliaeetus leucocephalu Habitat : Near seacoasts, rivers, large lakes, oceans, and other large bodies of open water. A circumference greater than 11 km (7 mi), and lakes with an area greater than 10 square kilometers (4 sq mi). Mature stands of coniferous or hardwood trees for perching, roosting, and nesting. Diet : 123.

The Bald Eagle’s diet is opportunistic and varied, but in some areas they feed mainly on fish.

Peregrine Falcon ( Migratory Bird ) Haliaeetus leucocephalu Habitat : Peregrines nest near water on ledges of rocky cliffs or buildings. Peregrines may travel up to 28 km to favorite foraging areas. Diet :

Peregrines hunt birds such as starlings, pigeons, blackbirds, jays, shorebirds, and waterfowl.


Figure 8. Core habitat ares of Bald eagles and Peregrine falcons.

Virginia Big-eared Bat Corynorhinus townsendii virginianus Habitat : Virginia big-eared bats forage in a variety of habitats including old fields, hay fields, and forested areas. Radio-telemetry studies in West Virginia have shown that these bats travel up to 10.5 kilometers (6.5 miles) from the cave roost to feed. Diet :

Insects ( Small Moths)


Indiana Bat Myotis sodalis Habitat : Bottomland and floodplain forests, and upland forest. Hardwood forests and mixed hardwood-pine forests. Indiana bats typically spend the winter months in caves or mines. Crop fields, and grasslands. Diet : 126.


Terrestrial and aquatic flying insects Figure 9. Core habitat ares of Virginia Big-eared Bat and Indiana Bat.

Inventory Allegheny Woodrat Scientific Names : Neotoma magister


Habitat : Rocky areas such as caves, deep crevices, and large boulder fields. Around hardwood forests that have an abundance of oaks and other mastbearing trees. Northern hardwood (beech, birch, maple) and oak-pine forests. Seldom found in agricultural or residential areas. Acorns and other nuts, berries, twigs, Diet : leaves and fungi Figure 10. Core habitat ares of Allegheny Woodrat.

White-throated Sparrow ( Migratory Bird )


Zonotrichia albicollis Habitat : During migration and winter this sparrow is found in thick cover such as woodlot edges, hedgerows, and weedy fields and commonly in urban habitats. Diet : Insects in summer and small fruits and seeds the rest of the year. Principal food plants are ragweed, smartweed, sumac, grape, highbush cranberry, and mountain ash. In early spring it eats a variety of tree buds and flowers (e.g., oak, apple, maple, and beech).

Figure 11. Core habitat ares of Whitethroated

Great Blue Heron


Scientific Names : Neotoma magister and saltwater marshes, Habitat : Fresh mangrove swamps, flooded meadows, lake edges, or shorelines, but always close to bodies of water, usually nesting in trees or bushes close to water bodies. Feeds in shallow water or at the water’s edge during both the night and the day, but especially around dawn and dusk. Diet : Small fish, a wide range of shrimp, crabs, aquatic insects, rodents and other small mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and small birds.

Figure 12. Core habitat ares of Great Blue Heron.

Cheat Mountain Salamander


Plethodon nettingi Habitat : Originally, restricted to the red spruce forests. Since most of these forests were cut by 1920, several populations today occur in mixed deciduous forests that have replaced red spruce stands; these forests include yellow birch, American beech, sugar maple, striped maple, and Eastern hemlock trees. Small insects including mites, Diet : springtails, beetles, flies, and ants.

Figure 13. Core habitat ares of Cheat Mountain Salamander.




Geology - Bedrock




Shale 133.


LEGEND Bedrock Mauch Chunk Pottsville


Interstate Highway

Conglomerate Sandstone 135.


US state Route Fayetteville

White line : National Park Boundary







Figure 14. Bedrock types in the Lower New River watershed.


Geologic Profile of New River Gorge Vertical Exaggeration = 50 %




2600 2200 1800







600 0







Thuromnd Hawks Nest Dam 10 20 30


Bluestone Dam





Figure 15. Geologic Profile of New River Gorge.




The project area lies within the Appalachian Mountains Geographic Province, and is composed of two groups of Paleozoic Era bedrocks. One is Mauch Chunk formed during the Mississippian period, and the other one is Pottsville formed during the Pennsylvanian period. The periods that deposited these types of rocks are called the Carboniferous Periods in reference to the rich deposits of coal that occur there. They were produced during 299 to 359 million years ago by erosion of a new set of mountains formed by one tectonic event, the Devonian Acadian Orogeny. Mauch Chunk is composed of a grayish-red shale, siltstone, sandstone, and conglomerate. Pottsville is composed of predominantly gray sandstone and conglomerate, and it also contains thin beds of shale, claystone, limestone, coal, gas, oil, and also brine.

The Marcellus Shale, located throughout West Virginia and other surrounding states, is a large natural gas field in the form of shale rock. This shale is located deep below the earth’s surface and when fractured, can produce a large amount of natural Gas. Since the decline of the coal industry, the natural Gas industry has been growing in West Virginia. In fact, according to Deep Earth Energy, a Fayetteville-based company, more than 100,000 acres in Raleigh County, more than a quarter of the county’s acreage, is either leased or in negotiation to be leased for Marcellus shale gas drilling. It is expected that it will cause a positive impact to the local economy which has been struggling since the decline of the coal industry. However, at the same time, there is concern about groundwater contamination, and large amounts of surface water usage.



Open-pit Mine



Underground Mine

Strip Mine


Mountain-top Removal

Because of the rich deposits of coal, coal mining has been the biggest industry in the Lower New River watershed from the 1870’s to the 1950’s. 60% of the watershed area (425 sq. Miles) contains a coal bed underground, and 60% of the area has been underground-mined. Surface mine areas, located in the edges of the underground mine areas, is less than 1 % of the coal field area. The coal found in this area is called bituminous coal which is clean-burning, high quality, low-sulphur, and low-ash coal. Over 18 million tons of coal was mined here in 1916 alone.

LEGEND Coal Mine Surface Mine Underground Mine Coal not mined Marcellus Thickness 21 ft. - 40 ft. 19

41 ft. - 60 ft. Uncertain thickness


Interstate Highway US state Route White line : National Park Boundary






Figure 16. Coal Mine and Marcellus Thickness.

Scale : 1 = 500,000 m 0




12 Miles






124 types of soil are recognized in the Lower New River watershed area. Soil varies with bedrock, climate, plant and animal life, slope of the land, and time. The great diversity in elevation changes, ecosystem, and microclimates in the Lower New River area has resulted in numerous varieties of soils. The characteristics of the soils are mostly derived from bedrock. In the northern area where the bedrock is mostly Pottsville group, the soils are highly acidic with low fertility. In southern area where the bedrock is mostly Mauch Chunk group, soils are more erodible and finer textured, but they are less acidic with higher fertility. LEGEND 19






Interstate Highway US state Route White line : National Park Boundary


Figure 17. Soil Types.

The Soil Suitability map, provided by NRCS Web Soil Survey, assesses the land using data from different soil types and slopes for development. This map shows possible areas for building sanitation facilities for septic tanks, and roads and buildings (without basements).


Soil Suitability

LEGEND Sanitation Facilities for Septic Tanks Somewhat limited Road and Building Constructuion (without Basement) Not limited Not rated Somewhat limited Very limited Interstate Highway US state Route


White line : National Park Boundary






Scale : 1 = 400,000 m 0




12 Miles


Figure 18. Soil Suitability.




Topography- Elevation LEGEND


Interstate Highway US state Route


White line : National Park Boundary

Figure 19. Elevation.

Minimum: 195m Maximum: 1199m Mean : 697.71m Standard Deviation: 154.27m






The difference of elevation from the lowest point to the highest point is beyond 3,300 feet (1,004 m) in the Lower New River watershed. The higher elevation areas range from 3,000 feet to 3,300 feet (from 900m to 1,200m) and range from the northeast to the south west in the watershed area. From Hinton to Gauley Bridge, the downstream travels approximately 66 miles, and the river drops approximately 750 feet ( 11 feet per mile ). These dynamic drops create rapids that have made this area famous for white-water rafting.

The valley sides along New River fall steeply approximately 0.6 – 0.3 miles (1,000m-500m) away from the river edges to the water surface. The difference of elevation ranges from 1,300 feet - 2,000 feet (400-600m), and the average slope changes are 40 – 50%.



LEGEND Slope 0-3% 3-5% 5-8% 8 - 15 % 15+ % Interstate Highway US state Route White line : National Park Boundary



Minimum: 0 % Maximum: 56.52 % Mean: 13.36 % Standard Deviation: 9.033 %





Scale : 1 = 500,000 m 0




12 Miles


Figure 20. Slope.




Hydrology 195 m

Mill Creek


Keeney Creek Laurel Creek

The Lower New watershed holds 8 subwatersheds that drain into ma jor tributary creeks. The longest tributary creek is Piney Creek. It flows northward for more than a third of its 32.4mile length before joining the New River at a depth of 1,100 feet. The sub-watershed area is 347 sq.miles including Beckley, the biggest city in the Lower New River watershed area.

Arbuckle Creek Wolf Creek

Manns Creek

Laurel Creek Dunioup Creek







Laurel Creek

Madam Creek

Beech Run

Piney Creek Glade Creek

416 m

Scale : n/s


Figure 21. Sub-watersheds and Flow direction.

Figure 24. Creeks Recognized under the NHD program

Figure 23. Ma jor Tributary Creeks


Figure 22. Basic Waterbodies

Figure 25. Flow Direction

Figure 26. Sub-watersheds

Total Area: 58,770sq miles The Length of New River in the Watershed: Approximately 170 miles Scale : 1 = 1,000,000 m





Te m p e r a um tu im



Figure 27. Average Monthly Temperature

Days / Month ( % )

Precipitation ( Inches / hr )

Te m p e r a










In Lower New River area, the average monthly minimum temperature is 40.0 degrees and the maximum is 61.6 degrees (Fig,27). The average precipitation is 44 inches per year. (The US average is 37.) It rains more in the summer time (Fig,28). Snowfall depends on the year, but it is usually 40 – 60 inches (Fig,31) (the average US city gets 25 inches of snow per year). Because of the geographical location in the higher elevations, this area is dominated by a humid continental climate, with very warm summers and cold, snowy winters.

Temprerature ( F )



Month Month

Figure 29. Average Monthly Sunshine

Figure 28. Average Monthly Precipitation

rning Mo



Figure 30. Average Monthly Humidity

Snowfall ( Inches )

Humidity ( % )

g Mornin

ernoon Aft


Figure 31. Average Monthly Snowfall

Wetland Buffer



LEGEND 50’ Buffer from Wetlands







Scale : n/s

Figure 32. Wetland Buffer.




Wildlife Habitat


White-throated Sparrow Cheat Mountain Salamander Great Blue Heron

VirginiaBat Big-eared Bat Indiana Allegheny Woodrat

These maps are showing the core habitat areas for the six important species, including endangered species, in the Lower New River watershed. Bubbles are showing each species habitat areas. Each habitat areas show their spatial characteristics. Bald Eagle and Peregrine Falcon prefer large water bodies with ledges of rocky cliffs for their nesting. Virginia Bigeared Bats and Indiana Bats prefer caves, hay fields, and underground mines surrounded by Hardwood forests and mixed hardwood-pine forests. Allegheny Woodrats inhabit rocky areas surrounded by Oak forests, and White-throated Sparrows inhabit areas that have thick cover such as woodlot edges, hedgerows, and weedy fields as commonly found in urban areas. Great Blue Herons are found in shallow areas in rivers and wetlands. Cheat Mountain Salamanders inhabit Sugar maple forests close to sources of the river in high elevation areas. These different preferences for habitat environments cause spatial differences in their distributions.

Bald Eagle Peregrine Falcon

This map is showing the core habitat areas for the six listed important species, including endangered species, in the Lower New River watershed. Bubbles are showing each species habitat areas. Each habitat areas show their spatial characteristics.

The areas on the map (Fig ,33) where the bubbles are overlaid, indicates that the landscape that has a mosaic of perceptibly different types of patches. This means that the entire area, including all of the habitats, have to be preserved for those species. The New River divides the east side and the west side of the Lower New River watershed, and the river itself is a big barrier preventing some wildlife from going across between the west and the east of the river. Fewer bubbles are seen in the west side of the watershed, and it indicates that city environments from Oak Hill to Beckley are not suitable for those species’ habitats. In addition, the habitats of







Scale : 1 = 500,000 m 0





Wildlife Hotspot

12 Miles

Allegheny Woodrats are isolated by those cities. Preserving or creating corridors connecting those habitats are needed to ensure the well-being of these species.


Figure 33. The core habitats of six endangered species.



Building Possibity Grouping

Building Possibility

This map (Fig.34) shows the building possibilities with grouped polygons made from the map on page# 15. The building possibility map shows the suitability for building structures (roads and building without basements) which is produced from the data of soils and slopes. Because this area has such steep topography and erodible soils, most of the area is classified as “somewhat limited” and “Not limited” areas are very few. Some large polygons on the map tell that the area of existing cities and towns including Fayetteville, Oak Hill, and Beckley are relatively suitable for building structures. In other areas, some large polygons are seen on the east side of New River and south of Beckley, but there

is not any outstanding development in those areas. Fewer suitable lands are seen close to New River. This is because the topography becomes steeper as it becomes closer to the river. Large development is not suited along the river, and the area should be preserved for wildlife or to be used for recreational activities.



Figure 34. Building possibilities for roads and buildings without basements.






The core habitats of six endangered species



Building Possibility

The core habitats of six important species in this area and the building possibilities are shown on the map (Fig.35). Because the Lower New River watershed possesses a bio-diverse ecosystem with some endangered species, it is important to preserve the core habitat area and the connection between them. However, their core habitats are not continuous, the connectivity of each habitats are not disturbed by big cities.




Wildlife Preservation vs Building Possibility


Core habitat areas Corridors between core habitat areas


Suitable area for development

Scale : 1 = 500,000 m 0




12 Miles


Figure 35. Builiding possibilities and wildlife habitats.




The Lower New River watershed Final Analysis Map

Builiding possibilities and wildlife habitats

Park Boundaries and Mining sites







This map made from the last map shows suitable areas for building structures and preserving wildlife habitats (Fig,36). It also shows the boundaries of the New River Gorge National Park, two state parks, and one wildlife management area. Most core habitat areas are not located in the boundary of parks and wildlife management area. It is concerning that some critical areas for some important wildlife are not included in those boundaries. Especially, four of the core habitats area have conflict against development suitablitiy. Some regulation for development or careful development would be needed in those areas.

5 7



9 77


Core habitat areas Corridors between core habitat areas



Suitable area for development Caol Not Mined


Surface Mine


Underground Mine New River Gorge National Park Wildlife Management Area


State Park

Scale : 1 = 500,000 m 0




12 Miles


Figure 36. Possible development areas and habitat preservation areas.


Analysis 1. As the entrance of the New River Gorge National Park with the visitor center and the New River Gorge bridge, this area could be a good destination of development for enhancing recreation activities and tourism. However, there is a core habitat area close by. Carefully development planning is needed. 2. Large area is suitable for development around Fayetteville. However, a core habitat area is overlapped on the south of Fayetteville. Because of the core area and the accessibility to Route 19, the west side of Fayetteville would be a good location for new development. 6. Oak hill is the second populated city in the Lower New River watershed. Because of the coal industrial hisotry in this area, there are many underground mines and surface mines. Most of them are not active anymore, but some of the mines are still active. This area could be developed in the future because of the Summit project for boy scout’s Jamboree. Some of the lands need reclamation or restoration for the future development. 8. Beckley is the biggest city in the Lower New River watershed. There is a decent suitable area for development in this area because of less steep topography. Due to the accessibility to the highways, state routes, and also to the airport, this area could be developed more in the future.

3.The New River Gorge National Park, Wildlife Management area, and Bobcock state park are contiguous, which could create good connection between those areas for wildlife habitat as well as for recreation activities.

5. There used to be approximately 60 coal camps existing along the New River Gorge, however most of them have turned into ghost towns since the coal industry declined. Most of the houses are gone, but some structures of the camps are still remained. Those structure could be some attractive elements for tourism with keeping the unique history of the coal industry in this area. However, the access issue to the area is critical because of the steep topography.

4. This area has been developed for mining, and decent surface mining are still active. It is located in the source of the New River Gorge, and water pollution from acid mine could be concerned.

7. There is not outstanding development in this area, and this is one of the biggest core habitat in Lower New River watershed. H o w e v e r, d e v e l o p m e n t could happen in the future because this whole area is suitable for development with good road access from Route 41, and there are coal underground.

9. Interstate 64 plays the important role of transporting products and inviting people into this area as the ma jor route from Chalrotteville and Washington D.C., however it could be disconnecting the linkages of wildlife habitats. 10. However, this area is one of the core habitat area, especially for Bald eagles, Peregrine falcons, and Allegheny woodrats, this area is one of the large suitable area for development. Carefully development planning is needed.

11. This area has few suitable areas for development because of steep topography.

12. The elevation of this area ranges from 800 to 1,100meters. Because of the high elevation, it is assumed that there are some unique vegetations and wildlife in this area.


Main Access to the river

Need reclamation and Ecosystem restoration

Most mine sties are located in the north part of the watershed. The reason is considered that the northern part had a better transportation accesses such as rail trail and roads during the 1870s to 1960s. Most of the mine sites are underground mine. The surface mine sites are few compared with the underground mine, but their locations are close to the core habitat ares, Oak hill, New River Gorge national park, and Bobcock state park. These surface mine sites need reclamation and restoration with environmental aspects. There are still some areas have coal in underground which are not mined in this area, and especially the large area including Beckley could be the possible area for new mining sites. Because Beckley is the most populated city, and there are wildlife core habitat areas nearby, mining activities need to be careful in this area.

Access & Transportation The ma jor roads in the Lower New River watershed are two highways and several state routes. Beckley is an intersection of those highways and some state routes ( US route3, 16, 19, 41 and 307). Because of the steep topography, some areas are difficult to access from those ma jor roads, especially, to the New River Gorge. Five ma jor accesses to the river are recognized on the map, but all of them have bridges high upper from the water level. In the southern part of the river is wider and the topography is not very steep compared with the other part of the river. However, there are not many big cities and towns close to the area, and there is a physical disconnection between people and the New River Gorge. 86


Possible mine sites in the future

Mining situation


Highway Access Prinston

Areas with less accessibility from ma jor roads

Large area for development Six large suitable areas for development are recognized in the Lower New River area, and four of them are overlaped with wildlife core habitat areas. In these areas, development are still possible, but large scale development is not preferable. The other two areas are located between Oak Hill and Beckley. These areas are the most populated cities in the Lower New River watershed, and are positioned upon some of the most used transportation routes to the north-south and east-west. These areas have been economic centers in the watershed area, and it is preferable to keep the development in these areas to preserve the wildlife habitats.

Preferable development areas without conflict against core habitats

Key Points for the Regional Plan Areas have conflict between possible development and core habitats



Analysis Virginia Big-eared Bat & Indiana Bat

White-throated Sparrow

Cheat Mountain Salamander

Bald Eagle & Peregrine Falcon

Important Corridors

Core habitats & Corridors Most core habitats are located in the east side of the New River. This is because that the west side of the river has been the ma jor area for development. As a landscape ecological theory, preserving connectivity between core habitats is very important for wildlife. Rivers and highways are possible elements disconnecting the corridors for some species. Planning of huge scale development or road construction should be considered well in the area connecting each core habitats as important corridors for preservation of wildlife habitat.

Critical habitats by development Most core habitat areas are not located in the boundary of parks and wildlife management area. It is concerning that some critical areas for some important wildlife are not included in those boundaries. Especially, four of the core habitats area have conflict against development suitablitiy. Some regulation for development or careful development would be needed in those areas. 87

Historic and cultural heritages in the Lower New River area will attract more visitors as a series of educational component, and promote the torism industry by connectiong each pieces by roads or trails, and propose the alternative travel routes to visitors. 88

Conceptual Plan

The inventory and analysis of the Lower New River watershed resulted in clarifying the issues that the local communities are facing to. Visions are created with the stakeholders in the Lower New RIver watershed to solve those issues and bring better future to the communities.

Environmental Topics 1. Improve water quality in order to preserve the ecosystem and protect recreational industry 1. 2. 3. 4.

By By By By

green infrastructure (wastewater treatment, and stormwater management) reclamation of mining sites community involvement for volunteer or community activities providing environmental education

2. Preserve wildlife core habitat areas and corridors from extensive development in order to preserve the ecosystem service Ecosystem service: Preserving wildlife habitats and vegetation would contribute to regulating climate change and natural disasters, preserving resources for tourism and recreational activities, protecting soil water and land.


By recognizing the core habitat areas and corridors and work towards having municipality or the park service to acquire the areas as parks or recreational area 2. By putting lower taxes for preserving the areas 3. Connect existing parks with each other and connect cities to the parks in order to enhance the recreational activities 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

By By By By By

connecting each trail putting signage providing new roads access providing public transportation services creating events or programs connecting each parks and from cities to the parks

Social Topics 1. Develop new housing area in order to provide affordable housings and rent for newcomers, young generations, and workers at recreational jobs 1.

By renovating old housing and coal camp housing, and also by demolishing the dilapidated buildings and build new housing 2. By reusing the building in the downtown area 3. By providing information about housing through internet or media 2. Create sense of community in order to vitalize the community by raising awareness and conscious to their community and environment 1. 2. 3. 4. •


By By By By

creating a space for communities (Open spaces, community center, or community garden, etc) providing opportunities for community activities (volunteer, Summit, festivals, or sports, etc) creating opportunities to communicate with outsiders creating continuous amenity design in the community

3. Improve education or provide education for adults in order to provide transition to new employment • 1. By creating a space and system for education for new employment supported by communities 2. By connecting each education facilities (schools, or universities) to provides higher education

Cultural Topics 1. Improve tourism and recreational activities integrated with cultural and historic heritages 1. By connecting each cultural and historic sites by roads or trails 2. By creating areas with attractive retail and accommodations with the cultural and historical designs 3. By creating some tourism, recreational activities, events, and programs especially during off-seasons 2. Preserve historical buildings and heritages 1. 2. 3. 4.

By By By By

creating a space for communities (Open spaces, community center, or community garden, etc) enhancing tourism and recreational uses reusing the historical buildings for business, commercial, and housing supporting preservation and restoration through funding and volunteers

Economic Topics 1. Encourage diverse economy and local economy 1. 2. 3. 4.

By By By By

creating centralized districts of diverse business in each county providing affordable rent and lower tax for local businesses creating opportunities for encouraging local businesses to collaborate promoting local farming and creating connection between local food and food services

2. Revitalize the downtown area in order to prevent sprawl and preserve the cultural central 1. By involving neighborhoods into the downtown revitalization planning and draw future plan 2. By providing affordable rent and lower tax for promoting local businesses in the downtown area 3. By providing farmers markets, events, and opportunities inviting people into the downtown area 4. By connecting the downtown area to parks and trails for tourism and recreations


Concept Statement The New River area has the history of various changes through the periods, such as the history of Native American in since the ancient time, European Settlement in 19th century, Civil war in mid-19th century, Railroad in the late-19th century, the thrive and decline of coal industry in 20th century, recreational activities occurred from whitewater rafting, and opening of the New River National Park in the late-20th century. The pieces telling us about these histories and the culture still exist, and these are great attractions for visitors in this area. Connecting these pieces and proposing the routes for visitors will improve the tourism as a great educational component of the history and culture of the New River area, which is also important for understanding the development history of the United State.

Planning Process 1. Identify the potential visitors from outside of the Lower New River area 2. Locate the important places for learning the history and culture in the Lower New River area. 3. Set themes and programs for each area, and identify the routes connecting each area as the series of learning process 4. Create three travel plans by organizing the visiting places depending on the time schedules

Potential Visitors Analysis When considering cultural travel routes for the Lower New River aera, one must not only analyze the number of potential visitors, but also attempt to figure out the distance from each area. In the potential visitors analysis, all the main cities with the population more than 30,000 in 300 miles are examined as the sources of visitors, and the potential was anlyzed with the possible visiting frequency and the distance from each citiy to the Lower New River area. As a result, large numbers of potential visitors are recognized on the East and the South areas of the Lower New River area. Hinton is a suitable town as the starting point of the cultural routes from these areas. 92



Morgantown:30,293 Cincinnati:296,043


Wa s h i n g t o n D. C . : 6 1 7 , 9 9 6

Charlston : 51,400

300 miles

Lexington: 301,569

Charlottesvill : 43,475 Richmond: 205,533

Greensboro:273,425 Winston Salem:232,385



Summery of the Programs Through the trail, visitors shall learn the following historical and cultural components. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

The history and culture of Native American before European settlement European Settlement through old trails and their lives in the 18th century Civil War history in the New River area The arrival of Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad and the industrial revolution in late-the 19the century Coal towns and people’s lives, and the thrive and decline of the coal industry in the 20th century New culture- recreational activities and the New River Gorge national park in the late-20th century Appalachian culture (Art,craft,and music)

Travel Routes and Courses Two travel routes shall be provided for different types of transportation. New River Cultural Route is for buses, cars, and motorcycles. Ghost town Route is only for cars and motorcycles, because of the severe topography and the road conditions in the East area of New River.

21sites/ 13 hrs 12sites/ 10 hrs



Glen Jean Beckley

+5sites/ +3 hrs +4sites/ +3 hrs +3sites/ +1 hrs




26sites/ 18 hrs





Three alternative courses are proposed depending on the visitor’s time schedule. In New River Cultural Route, highlight course allows visitors to go through all the 12 highlight historical sites for total 10 hours (2-days trip). Medium course go through 21 sites for 13hours (2-days trip), and Detailed course provides 26 sites for 18 hours(3-days trip recommended).






Page-Vawter House Ansted Culture & Heritage Museum Halfway House Contentment African American Heritage Family-Tree Museum




yettevill Fa


Canyon Rim visitor center New River Gorge Bridge 19

Altamont hotel Fayetteville historic district/ Courthouse Morris Harvey house

Keymoor Mine





Tyree Stone Tavern 41

OS Whipple Company Store & Appalachian Heritage Educational Museum

ghts Rd

John Hughart house


J en e

ry M








Glade Creek Grist Mill




Godby Hei




oun tain




New River Gorge National River headquarters

Mount Hope Historic District














Tamarack Courthouse Square Historic District

Exhibition Caol Mine






Interstate 64









Int ers tat e7




Shady Spring













Trump-Lilly Farmstead



Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad Depot Hinton Historic District Hinton Railroad Museum Summers County Corthouse Bluestone Dam


SCALE : 1:100,000





HIGHLIGHT COURSE: total 12 sites / 10 hours

2 hrs

Anstead, with outstanding historic assets, tells us the stories of people’s lives from the early settlement and civil war to the early 20th century. The town of Ansted was created in 1873, but European immigrants started settling in this area around 1790. Contentment, a simple one story house which was built 1830 and restored by Colonel Imboden who became the first mayor of Anstead, remains the structure and designs of the early settlers’ house. Halfway House, originally built prior to 1810, twas used as headquarters of the Chicago Gray Dragoons during the American Civil War. Page-Vawter House, built in 1889-90, was William Nelson Page’s house, who was the president of the Gauley Mountain Coal Company.

Page-Vawter House

Canyon Rim visitor center

New River Gorge Bridge

Fayetteville historic district Courthouse

1.5 hrs



0.5 hrs

Exploring Glade Creek Grist mill, which is assembled from parts of three other old mills, allows visitors to know the life and culture of the early settlers in this area. Most of them were making their lives by farming before 19th century, and they had the mill for grinding grain here. Glade Creek Grist Mill

1 hr 0.5 hrs 3 hrs

3 hrs

Glen Jean

Whipple Company Store & Appalachian Heritage Educational Museum, which used to be a coal company’s store built in 1890’s, was restored as a museum in 32 years ago for telling the story of the coal industry, coal camp life, and also Appalachian culture. It provides not only an educational tour and some events, but also the opportunity which allows visitors to experience the real coal life such as mining coal, getting paid by scrip and shopping with the scrip in the store. Not to speak of the remarkable architecture of the store, the town of Scarbro which remains the shape of the typical old mining town is an interesting learning component for visitors.

There used to be more than 50 coal towns along the New River, and almost all of them are now abandoned. Nuttleburg is one of the towns which still has some structures from mining time such as triple or coke ovens, and allows visitors to experience to feel the old mining history.



0.5 hrs


1 hr

Like as other towns, Fayetteville grew rapidly in the late 19th century due to the coal industry, and it started declining in the mid-20th century. However, the new culture, recreational industry and tourism have grown since 1970s in this area. The New River Gorge Bridge, built in 1977, is one of the most popular places for visitors as the third longest steel single-span arch bridge in the world. It has access to New River Gorge National Park which provides various outdoor activities, and alternative trails as well as educational opportunities on nature and wildlife. In addition, Fayetteville has a remarkable downtown area which still remains some historic buildings.

Halfway House

Thurmond used to be one of the most flourishing towns as the commercial center in the New River Gorge with hotels, stores and even a casino. It was also a railroad center which had the junction of the C&O main line and the Loup Creek branch of the railroad. Some of the commercial buildings and the depot were restored and it remains the atmosphere of the town from the old time.



Whipple Company Store & Appalachian Heritage Educational Museum

Beckley provides unique attractions for visitors to learn the culture and the history of the New River area. One of them is Exhibition Coal Mine where visitors can take a tour of the real underground mines by authentic man cars. Tour guides tell the stories about the mining operation and the miner’s everyday life in the early 20th century. Visitors also can explore the restored coal camp town and feel the coal camp life. Tamarack, which is the first statewide collection of “handmade crafts, arts and cuisine”, provides a showcase of arts and crafts form all over Appalachian region. It consists of a tourist Information center, a theatre, and a gallery, a conference center, shops and a food court. Beckley also has the accesses to the south part of Coal Heritage trail along the State Route 16, and the Piant Creek Tamarack Scenic trail that tells the story of the Native American around New River area.

The Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad brought industrial revolution and a great number of workers in this region from the late 19th century to the mid-20th century. Hinton was established as the gate of the New River area from the East coast in 1873 when the railroad was built. Celebrating the history of the railroad, Hinton has a railroad museum and restored depot where visitors learn about the history of the railroad and industry. It also has preserved the downtown area which bring visitors back to the time of 19th century. As the town is located in the upstream of New River, Bluestone dam allows visitors to learn about the nature and water management of New River Gorge.


145. Hinton Historic District

Beckley Courthouse Square Historic District

Exhibition Caol Mine

146. Hinton Railroad Museum

147. Bluestone Dam


Concept Statement The New River area has several outstanding parks that offer various recreation actives for visitors. There are some trails in each park and area, but most trails do not have connections to the other parks and areas. Creating connections by trails between each parks and existing trails, and also between ma jor cities and those parks, will enhance the recreational activities, human health, and the recreational industry in the New River area.

Points for Planning the Trail Routes 1.

Propose trail routes connecting each existing trails

2. Propose trails along the existing roads 3. Propose trails connecting from each ma jor cities to the New River, each historical sites, and recreational areas 4. Consider the topography, view, and elements around the trails 5. Propose flexible travel routes by connecting each trail, creating loops, and providing alternative routes

Schematic Model of the Trail Connections




Proposed Trails


Existing Trails Official Proposed Trails The New River


Ma jor Cities


Presevation Areas The following map shows the integrated core habitat areas and corridors of the eight important endangered species( Bald Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Virginia Big-eared Bat, Indiana Bat, Allegheny Woodrat, White-throated Sparrow, Great Blue Heron, and Cheat Mountain Salamander ) , and it also shows the areas of mining operation in the Lower New River area. The areas that are important for the wildlife, and also unsuitable areas for building development because of steepness or past mining operation, should be preserved as green spaces. Especially, preserving some areas close to the New River National Park, and other parks will enhance connectivity of habitats. The areas should be preserved as green spaces are shown on the map.

Core habitat areas Corridors between core habitat areas Suitable area for

Proposed Trails Existing Trails

Caol Not Mined Surface Mine Underground Mine

Official Proposed Trails

New River Gorge National Park

The New River

Wildlife Management Area

Ma jor Cities

State Park




Stone Cliff

Army Camp Grandview Overlook

4 te 6 rsta Inte Sandstone Falls

Brooks Falls

Int ers tat e7















SCALE : 1:100,000

There are currently no official trails in Anstead, but this little old town with remarkable history could provide an attractive trail for hikers and bikers. It will allow visitor to explore some historical heritages such as Halfway house and contentment that are built in the early settlement period, and stop by some local cafĂŠ or restaurants and take a break. From Anstead, alternative trail routes are proposed to the north to Hawknest Park, and Gaurley Bridre, and also to the south to Fayetteville. The trail going to the east from Anstead will bring visitors to the Midland trail ( US Route 60), the old Native American trail which also used to be the main route for European settlers going to the south. The trail will provide two different routes to Nuttallburg, one of the abandoned coal camps along the New River, and also to Babcock State Park.

The New River Gorge Bridge, the third longest steel arch bridge in the world, is the symbolic structure of the New River area, and this is one of the most popular places for visitors in this area. Connecting Fayetteville, the bridge, and the Canyon Rim visitor center will provide access between the West-side and the East-side of the New River. It will allow visitors to enjoy walking or biking through the huge bridge and enjoy the great view of the New River area from the bridge. The proposed trail connecting from the Canyon Rim visitor center to the south to Nuttallburg will bring people to this old coal town with the coal industrial history, and allow them to touch the history.

Nuttallburg, the coal town once on the New River, is now an abandoned ghost town, but some structures from the coal mining still exist and they are attractive pieces for telling the history for visitors. There are trails going through the town, but some of them are disconnected, and also from the main road. The proposed trails connecting those trails, to the Canyon Rim visitor center, and the route 60 will improve the accessibility to Nuttallburg.

Babcock State Park, opened in 1937, provides beautiful romantic landscapes with the old hardwood forest of the Southern West Virginia and Grist Mill along the Glade Creek. It also offers various recreational activities such as camping, fishing, swimming, horse riding, hiking and biking. There are several trails going through the park. Providing trails connecting from main roads and also making a loop of the trails will improve the access to the park, and also the recreational activities. There are some historical sites such as Tyree Stone Tavern, John Hughart house, and the Midland trail, and connecting trails to these historic heritages will allow visitors enjoy the history and culture in the New river area. The proposed trail connecting to Thurmond will allow visitors explore the old coal industrial town along the New River and it will also provide the access to the West-side of the river.

Thurmond is a railroad town which was built in 1873, and it was the center of the commercial during the end of the 19th century to mid-20st century. After the coal industry declined, the population decreased, and it was almost abandoned, but the National Park Service had a restoration project and restored the depot of the town and some commercial buildings. Bringing trails into this town will allow visitors to explore this old railroad town and learn about the unique history of the New River area. Thurmond is also one of the few towns which has accessibility to the shore and beaches of the New River.

There are two alternative trail routes proposed from Thurmond. One is the trail connecting to Oakhill which is the second populated city in the New River area. The other route is going to the south through a several picnic areas and an overlook site to Prince along the existing road. From Prince, the trail is continuing to Beckley. Providing accesses from each city to the river and parks by trails will enhance the recreational activities and human health of citizens. Camp sites and picnic areas area available around Prince and there are also some unique sites such as Army Camp which has the history of Civil War, and the place where visitors can enjoy the overview of the New River.

148. The trail connecting from Grandview overlook to Glade Creek is proposed. Glade Creek area has several trails that provide enjoyable hiking routes going through the oak and pine forest along the creek. Connecting trails from Glade Creek, to little Beaver State Park, and Beckley will create a large loop going through 25 miles between those places and Prince. It will be a trail which allow people to enjoy different landscapes and go through and come back in four or five hours

There is a proposed trail from Glade Creek going to the south through Sandstone Fall, and Brooks Fall to Hinton along the West-side of New river. This trail route will be enjoyable trail which shall provide great landscapes of the wider and shallower part of the upstream of New River with several waterfalls. The Sandstone visitor center is located in the East-side of the river and it is disconnected to the proposed trail. The proposed bridge will provide the access from the visitor center to the trail, and also to the West-side of the river. There is existing road along the East-side of the New River from Hinton to the north. Providing a trail from Hinton to the Sandstone visitor center along the road will enhance the connectivity between those sites and the communities along the river, and also to Gwinn Ridge Trail.


Little Beaver State Park features an 18-acre lake, created by a cut rock dam nearly 50 years ago and offers playground, hiking, fishing and seasonal boat rentals. It is located only 5 miles away from Beckley, the most populated city in the New River area. Providing a trail from Beckley to the park will enhance recreational activities and human health of the citizen of Beckley. The several trails existing in the park allow visitors to enjoy the quiet and beautiful landscape along the lake.

149. The trail route connecting Beckley, Little Beaver State Park, and Hinton is a route which has dramatic landscape changes. European settlers started living in the southern area of Beckley around Shady spring in the 18th century, and this area still has the landscape of old farmer’s village before the coal industry came. From Shady spring to Hinton has the great change of topography, and the trail will go through the steep mountain area. It be a high leveled trail enjoyable for hikers and cyclist.


100 Flowers



Drive lane

Traditional materials

Drive lane

Bike lane

Planting strip Lighting Carb

Seating Area Lighting


Outdoor dining area

Restaurants or cafes

Streetscape Enhancement Outdoor dining

Safety and walkability




Stormwater management

Retail buildings




Seating area Lighting

Light up



Planting strip

Seasonal pleasure

Bike lane Carb Lighting

Drive lane

Drive lane

Turn lane

CL Bike lane Traditional style Benches Lightings





Raingarden(Residential area)

Beautification of neighborhood


PRODUCED BY AN AUTODESK EDUCATIONAL PRODUCT Runoff control and water conservation


Community engagement

Wildlife Seasonal pleasure










3" 3"


18" MIN







1 2 2" -8"










Stormwater Management

Bioswale(Parking/Urban area)

Runoff control


Reduction of heat island effect




Water conservation


Mixed planting of flood tolerant trees, shrubs, and / or perennial groundcover Depth of basin can vary with width, and with the anticipated inflow quantity, but side slopes should not exceed 10 - 15 %

Minimum 2 % slope into bioretention basin



Concrete wheel stops to hold back vehicles while allowing runoff to pass under and through



Amended topsoil

Geotextile fabric optional 6" perforated drain tile, bedded in gravel and min.36" deep; or below frost line



Thurmond Historic Park will provide an great opportunity with visitors to touch, feel, and experience the history of this unique railroad town along the New River. It will also become a place for creating a bond in the community and bring the sense of community. 104

Thurmond Historic Park

Project Statement Thurmond is located in the center of the Lower New River watershed. It was built in 1873 along the New River,and It used to be one of the most flourishing towns as the center of commercial and railroad connections within the New River area during 1880s - 1950s. While the population used to be 400 has decreased to 5 since the coal industry started declining, the National Park Service had a restoration project and restored the depot of the town and some commercial buildings to preserve and tell the history of this unique town. The goal of this project is to propose renovation plan of the site as a pocket park for recreation, and also as a park to tell the history of Thurmond to visitors.



Design objectives 1. Create a good connection from the depot and commercial buildings to the park as a series of history telling path 2. Allow visitors to experience, feel, and learn the history of Thurmond through design elements of Thurmond such as railroad, coal, and abandoned buildings 3. Create a transition of the spaces from the public space to the community space towards the town hall 4. Design the space as a place creating a sense of community 5. Install Raingarden for Stormwater management

Abandoned Coaling Tower



Thurmond Town hall


SI 5 0.4 ES


Restored Commercial Building
















Construction Detail Stairs


Scale: 1”=20”

Retaining wall


Scale: 1”=40” 122


Scale: 1”=4’





The Lower New River area has not only the great nature, but also the valuable pieces of historic components in each area based on their unique history and culture. Through this project, we found the potential and possibilities for utilizing them for promoting tourism and recreational industry,as well as vitalizing communities, and bringing sense of community. We hope our works will be used as a reference for the future development in this region. 125

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the Future





and Nature


River New


Landscape Architecture Studio work - New River Watershed Project  

Studio work in Master of Landscape Architecture program at West Virginia University in 2012 Fall. This project consists of watershed Analys...

Landscape Architecture Studio work - New River Watershed Project  

Studio work in Master of Landscape Architecture program at West Virginia University in 2012 Fall. This project consists of watershed Analys...