Meadow River Southside Crag Access

In winter of 2013, large boulders appeared in the road to The Other Place, Area 51 and more. Here's what you need to know. 

Local Updates
Announcing the New River Gorge Film Fest PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jay Young   

Hey Rendezvous lovers, there's a new climbing (and other things) event in town. Last night at the Video Boaters Challenge, we premiered the first trailer for our as-yet-to-be-officially-named New River Gorge Film Festival. We're in the process of fleshing out the rules, format, etc., so little is definite right now. What we do know is that we are doing this in 2015. So climbing film makers, warm up your GoPros and editing suites. There may be cash prizes involved. 

Why, you may be wondering, did we show it that the VBC? Last year, the scum made fun of us at their "event." They didn't know who they wuz messin' wid. 

More to come... and in the meantime...

Meadow River Southside Crags Access PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Williams   

Road block, Propp's Ridge RoadIn late October, 2013, large boulders blocking the road appeared on Propp’s Ridge Rd and the old railroad grade that parallels the Meadow River on its south/west side. These boulders have effectively blocked vehicular access to the Meadow’s Southside Crags including Area 51, The Other Place, Orange Wall, Mud Hueco, Brilliant Pebble, Rehab Crag and the crags along Glade Creek, which parallels Propp’s Ridge Rd. 

For NRAC, and locals, this came as no surprise. Land ownership along the Meadow and Glade Creek has been in a state of flux since long before climbers began to explore the Meadow River cliff line, which they did on foot, hiking in from Highway 19 along the railroad tracks which were still in place. It wasn’t until 1999 that the tracks were pulled up and climbers began to drive in and park along the Meadow River to access the climbing areas. For those around at the time, the easy access had a too-good-to-be-true feel to it, and losing it wasn’t an issue of if, but when

Immediately after the roads were blocked, representatives from NRAC began discussions with land owners, the National Park Service, the County Commission, and others to explore options that would allow for continued access to the climbing resources along the Meadow River’s Southside crags. 

What We Know: 

Land ownership along the South side of the Meadow is a complex mish-mash of different stake holders that has been in a constant state of change. Simply determining who placed the boulders and who owned the different parcels of land was a challenge in its own right. After some research, Fayetteville climber and GIS specialist, Levi Rose, compiled a map (below) that offers some insight into the land ownership, as well as the location of the road blocks and the affected cliff line. The road blocks are indicated as red dots. There are three: one at the entrance to the railroad grade near Nallen, one along the railroad grade just downstream of the intersection with Propp’s Ridge Rd, and one that blocks both the trestle and the road over the top of the waterfall along Propp’s Ridge Rd.  

Meadow River land ownership.

The road blocks were placed by The Forestland Group, a timber investment management organization. They continue to manage the property, but have sold the mineral rights of nearly 11,000 acres, including the Propp’s Ridge access road, to a coal company called Xinergy Corp. Talks with the Forestland Group revealed that restricting vehicular access and recreational use was done at the request of their insurance company due to liability concerns. This closure is not directed specifically at climbers, but at all recreational user groups. Forestland Group has been continuously open and receptive to working with NRAC and has indicated that the potential for future recreational use on their land is a possibility. Currently, hiking, biking, and climbing on their property is considered trespassing and signs are clearly posted.

Later discussion with the County Commission revealed that the railroad grade along the Meadow River is part of a “Rails to Trails” land easement held by Greenbrier and Fayette Counties. This 2012 purchase was made possible with over $435,000 of grants secured for the project by the West Virginia Department of Highways and the National Park Service. More details on the acquisition of the Rails to Trails corridor can be read here

What It Means For Climbers

Vehicular access to the Southside crags is quite likely gone for good. Hiking in from the road block at the waterfall on Propp’s Ridge Rd cuts directly through Forestland property and would be considered trespassing. The railroad grade that parallels the river, on the other hand, is completely open to hiking and biking along its entire length. However, stepping off the side of the road to hike, fish, or climb, throughout the portion upstream of the intersection with Propp’s Ridge Rd, would be considered trespassing. The land neighboring the railroad grade downstream of the road block near the intersection with Propp’s Ridge Rd. is not on Forestland property.

The cliffs located on Forestland property are: Rehab Crag (not included in any guidebook), High Density Feed Lot and Congo (2nd edition guidebook only), and Mud Hueco. 

The Brilliant Pebble, Area 51, The Other Place, Hedrick’s Creek, and Orange Wall are not located on Forestland Property. 

What To Do

Working with the Forestland Group and other land managers to find a legitimate and user-friendly access alternative will not be a quick and easy process. That said, we have faith that solutions to these challenges can be worked out. In the interim, we know that climbers are a resourceful bunch. If the climbing is good enough, climbers will find a way to get there. For now, the most legitimate way to access the crags along the South side of the river that are not on Forestland property is to park off of Dietz or Underwood Road as you would for the Lower and Upper Meadow. Hike down to the river, take your shoes off and get wet! Once on the other side of the river, Area 51 and the Other Place are about 2.5 miles upstream and Orange Wall is about 2 miles downstream. These areas are still within an easy and flat one hour hike of the car. It should go without saying that the Meadow River can be quite dangerous, or impossible, to cross at high water. Use your judgment! 

Remember that YOU are the New River Alliance of Climbers. Our motto is “Get Involved, Be Informed, Stay Connected.” We’ll do our best to keep you updated on the evolving changes and we encourage everyone to stay informed and share the info with others. Please use your best judgment when accessing these areas and remember that your actions could affect our large community of climbers. Have fun out there! 

New River Rendezvous 2013 Wrap Up PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kenny Parker   

Vous X Highlights

Three words to describe Vous X:   Relaxed, Smooth, Participatory.  The smaller sized event gave

everyone more breathing room and shrunk the lines.  Sponsors provided a plethora of contests

and competitions at their booths that gave everyone a chance to jump in, participate and win!

Thanks to all participants for your stoked, polite, smiley, appreciative presence!


Rendezvous: The No-Waste Initiative PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jay Young   

1000 people. 3 days. Virtually no trash.

Six years rolling and this policy has become the cornerstone of the event and we can all be proud of it. We like what past Rendezvous participant Colby Challenger had to say: "I really think it's necessary for the climbing user group in general to be a leading force in the clean and green  revolution that's sweeping our nation." Amen.

What does this all mean for you?

The single most effective thing you can do is fill our car with friends. Parking is extremely limited and we need your help to keep the number of cars to a minimum. Better yet, ride your bike or hoof it!

Adopt a minimalist mindset.
Only bring what you need. Think about the waste you will generate and try to keep it down.

Keep up with your stuff.
We will have plenty of Sharpies around so you can label your beer mug so you can find it when you are done dancing.

Take all your trash and recyclables home.
Our goal is to wrap up the event with only a few bags of garbage. You will see very few garbage cans at the venue; this is to encourage everyone to minimize trash! You can always use the dumpsters!

Bring your own plate, fork, cup, etc.
We will provide a wash station!

REMEMBER: Do not bring your own beer to Burnwood!

We would like to thank current NRAC president, Gene Kistler, and former NRAC president, Chris Anthony, for articulating the No Waste vision and helping us find our way. THANKS FOR COMING, CARING AND FOR COMPLYING!

NRAC Membership- Mike Williams' Input PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kenny Parker   

NRG guidebook author Mike Williams talks about what it means and who is a part of the New River Alliance of Climbers.



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