For the time being, please do not climb at any of the Meadow River South Side crags downstream of Glade Creek. And please do not drive on the rail grade at all, regardless of location. You can still access the rail trail upstream of Glade Creek, but NOT by motorized vehicle.
Access to the South Side of the Meadow River has been tenuous at best for some time. For years now, climbers have occasionally faced locked gates and adamant land managers, but access has always opened back up, often for long periods of uninterrupted time. Nevertheless, access has never been entirely legal; regulations have only been unenforced. Now, land owners, the NPS and WVDNR have made decisions to shut down access due to the irresponsible actions of a small number of ATV riders. To be clear, this is not just a prohibition on driving the rail trail. The South Side of the Meadow downstream of Glade Creek is closed to all recreation. We recognize that the vast majority of off-roaders on the rail trail have been responsible resource users. This is a case of a few bad actors tipping a formerly balanced scale. We applaud efforts to shut down the erratic, occasionally violent, behavior of a few irresponsible people—but we want to draw a distinction between them and the rest of us.
For more than a year, NRAC and the Access Fund have been engaged in dialogue with the owners and managers of the land on which Glade Creek and many of the South Side crags lie. We were pretty optimistic about the future of access there, but we are unsure what that looks like right now. Our hope is to eventually regain legal access to these cliffs via Propps Ridge Rd. and the Glade Creek rail trail. We hope to also secure land near the bottom of the trail for a parking area, but we are doubtful that it will ever again be acceptable to drive on the riverside rail trail.
Discussions like those underway between climbers and land managers tend to be long and delicate. Adding further confusion to the situation is the involvement of multiple agencies. Please be patient while we try to work this out. We’ll try to keep you updated on the regular.
We are all stewards of land once explored and occupied by Moneton and Tutelo tribes, as well as many others now long lost to history. Respect for them must be present in everything we do.