FAYETTEVILLE, WV (WOAY) – The New River Gorge National Park Service has gotten reports on people throwing big rocks off of the cliffs in the park. One rock climber reporting a rock fell just a couple feet from someone who was climbing, barely avoiding what could have been a fatal accident.
“Even a small rock could knock somebody off the ledge or injure them seriously. Taking rocks and throwing them off the ledge, even if they don’t hit something or somebody would be a resource violation so it still could be something someone could get in trouble for,” says Dave Bieri, NRG District Supervisor.
Resource violations can cost people hundreds of dollars in fines, but if the rocks would hit someone and a fatal accident did occur, those charges would multiply. Park Service authorities warn that people could potentially be looking at assault charges for incidents resulting from hitting people with rocks.
“We just ask people to enjoy the view and leave the resource alone in terms of leaving things where you find them, not moving rocks, and especially not throwing rocks off of the side of the cliff,” he says.
Human safety aside, Park Ranger Bieri says that even doing something as small as moving rocks and vegetation around within the park can be damaging to the precious wildlife and ecosystem the park protects.
“People don’t realize what’s going on under the cliffs sometimes, they are looking at the beautiful views and don’t think about what’s just underneath them,” Bieri says.
Signs are being placed around the areas of the park where rock-throwing has been reported. The National Park Service continues to encourage people to report these kinds of issues to ensure the safety of others and the wildlife in the park.