HEART OF THE NATIONAL PARK TRACT 1

Agent Contact:
David Sibray at 304.575.7390 , Randy S. "Riverbend" Burdette at 304.667.2897

OVERVIEW

Few private properties remain for sale so near the center of the newly established New River Gorge National Park & Preserve. Though located near the very heart of the park, the property is fewer than 15 minutes from suburban Beckley, the largest city in southern West Virginia.

The steep, wooded tract accommodates two potential homesites. At the front, a quarter-acre of less-sloping land includes a former historic home site—a relic of the community’s ghost-town period—and includes a well, septic system, fieldstone walls, and a stone chimney. A second potential homesite at the upper property overlooks a five-mile panorama of the gorge from more than 200 feet above the river. Both sites afford unmatched views of the mountains.

The property is located in one of the most popular outdoor recreation areas in the park, in which the park service is developing new recreational resources. The park manages five public campgrounds within five miles of Prince and is adding a sixth campground only two miles away. Backcountry camping is also permitted in the park over much of the area, notably along the river. Park officials have announced plans to open new recreational trails leading along the river and ascending into the local highlands.

The tract is within 1,000 feet of the Art Moderne-styled Prince Depot, an active Amtrak station on the New York-Chicago line. Thousands of locals and visitors use the station annually, notably scouts who are visiting the Bechtel National Scout Preserve, home of the Summit, the National Jamboree site for the Boy Scouts of America, a drive of fewer than 10 miles from the property.

Though upstream, the New River is renowned for its whitewater rafting, the river at Prince is relatively calm and a destination for warm water fishing and flatwater recreational pursuits such as kayaking, canoeing, and paddle-boarding. Trout streams cascade out of the highlands in every direction. Hunting is a popular pursuit in sections of the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve.

ATTRIBUTES AND HIGHLIGHTS

  • Near the geographic center of the national park
  • Easy access to developing trails and campgrounds
  • Destination for hiking, biking, fishing, and paddling
  • Adjoins national park at its front and rear boundaries
  • Overlooks a five-mile section of the river in its gorge
  • Approximately 10 minutes drive-time to the City of Beckley
  • Approximately 10 minutes drive-time to the Summit Bechtel Scout Reserve
  • Neighboring historic structures include the Prince Depot and Prince Brothers Store
  • One of few private properties near the river within the park boundary

ABOUT THE NEW RIVER GORGE NATIONAL PARK & PRESERVE

This heart-of-the-park tract is located near the center of the newly established New River Gorge National Park & Preserve in the midst of one of the fastest-growing tourism-based economies in West Virginia. In 2020, Congress established the 70,000-acre park, though the National Park Service had managed the area as a “national river” since 1978. The designation has resulted in a revolutionary interest in the region as a destination for travel and residency. Articles in Time, Vogue, and USA Today over the last year have greatly accelerated interest in the area globally, as has television coverage by major networks. Time has since named the park one of the “World’s 100 Greatest Places.”

Long a renowned destination for hiking, biking, rock-climbing, and whitewater rafting, the park has been attracting more than two million visitors annually in recent years. Officials had predicted an increase of more than 20 percent in visitation in its first year, though the increase appeared to be nearer 50 percent as of August 2021.

Park officials are proceeding with the development of the central section of the park near Prince as outlined in the park’s 2011 Development Plan. Planners are expanding accommodations at five public campgrounds near Prince and are adding a sixth within two miles. New recreational trails are being opened in the immediate area, leading along the river and its tributaries and into the local highlands. Notably, trails are being built that link the gorge at Prince to Beckley and the Bechtel National Scout Reserve and to overlooks and picnic areas at Grandview. Plans also include the completion of a through-the-park trail and backcountry trails that extend to the east and south of Prince. A notable trail in its planning stage ascends to Pinnacle Rock, a formation high on the ridge above Prince and the heart-of-the-park tract.

Copies of the 2011 Foundation Plan for the New River Gorge National Park are available through this listing agent.

THE HISTORIC GHOST TOWN

Much of the community of Prince (pop. 90 residents in 2019) has existed over the last century as a ghost town, though it is enjoying a rejuvenation as a vacation home destination thanks in part to its location within America’s newest national park. Restored and preserved historic structures may be found throughout the community, as can be ruins and old stone foundations. The town was established in about 1870 when brothers William and James Prince developed land deeded by their cousin Alfred Beckley, the founder of what’s now the nearby City of Beckley.

Like many other ghost towns in the New River Gorge, Prince boomed and burst with the rise and fall of coal mining in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The gorge was practically mined out by the early 1900s, after which it reverted to a principally forested state.

Landmarks in Prince today include the preserved Prince Brothers Store, which is owned by the park service and adjoins the lower end of the tract. Another important landmark, the Prince Depot is an active Amtrak station that ties the seemingly remote area with the commerce of Chicago, New York City, and Washington, D.C. The station is a walk of fewer than 1,000 feet from the tract, and the post office at Prince, while not historic, is a walk of fewer than 200 feet. The Stretcher’s Neck Tunnel famously allows the railroad here to circumvent a neck of mountain in which the river famously meanders to nearly meet itself. The tunnel’s eastern portal is about 800 feet from the tract.

Historical structures on the tract include garden walls of dry-laid fieldstone, a worked stone chimney (at the former homesite), and boulders stacked near the upper level of the property and along the flank of the gorge.

An important Native American trail through the gorge crossed or nearly crossed the tract, paralleling the river, and native artifacts may be present.

SUMMIT BECHTEL NATIONAL SCOUT RESERVE

The home of the National Scout Jamboree and a high-adventure base for the scouts, the Bechtel National Scout Reserve annually hosts thousands of scouts and their guests. The reserve is also one of four high-adventure bases managed by the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America and includes more than 14,000 acres adjacent to the national park. The 24th World Scout Jamboree in 2019 welcomed more than 45,000 visitors. The 17th Interamerican Scout Jamboree is planned for 2023. The reserve is a drive of approximately 10 minutes from Prince.

WINTERPLACE

Prince is a drive of approximately 30 minutes from Winterplace Ski Resort, billed as the skiing and tubing resort “where the South learns to ski.” Its 25 slopes descend the northeast flank of Flat Top Mountain near the I-77 expressway. During ski season, the resort welcomes thousands of guests and keeps many local hotels and inns booked to capacity.

LOCATION

Google Coordinates: 37.856519, -81.064120
Address: 4843 Stanaford Road, Prince, WV 25907
Elevation Range: approximately 1,190 to 1,420 feet above sea level

MINERAL RESOURCES

West Virginia law provides for separate ownership titles for surface rights and mineral rights. This property is being conveyed as surface only.

BOUNDARIES AND SURVEY

The property is being sold by the boundary and not by the acre.

ACCESS/FRONTAGE

The property is accessible from an unimproved gravel lane that extends approximately 500 feet from route WV-41, a paved two-lane state highway.

UTILITIES

Water: Well
Sewer: Septic
Electricity: American Electric Power
Internet: Satellite; Dial-up
Fire Service: Oak Hill Fire Department
Cell: Carriers may require booster

ZONING

Fayette County is subject to zoning regulations. All prospective buyers should consult the county commission, National Park Service, and the county health department for details regarding zoning, building codes, and the maintenance of septic systems.

PROPERTY TYPE/USE SUMMARY

The property is mostly forest. This summary is an estimation of current property use as determined from aerial photography. It is made subject to the estimation of property boundaries and any errors in the interpretation of land use type from aerial photography utilized.

DEED and TAX INFORMATION

Deed Information: Book 727, Page 226
Acreage: Approximately 1.92

Real Estate Tax ID/Acreage/Taxes:
Fayette County, West Virginia; New Haven District
Tax Map 132-A; Parcel 14

2020 Real Estate Taxes: $55.34

SURROUNDING AREA

The tract is located in the central section of the New River Gorge National Park & Preserve just south of the park’s geographic center. Though a drive of 15 minutes from the suburban Beckley area—home to some 40,000 residents—the immediate area is densely forested. The precipitous walls of the gorge at Prince rise more than 1,200 feet above the river. Much of the immediate area is owned by the National Park Service. Beyond the walls of the gorge, the landscape opens into a series of broad and rolling upland plateaus across which a variety of mixed-use properties extend, including large areas of forest and farmland as well as urbanized and suburban areas, including the corporations of Beckley, Mount Hope, Oak Hill, and Fayetteville.

HEALTHCARE

Three hospitals, including a Veterans Administration Medical Center, serve the Beckley area along with numerous clinics and healthcare centers. State medical centers at Charleston and Morgantown are an hour’s drive and a three-hour drive respectively. Several medical and emergency care clinics serve Beckley, while the area’s moderate climate and access to trails, gymnasiums, and athletic centers support healthy living. The nearest hospital to the tract, Beckley Appalachian Regional Hospital, is a nine-mile drive.

TRANSPORTATION

Expressways I-77, I-64, and US-19 join nearby at Beckley, providing easy access to Richmond, Charlotte, Columbus, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and Washington, D.C. The Beckley-Raleigh County Memorial Airport is a 30-minute drive from Prince. An hour’s drive farther, Yeager Airport, at Charleston, is the largest and busiest flight-service center in the region, while the Greenbrier Valley Airport, at Lewisburg, provides flight options to Atlanta and Washington. The Amtrak passenger station at Prince is a five-minute walk from the tract and provides direct access to Washington, Chicago, and New York City.

Approximate hourly drive times to regional U.S. cities include Charleston, W.Va., 1.25; Morgantown, W.Va., 2.75; Columbus, Ohio, 3.75; Pittsburgh, Pa., 4; Cincinnati, Ohio, 4.5; Charlottesville, Va., 3; Richmond, Va., 4; Winston-Salem, N.C., 3; Charlotte, N.C.: 3.5; and Washington, D.C., 5.

CLIMATE

The steep-walled valley of the New River surrounding Prince sustains a microclimate more typical of warmer, more southerly latitudes due partly to the sheltering nature of the valley and the warm waters that have gathered radiant heat from the sun over a long upstream course. Though the river in the gorge may appear as a large mountain stream, it has already traveled more than 300 miles from the summits of the Blue Ridge in North Carolina. The valley around Prince is a preferred location for gardens as the warm microclimate accommodates a longer growing season. It remains relatively free of the heavier snows that blanket the surrounding highlands more than 1,000 feet above. Nearby Garden Ground Mountain was named on account of the healthy growing climate.

PUBLIC & PRIVATE SCHOOLS

The immediate area is well-served by public and private schools, and students may opt to attend schools in either Fayette or adjacent Raleigh counties. Students who attend Fayette County Schools are bussed to Oak Hill, a distance of approximately 17 miles, where a combined campus includes an elementary, middle, and high school as well as the county Institute of Technology. Students who attend schools in Raleigh County may be enrolled at Stanaford Elementary, seven miles distant; Beckley-Stratton Middle School, 11 miles distant; Woodrow Wilson High School, nine miles distant; and at the county’s Institute of Technology, also nine miles distant. Several accredited private schools operate in the region at and near Beckley, Oak Hill, and Fayetteville. Homeschool programs are supported through the state Board of Education.

HIGHER EDUCATION

Beckley is the higher-education center of southern West Virginia and is notably the site of the southern campus of West Virginia University. The university’s Institute of Technology and New River Community & Technical College both maintain campuses at Beckley, and courses offered by Concord University and Bluefield State College are accommodated at the Irma Byrd Center at Beaver. Appalachian Bible College is also located nearby at Bradley.

RECREATION

Residency in the New River Gorge region affords access to a seemingly limitless variety of recreational pursuits. In addition to outdoor recreation opportunities such as skiing and snow-tubing at Winterplace and hiking, biking, fishing, hunting, paddling, rock climbing, and whitewater rafting in parks, the area accommodates a number of walking, skating, and field sports facilities, including stadiums, playgrounds, and walking and biking trails. The YMCA Soccer Complex at Beckley is a nationally recognized eight-field center for soccer. Golf is accommodated at ten courses in the region. Indoor recreation centers include gyms, bowling alleys, gaming centers, and roller-skating rinks.

Outdoor recreation opportunities immediately relevant to the tract and Prince include hiking, biking, fishing, and hunting. A popular destination for anglers, the river at Prince is a popular warm-water fishery, and the nearby Glade Creek is a renowned catch-and-release trout stream. More than 20 miles of designated park hiking trail currently extend outward from near Prince and notably include the Little Laurel Trail, which ascends from Prince to Grandview. The Glade Creek and Little Laurel trails also accommodate biking, and gravel-road riders are increasingly drawn to the Glade Creek and McKendree roads. The wooded highlands around Prince are favorite hunting grounds in season, renowned for their bear, deer, and turkey habitat.

The region is also famous for its rock climbing and whitewater rafting. Both pursuits are accommodated in the northern section of the park near Fayetteville where the rock-rimmed gorge reaches its most developed extent. A 30-minute drive from Prince, the rafting and climbing areas attract hundreds of thousands of visitors annually.

DINING & RETAIL

Beckley is a favorite dining and retail hub and is the commercial center of southern West Virginia. It boasts many national dining and retail establishments and unique local venues. Prince is a drive of about 15 minutes from Beckley’s principal retail and restaurant district.

Hometown dining choices include Campestre, Tamarack, Rio Grande, Foster’s Tavern, Young Chow’s, Wasabi Fusion, The Char, Calacino’s, Pasquale’s, and King Tut Drive-In.

Food chains include Cracker Barrel, Outback Steakhouse, Cheddars, Olive Garden, Bob Evans, Shoney’s, McDonald’s, Chic-Fil-A, Wendy’s, Burger King, Subway, Cook Out, Arby’s, IHOP, Bojangles, Dairy Queen, Hardees, Long John Silvers, KFC, and Panera Bread. Other remarkable independent dining venues cluster at Charleston, Fayetteville, and Lewisburg.

Independent local retail stores of note include a variety of outdoor recreation outfitters as well as a number of culturally significant boutiques, antiques, and collectibles stores. National chain stores include Sam’s Club, Lowes, Rural King, Tractor Supply, J.C. Penney, Staples, PetSmart, Belk, Walmart, Kroger, Rite Aid, CVS, and Harbor Freight.

REGIONAL INFORMATION

  • https://fayettecounty.wv.gov/
  • https://newrivergorgecvb.com/
  • https://visitfayettevillewv.com/
  • https://visitwv.com/our-area/fayette/
  • https://fayettecounty.com/
  • https://wvexplorer.com/communities/counties/fayette-county-west-virginia/
  • https://www.nps.gov/neri/index.htm
  • https://www.nps.gov/neri/planyourvisit/nrgbridge.htm
  • https://www.nationalparks.org/explore-parks/new-river-gorge-national-river
  • https://www.summitbsa.org/about-us/new-river-gorge/
  • https://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/River/detail/id/2418/