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Stand-up paddling is just one of the free activities promoted around the national river by Active Southern West Virginia.

The River Management Society, a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to support professionals who study, protect, and manage North America’s rivers, has received a grant from the National Park Foundation to help promote rivers managed by the National Park Service.

The RMS hosts an interactive map and trip planning tool called the National Rivers Project on its website at www.river-management.org. The map is considered the only authoritative geospatial recreation river map in the United States.

Over 1000 rivers are currently featured on the map, located at www.nationalriversproject.com, including New River Gorge National River and the Gauley River National Recreation Area, as well as dozens of others managed by the NPS.

The grant from the National Park Foundation will go to support efforts to promote these National Park Service-managed rivers through additional outreach and technological advancements.

In West Virginia, the Wild & Scenic Rivers grant will fund Get Active in the Park, a formal partnership between Active Southern West Virginia, a local nonprofit, and the National Parks of Southern West Virginia, including New River Gorge National River, Bluestone National Scenic River and Gauley River National Recreation Area. All programs are free of charge, beginner-level and designed to show people how capable they really are of being active outdoors.

This project is one of 20 across the country being funded by the National Park Foundation as part of the effort during the 50th anniversary of the National Trails and National Wild and Scenic Rivers systems. All project descriptions can be viewed on the Rivers and Trails 50th Anniversary Grants Map at https://nps.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapJournal/index.html?appid=fd2bedc4ea6540d58f180686410082d2

“Trails and rivers bring people together for shared experiences that last a lifetime,” Will Shafroth, president of the National Park Foundation, said in a press release. “The National Park Foundation’s grants help maintain these treasured resources and enable more people to connect with them and each other.”

These grants demonstrate the impact of the National Park Foundation’s Centennial Campaign for America’s National Parks. To date, the comprehensive fundraising campaign to strengthen and enhance the future of America’s national parks has raised more than $500 million in private donations from individuals, foundations, and companies.

Beyond funding much-needed site-specific projects, the National Park Foundation is also inspiring more people to #FindYourWay along trails and rivers across the country.

#FindYourWay aligns with the #FindYourPark movement and invites the public to discover their own personal connections to thousands of trails across the National Trails System and more than 12,000 miles of rivers protected by the Wild & Scenic Rivers System.

RMS’ roots are in the former Interagency Whitewater Committee (est. 1972) and the 1996 merger of the American River Management Society (est. 1988) and River Federation (est. 1985).

The goal of the National Rivers Project is to increase visibility and use for water trails, Wild and Scenic Rivers and whitewater sections. The website and search capabilities come from The National River Recreation Database (NRRD), a geodatabase of water trails, Wild & Scenic Rivers, whitewater segments and respective access points and campgrounds in the U.S. Explore the nation’s rivers at www.nationalriversproject.com

The National Park Foundation, celebrating 50 years in 2018, is the official charity of America’s national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service. Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation raises private funds to help protect more than 84 million acres of national parks through critical conservation and preservation efforts, connect all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture and rich history, and engage the next generation of park stewards. In 2016, commemorating the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary, the Foundation launched The Centennial Campaign for America’s National Parks, a comprehensive fundraising campaign to strengthen and enhance the future of these national treasures for the next hundred years. Find out more and become a part of the national park community at www.nationalparks.org.

— Email ckeenan@register-herald.com; follow on Twitter @Fayette_Cheryl

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