Structures called rock vanes are used to stabilize eroding river banks by keeping currents in the middle of the river instead of against the bank. Rock vanes are part of an approach to river restoration known as Natural Stream Channel Design and are meant to emulate natural river systems. Similar rock vanes will be constructed during Phase II construction at Elk Shoals.

WEST JEFFERSON — New River Conservancy and New River State Park continue with Phase II plans to ReWild the Elk Shoals Access of the New River State Park through stabilization of 500 linear feet of riverbank and enhancement of approximately 0.67 acres of riparian buffer habitat.

Beginning approximately Sept. 1, 2021, crews from Foggy Mountain Nursery & Stream Restoration will be working along the riverbank located just across the entrance bridge. Due to the presence of heavy equipment, all access to Elk Shoals will be closed for the duration of the project, including the entrance road. For the safety of the public and construction crews, NRC respectfully requests that paddlers and fishermen/women avoid this area or exercise extreme caution while passing. To ask questions or comment about this project, direct inquiries to New River Conservancy by emailing

Over the last couple of years, our public lands have seen a significant increase in visitation, increasing in the New River State Park by approximately 40 percent from 2019 to 2020 alone. To ensure that our public spaces can accommodate increased visitation and remain resilient, NRC seeks to stabilize the riverbanks, prevent further erosion, and install native, woody vegetation that will hold the banks together and provide habitat that will aid in protecting the High Country’s biodiversity.

To meet these goals, NRC secured funding from the NC Department of Justice Environmental Enhancement Grant Program whose objective is to help improve and protect North Carolina’s natural resources. The High Country Council of Governments secured matching funding from the NC Division of Water Resources Water Resources Development Grant Program. Together, these monies are funding the construction and management of Phase II restoration of the riverbank at Elk Shoals.

With massive support from our community, the 270-acre Elk Shoals property was purchased and transferred to the NRSP in December 2018. But the effort to ReWild, ReOpen, and ReIntroduce the public to natural fun at Elk Shoals will happen in phases as the property and buildings are brought up to North Carolina State Park standards. To donate to the ReWilding of Elk Shoals, become a member by visiting NRC and NRSP are working diligently to create a safe and healthy New River where we all live, work, and play.

New River Conservancy’s mission is to protect the waters, woodlands, and wildlife of the New River Watershed. For more information on what to do to protect the New River, visit Community members can support the organization’s efforts by becoming a member of New River Conservancy.

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