BECKLEY, W.Va. (WVNS) — Back in December 2020 the New River Gorge National River was re-designated as a National Park. The change is something that almost everyone in the state is excited about.
The legislation was part of the end of the year COVID-19 emergency relief funding.
On Dec. 21, 2020, U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) issued statements ensuring the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve Designation Act would be prioritized within the year-end legislative package.
“The New River Gorge is such an important part of West Virginia and a real source of pride in our state. I am thrilled legislation designating the National River as a National Park and Preserve is included in this legislative package,” Senator Capito said.
“The New River Gorge is truly one of West Virginia’s most treasured playgrounds and largest tourist attractions because of its whitewater rafting, hunting, fishing, outdoor sports and natural beauty. This designation will increase its international recognition by highlighting West Virginia’s world-class beauty and resources,” Manchin said.
Executive Director of the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority Jina Belcher said with the ups and downs the tourism industry faced throughout the pandemic, this is a huge deal for the state.
“We recognize it as a really exciting opportunity to recruit the outdoor industry and grow the outdoor industry across the four county territory not only with the tourism assets but also potential new businesses and job creation,” Belcher said.
The New River Gorge National Park and Preserve spans through Fayette, Raleigh and Summers Counties.