New River Gorge, West Virginia becomes America’s newest national park

As a part of the Covid-19 relief bill that was passed on Dec. 27, lawmakers have created the first national park in the state of West Virginia. New River Gorge, which is located in Fayetteville, has officially changed from a national river to a national park, becoming the nation’s 63rd national park in the process.

Lawmakers from the state say the change will help ensure further protections for the beloved region while potentially boosting visits by 21 percent. Outdoor recreation is a $9 billion industry for West Virginia, and the effort to re-designate the river is seen as a signal that West Virginia is committed to shifting its economy from coal mining to recreation and conservation.

“This designation will increase the international recognition by highlighting West Virginia’s world-class beauty and resources,” said Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV). “Over the last two years, we have met with outdoorsmen, businesses and local leaders and other interested groups to ensure this designation will promote the beauty and rich history of the New River Gorge while ensuring that the longstanding traditions of hunting and fishing are protected for generations to come.”

Although the new national park adorns the name “New River Gorge,” the river is believed to be one of the oldest in North America, serving as a home for both Indigenous Americans and later for railway and coal-mining communities.

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New River Gorge, West Virginia becomes America’s newest national park

As a part of the Covid-19 relief bill that was passed on Dec. 27, lawmakers have created the first national park in the state of West Virginia. New River Gorge, which is located in Fayetteville, has officially changed from a national river to a national park, becoming the nation’s 63rd national park in the process.

Lawmakers from the state say the change will help ensure further protections for the beloved region while potentially boosting visits by 21 percent. Outdoor recreation is a $9 billion industry for West Virginia, and the effort to re-designate the river is seen as a signal that West Virginia is committed to shifting its economy from coal mining to recreation and conservation.

“This designation will increase the international recognition by highlighting West Virginia’s world-class beauty and resources,” said Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV). “Over the last two years, we have met with outdoorsmen, businesses and local leaders and other interested groups to ensure this designation will promote the beauty and rich history of the New River Gorge while ensuring that the longstanding traditions of hunting and fishing are protected for generations to come.”

Although the new national park adorns the name “New River Gorge,” the river is believed to be one of the oldest in North America, serving as a home for both Indigenous Americans and later for railway and coal-mining communities.

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