FAYETTEVILLE, WV (WOWK) – U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) helped to unveil new signage today at the newly redesignated New River Gorge National Park and Preserve in Fayette County.
The New River Gorge National River was redesignated through the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve Designation Act, which passed in December 2020 and was signed into law. The act makes the New River Gorge site the 63rd National Park and the 20th National Preserve in the United States.
The senators say the goal of the redesignation is to promote the historical significance and beauty of the New River Gorge while also ensuring the traditions of hunting and fishing in the area are protected for future generations.
“The New River Gorge is such an important part of West Virginia and a real source of pride in our state. Whether it’s cheering on the BASE jumpers at Bridge Day, experiencing the thrill of world-class white water rafting, or taking in the beautiful panoramic views, the New River Gorge provides unlimited opportunities for thousands of visitors each year,” Capito said. “This new designation will shine a light on the New River Gorge and its many offerings so individuals around the world can see all that West Virginia has to offer.”
Senator Manchin, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and Senator Capito introduced the Act in October 2019 while Congresswoman Carol Miller introduced a companion bill in the House of Representatives. The legislation was designed to both protect hunting, fishing and trapping on privately owned land while preserving and growing the outdoor recreation industry of the area.
“Whether it’s the whitewater rafting down the New River, hiking the challenging and scenic trails in Grandview, sightseeing through the historical town of Thurmond, or exploring the unique botanical ecosystems that exist within Sandstone Falls, the New River Gorge epitomizes the West Virginia spirit and way of life,” Manchin said. “This National Park and Preserve designation will bring in visitors from across the country to experience the beauty and rich history of the New River Gorge, while also contributing to local economies,” chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
The Act creates a 65,165 acre Preserve and a 7,021 acre Park at the New River Gorge. It keeps 301 acres of the Lower Gorge open following the request of local hunters while also opening up 368 acres to hunting in Grandview for the first time. The legislation also authorizes the National Park System to bid on an additional 3,711 acres of land for the Preserve and to aquire up to 100 acres for parking.