To watch the hearing in full, click here.  

BECKLEY, W.Va. – U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, today held a field hearing in Beckley, West Virginia to receive testimony on the New River Gorge Park & Preserve Act. The legislation, introduced by Senators Capito and Manchin, would redesignate the New River Gorge National River as the New River Gorge Park and Preserve.

“The New River Gorge is such an important part of West Virginia and a real source of pride in our state,” Senator Capito said. “Hearing from government officials, community leaders, business owners, sportsmen, and the general public during our field hearing today gave everyone involved a stronger appreciation of all the varying perspectives involved in this effort, and underscored to me that this legislation would benefit the region and those who call it home. Moving forward, it is vital that we continue working together to make decisions that are in the best interests of our state and growing our economy. Redesignation of the National River to a National Park and Preserve will shine a brighter light on West Virginia and all that it has to offer, and provide another catalyst for our tourism industry and local businesses.”

“Today’s field hearing was yet another important opportunity to gather feedback from West Virginians about this exciting opportunity for our state. The comments of every person who spoke today will be submitted to the official public record and taken into consideration as my Committee prepares to mark up the legislation and make appropriate changes. Over the last year, Senator Capito and I have worked closely with the National Park Service to put together different options of how a potential park and preserve might work. Our goal is to make sure that we provide for protection of the national park resources while at the same time preserving the hunting and sporting culture and heritage of this amazing area. We have also held a handful of meetings to hear directly from West Virginians. Every perspective is important and I appreciate those who came out today to engage in this important discussion,” Ranking Member Manchin said.

In October 2019, Senators Capito and Manchin introduced the New River Gorge Park and Preserve Designation Act. The legislation will maintain hunting and fishing within the preserve area—areas where sportsmen currently enjoy hunting and fishing. The legislation also specifically protects hunting, fishing, and trapping on privately owned land and will preserve and help grow the vibrant outdoor recreation industry on the New River. The New River Gorge has a long and rich history, which is also preserved through this legislation.

The hearing featured witnesses from the New River Gorge National River, West Virginia Wildlife Federation, River Expedition and the West Virginia Department of Commerce. To read their testimony in full, click here.

For full text of the legislation, click here.

For more information on the New River Gorge, click here.  

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