WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), along with Congresswoman Carol Miller (R-W.Va.) today issued the following statements regarding the inclusion of the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve Designation Act—legislation that would redesignate the New River Gorge National River as the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve—in the year-end legislative package. This redesignation will promote the beauty and historical significance of the New River Gorge by making the site just the 63rd National Park and 20th National Preserve in the United States, while ensuring that the longstanding traditions of hunting and fishing are protected for generations to come.

Congress is expected to vote on the year-end legislative package soon, which includes this legislation and several other provisions that will benefit West Virginians.

“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 redesignating the National River as a National Park and Preserve is included in this legislative package. 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. I’m grateful to all of the West Virginians—sportsmen, business owners, and constituents—for their feedback and involvement during this entire process. Throughout all of these discussions, it has become clear that this redesignation would bring enormous benefits to the region and those who call it home. I look forward to a strong bipartisan vote on this so we can send this to President Trump’s desk for his signature,” 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 the international recognition by highlighting West Virginia’s world-class beauty and resources. 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,” said Senator Manchin.

“I am excited to see our legislation to redesignate the New River Gorge as a National Park and Preserve be voted on,” said Congresswoman Miller. “The New River Gorge is home to all West Virginia has to offer - our beauty, small businesses, and adventurous tourism opportunities. This legislation will preserve and protect the New River Gorge for generations to come and make our state an even better place to live, work, and raise a family.”


In October 2019, Senators Capito and Manchin introduced the New River Gorge Park and Preserve Designation Act, while Congresswoman Miller introduced the companion bill in the House. 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.

Since originally introducing, the legislation has been adjusted to include several changes that would: 

  • Create a 65,165 acre Preserve and a 7,021 acre Park.
  • Open up 368 acres to hunting in Grandview for the first time ever.
  • Keeps open 301 acres of the Lower Gorge following the requests of local hunters.
  • Authorize the National Park System (NPS) to bid on additional land for the Preserve that amounts to 3,711 acres. 
  • Authorizes the NPS to acquire up to 100 acres for parking only, which is needed as the area has seen an increase in visitors.

For full text of the legislation, click here

To view images of the maps, click here.

To view a one-pager on the bill, click here.

For more information on the New River Gorge, click here 

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