To watch Senators Capito and Manchin unveil the new sign click here

FAYETTEVILLE, W.Va. – U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), today unveiled new signage at the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve. The New River Gorge National Park and Preserve Designation Act—legislation to redesignate the New River Gorge National River as the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve—was included in a year-end legislative package, and was ultimately passed in December 2020 and signed into law. 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.

“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. 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. Updating and unveiling the signage today at the Gorge marks the culmination of years of hard work toward this goal that has been a major priority. This would not be possible without the dedicated support of local leaders here that have diligently seen this redesignation effort through. I’m incredibly optimistic about the future benefits New River Gorge National Park and Preserve will bring to the region and the entire state of West Virginia,” Senator Capito said.

“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. 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. This is an incredible opportunity for to us to pass down a legacy to our kids, grandkids, and generations to come—and I am incredibly proud to have worked with Senator Capito to recognize one of our country’s most beautiful places with this new designation,” said Senator Manchin, Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.


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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