Given the drama of 2020, America is preparing to welcome its newest national park – and the first in West Virginia.
The end-of-year legislative package for Congress includes funds for COVID-19 relief and climate law, but also an important term for national parks. The New River Gorge National Park and Preservation Designation Act included in the package designate the New River Gorge area in West Virginia as America’s 63rd National Park.
According to U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Joe Manchin (D-WV), the legislation would rename the New River Gorge National River as the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve. West Virginias WBOY TV reported.
“The New River Gorge is such an important part of West Virginia and a real source of pride in our state. I am thrilled that the National River Redesign as a National Park and Conservation Area is included in this legislative package. The renaming of the National River as a National Park and Conservation Area will put West Virginia and everything it has to offer in a brighter light, ”wrote Senator Moore Capito.
The two US Senators originally introduced the New River Gorge Park and the Preserve Designation Act in October 2019.
The NPS currently manages 62 parks and over 400 sites and monuments in 29 states. The New River Gorge will be West Virginia’s first national park. The closest national park is Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.
The nomination will be official when President Trump signs the legislative package, which is expected to take place this week.
More about the New River Gorge
The New River Gorge area is home to a National River, a scenic back road, and the New River Gorge Bridge, the second longest single arch steel span in the world.
The area is approximately 600 square miles. It’s home to over 35 hiking trails and free camping, and is adjacent to two West Virginia State Parks – though the main attraction is the historic bridge and expansive river and scenery.
Built in 1974, the New River Gorge Bridge spans 3,000 feet and connects the east and west banks of the river. Surrounded by the New River Gorge National River is the 83 mile scenic back road, another attraction for the park. The route is via highways, split highways, and two-lane connecting roads with many views of the gorge and river.
Learn more about the New River Gorge Here.
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