FAYETTEVILLE, WV (WOAY) – On December 27, 2020, the New River Gorge National River was officially redesignated as the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, becoming the 63rd national park in the country.
The new legislation allowed for the preservation and expansion of everything the New River Gorge already had to offer, between its vast natural beauty and the plethora of recreational opportunities.
Senator Shelley Moore Capito was just one of the many who fought for the inclusion of the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve Designation Act.
“Since the redesignation, visitor spending in communities near the park and preserve has resulted in a $35.2 million dollar benefit to the state’s economy, and supported more than 1,000 jobs in West Virginia,” Capito says.
The park has now seen a record-breaking total of 1.7 million visitors, a 41% increase from 2019 alone. And Capito says that they are just getting started.
She added that ensuring that the gorge continues to get the resources and support it needs to thrive is one of her top priorities, as its success is essential to the growth of West Virginia’s tourism industry.
“People from across the country and around the world have come and seen first-hand what West Virginia is all about, and they are realizing that it is the hidden gem we knew about all along,” she says.
In 2021, an estimated $82.6 million was spent in the local gateway regions around the national park, with 88.1% of visitors being from out-of-state.