FAYETTEVILLE, WV (WOAY) – The New River Gorge is now officially the 63rd national park as of late December when Congress passed the bill making it so. While many are excited about the change, how exactly it will affect all the same recreational activities the oncoming season has in store has many people wondering. However, a dramatic change in the way locals and tourists enjoy the park may not actually be of much concern.
“As far as I know, there won’t be any changes as far as fees and permits go. You will still be able to enjoy the national park areas– camping, and hiking, and biking and rock climbing– none of that stuff will change,” says Becky Sullivan, Executive Director of the New River Gorge Convention and Visitors Bureau.
What will change though, is an expected twenty percent increase in the number of people coming to visit the New River Gorge. And a change like this can potentially open the door for even more positive change and expansion in our mountain state.
“A twenty percent increase in tourism means an increase in business,” she says.
And beyond the potential business and economic expansion, this transition from a state park to a national park will further highlight and attract visitors from all over the world to the beauty this state offers.
“I think it will be a very positive impact because it brings positive awareness to our area, it brings positive awareness to the beauty of our area and the things that are happening here in West Virginia.”
Over the first year, the main focus for the National Park will be on signage and education through this new national park transition.