New River Gorge had record visitation in 2021

GLEN JEAN, W.Va. (AP) — A record number of people visited the newly designated New River Gorge National Park and Preserve last year, officials said.

The park recorded nearly 1.7 million visitors in 2021, which was an increase of 600,000 from a year earlier, West Virginia Public Broadcasting reported. New River Gorge was designated a national park at the end of 2020.

The highest number of visitors before last year was in 1996, when more than 1.2 million people visited New River Gorge.

Many parks across the U.S. had a decrease in visitors in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, but saw an increase last year, the National Park Service said.

“It’s wonderful to see so many Americans continuing to find solace and inspiration in these incredible places during the second year of the pandemic,” National Park Service Director Chuck Sams said in a statement.

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