FAYETTEVILLE, WV (WVNS) — Back in December of 2020, the New River Gorge National River was designated as a National Park and Preserve. U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito and Joe Manchin joined other community members at the Canyon Rim Visitors Center on Wednesday for the reveal of new signage of the designation.
During the ceremony, employees with the National Park Service said visitation increased since the announcement of becoming a National Park, even during the pandemic.
“We usually get about a million to two million people a year and we are anticipating already a 20 to 30 percent increase. We don’t know if that will happen, but just in the four months that it’s been we know all of our businesses have told us, people have called and said oh I want to come see the newest national park,” Lizzie Watts, Superintendent of the New River Gorge National Park & Preserve, said.
Both Capito and Manchin said they are excited to see what the new status brings for Southern West Virginia.
“It just gives West Virginia I think a real lift and it gives an entrée, a window into West Virginia to the rest of the country,” Capito said.
“Unbelievable growth in Fayette County, it’s a testament to what happens when something like this and when you start getting the signs up it will be advertised nationally through all the parks,” Manchin said.
The New River Gorge National Park and Preserve became the 63rd national park in the Untied States. People will be able to see the new signs along the road starting Wednesday.