FAYETTEVILLE, WV (WVNS) — Tuesday, December 27, 2022 marks two years since the New River Gorge was named a National Park.

With the designation change, the New River Gorge became the 63rd National Park in the United States.

It is also the 423rd National Park Service Site in the US and its territories.

Jodi French-Burr is a Park Ranger at the New River Gorge.

She said the change did more than just increase visitation numbers.

“Originally this National Park Service site was designated as New River Gorge National River,’ said French-Burr. “This newest change in the past two years has really brought this site to more awareness with the public and the Gateway community here, the New River Gorge, is a pretty amazing spot. So it had a lot of economic development as well as brought a lot more visitors to the park.”

Kenneth Hosfeld is a visitor from Norway who first came to the park before it became a National Park.

The latest addition, he says it is great to see more land being saved for everyone to enjoy.

“I think it is awesome because the more National Parks we have, the more conservation we’re going to have of land,” said Hosfeld. “And as land becomes more scarce, we have to take care of the free and unspoiled lands that we have.”

Despite the anniversary, park rangers did not plan any special celebrations

However, it does not mean visitors should not celebrate the occasion.

French-Burr said she helps people do so by enjoying all that the park has to offer to them, throughout its seventy-thousand-plus acres.

“What we hope people do to celebrate is go out and explore the park,” said French-Burr. “Like any of the 423 National Park Service Sites across the country, this park belongs to everyone to go out and explore. So we hope people take advantage of that and especially since it’s an anniversary while you’re here that 2 years as a National Park and Preserve, we hope people go out and play here.”

According to the National Park Service, more than three million people visited the park since 2021 when the designation change occurred.