WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) today introduced the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve Designation Act – legislation that would change the New River Gorge’s designation from the “New River Gorge National River” to the “New River Gorge National Park and Preserve.” This redesignation will promote the beauty and historical significance of the New River Gorge, while ensuring that the longstanding traditions of hunting and fishing are protected for generations to come.
“The New River Gorge is a special part of West Virginia and a real source of pride for our state,” Senator Capito said. “Whether it’s cheering on the BASE jumpers at Bridge Day, experiencing the thrill of world-class white water rafting, catching a glimpse into our state’s history and the unique geology of Appalachia, or taking in the beautiful panoramic views, the New River Gorge provides unlimited opportunities for thousands of visitors each year. Redesignating the National River to a National Park and Preserve will shine a new, brighter light on the New River Gorge and its many offerings—including hunting and fishing—to help drive tourism and spur the local and regional economy.”
“The New River Gorge is one of our most treasured playgrounds and largest tourist attractions in West Virginia. Over the last several months I have met with sportsmen and other interested groups to discuss ideas to make our backyard an even bigger attraction to visitors. Redesignating the New River Gorge as a National Park and Preserve creates new adventure opportunities while preserving the unique culture and traditions we take so much pride in,” said Senator Manchin, Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
In West Virginia, outdoor recreation is a $9 billion industry and one that supports more than 91,000 jobs. Studies have shown that mere designation of a monument or area to National Park status has increased the number of visitors by 21 percent. By redesignating the New River Gorge National River to the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, this area stands to benefit tremendously.
The New River Gorge National Park and Preserve Designation Act will maintain hunting and fishing within the preserve area—areas where sportsmen currently enjoy hunting and fishing. The legislation also specifically protects hunting, fishing, and trapping on privately owned land and will preserve and help grow the vibrant outdoor recreation industry on the New River. The New River Gorge has a long and rich history, which is also preserved through this legislation.