CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The New River Gorge National River in southern West Virginia would gain national park status through the year-end legislative package before Congress.
It would preserve 65,165 acres of wildlife and create a 7,000-acre park, while also opening up over 300 acres for hunting.
The New River Gorge would become the 62rd National Park and 20th National Preserve, said West Virginia U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito. They say the designation would boost tourism to the state.
“I can’t wait to see all the visitors, the improvements, the way we can show West Virginia to the rest of the nation,” Moore said in a video with a snowy backdrop of the New River Gorge Bride, third tallest bridge in the country.
Both senators introduced legislation to preserve the land in Oct. 2019.
“This designation will promote the beauty and rich history of the New River Gorge, while ensuring that the longstanding traditions of hunting and fishing are protected for generations to come,” Manchin said in a statement.