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New River Gorge: Covid-19 Relief Bill Creates A New National Park

“The New River Gorge became the United States’ 63rd national park with the passage of the year-end omnibus spending bill.”

“Nestled between the lush forests, sheer cliffs, and marshy wetlands of West Virginia is the New River Gorge, a historic outdoors and adventure sport hub that attracts around one million visitors every year. It’s also the United States’ newest (and West Virginia’s first) national park and preserve.

“The New River Gorge is truly one of West Virginia's most treasured playgrounds and largest tourist attractions because of its whitewater rafting, hunting, fishing, outdoor sports and natural beauty,” said West Virginia's Sen. Joe Manchin in a press release. The legislation, along with Covid-19 relief, is part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, an omnibus spending bill that President Trump signed on December 27.

The move comes as the state continues to emphasize its tourism industry, which brought in $4.6 billion in 2018, the last year for which data is available. After seeing declines in tourism revenue from 2012 to 2016, the sector grew between 2016 and 2018.”

Jack Daleo reports for Backpacker December 30, 2020.