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West Virginia’s New National Park

by Katie Skrzek

Jan 13, 2021

Photo: Mrcard3 | Dreamstime.com

Destinations / North America

West Virginia is home to the United States’ newest national park. Last month, Congress passed a bill upgrading West Virginia’s New River Gorge from a national river to a national park. New River Gorge National Park and Preserve marks the 63rd national park in the United States.


Currently, the area spans about 73,000 acres in southern West Virginia, about an hour’s drive from the state’s capital of Charleston. According to the designation, the region will now be split into two sections: the park and the preserve. The park will encompass about 7,000 acres and the preserve makes up the remaining 65,000 acres.


New River is one of the oldest rivers in North America. It was established as a national river in 1978 and boasts 53 miles of whitewater, winding along cliffs reaching 1,000 feet. New River Gorge offers some of the best whitewater rafting opportunities in the country. It is also a great spot for fishing and hunting for those with permits. The area offers other outdoor activities including hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing and bungee jumping. West Virginia’s state flower, the great rhododendron, blooms in pink and white in the summer months.


New River Gorge National Park and Preserve is one of five combination parks and preserves in the country, with the other four located in Alaska.


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