By on December 28, 2020

National Park

A new national park will be included with pandemic-related aid in the second federal stimulus relief package. The New River Gorge in southern West Virginia will go from being a National River to a National Park and Preserve, making it the country’s 63rd national park and 20th preserve.

National Park

The $900 billion bill incorporates a new national park designation, announced by U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV). Capito, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), and U.S. Representative Carol Miller (R-WV) introduced the proposal in 2019, contending that the designation could boost tourism. Outdoor recreation is a $9 billion industry in the state, and redesignation to national park status could increase the number of visits by 21 percent.

National Park

The area was designated a national river in 1978. The New River Gorge National Park and Preserver Designation Act is a part of the Fiscal Year 2021 Omnibus Appropriations Bill and pandemic relief package, although it was not mentioned in a New York Times story on what was included.

National Park

If not for West Virginia Public Broadcasting, which alerted residents that the New River Gorge area in their state was about to become America’s 63rd national park, it may not have stood out in the 5,600-page package. The bulk of funds will go to individual payments, unemployment benefits, small business aid, vaccines and nursing homes, climate measure support, and medical benefits.

The New River Gorge area is home to a national river, a national scenic byway, and the New River Gorge Bridge, the world’s second-longest single-arch steel span. Built in 1974, the New River Gorge Bridge spans over 3,000 feet and connects the east and west banks of the river. Encircling the New River Gorge National River area is the 83-mile scenic byway, another attraction for the park. The route travels over interstates, divided highways, and two-lane connector roads, with plenty of views of the gorge and river.

National Park

“The New River Gorge is such an important part of West Virginia and a real source of pride in our state. I am thrilled legislation redesignating the National River as a National Park and Preserve is included in this legislative package. Redesignation of the National River to a National Park and Preserve will shine a brighter light on West Virginia and all that it has to offer,” Senator Moore Capito wrote.

National Park

TThe NPS currently manages 62 parks and over 400 sites and monuments across 29 states. The New River Gorge will be West Virginia’s first national park. The designation becomes official when President Trump signs the legislative package into law, which is expected to happen this week.

[Images: National Park Service]

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17 Comments on “Will a New National Park Provide Pandemic Relief?...”


  • avatar
    JMII

    Been there two or three times… beautiful place. I honestly thought it was already a National Park. This sounds more like they are changing its designation (name) more then anything as its already a “park” from a tourist point of view. However I don’t think you’ll be doing any off road driving there, from what I remember it was all walking trails.

    • 0 avatar
      SirRaoulDuke

      For 25 years I lived in West Virginia. The NRG is an absolute jewel of our national landscape.

      There are a ton of ATV trails in the Hatfield and McCoy trail system nearby, including about 100 miles of ORV trails.

  • avatar
    SirRaoulDuke

    What exactly does this have to do with automotive news?

    If I had a dollar for every person that does not understand the overall bill was the omnibus spending for 2021 and only part of that bill is COVID relief, I would be filthy rich. For everyone saying something about Program X for Nation Y, I have heard no complaining about 24 F-18’s and 96 F-35’s being funded.

    • 0 avatar
      chuckrs

      One problem with all these omnibus bills is that there are no line item vetoes. Another problem is that you can hide a lot of pork, in addition to legitimate expenditures. And you can use COVID relief to blackmail both other legislators and the President into swallowing the whole thing, no matter how feculent much of it is. One third of a billion people each receiving $600 is a cost of $200 billion. Where is the other $700 billion going? I won’t complain about the F-18s and F-35s, but I draw the line at $600 million for the Kennedy Center plus Lord knows what else is in there. Wouldn’t the F-18s and F-35s be in the 2021 NDAA? In any event, there is no transparency in either.

      The TTAC article does mention a considerable bridge and where there are bridges there are probably cars ;)

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Didn’t the 2021 defense bill get vetoed?

      • 0 avatar
        SirRaoulDuke

        Not only is that bridge totally awesome, but you can take a tour to walk the catwalk under it….and one day a year it is legal to base jump from it.

        COVID relief: there is almost $300b for PPP, a ton of money for the extra $300 in unemployment, money to pay for and distribute the vaccine, money for emergency rent assistance, etc and etc. It adds up quick.

        The Kennedy Center thing is in the regular portions of the omnibus spending. As are the jet fighters, which are NOT in the NDDA.

        The Line Item Veto is unconstitutional. Good luck changing the Constitution. Personally I do not believe in the concept of budget “pork”. One man’s pork is another community’s road or bridge…at least it was when we still had earmarks, which no longer exist (and thus what you think of as pork no longer exists). Frankly, if we brought back earmarks we would have less gridlock…it was a very effective way to create compromise and whip votes. Now we just lump-sum funding and let everyone fight for a piece of it through block grants to states, which is rather inefficient.

        • 0 avatar
          chuckrs

          Line item veto is not unconstitutional, but the 1996 law as written was. Two more attempts were made to rectify the problem, but didn’t make it out of Congress. Surprise.
          $300B for PPE is a $900 expenditure for every man, woman and child in the US. If they knew why they were allocating that much, shouldn’t we know how it is to be spent? The PPE stockpile at the beginning of Obama’s presidency in 2009 was depleted and never replenished. Was that really $300B worth of supplies used up?

  • avatar
    thegamper

    “I have heard no complaining about 24 F-18’s and 96 F-35’s being funded”

    In case we need a shock and awe campaign to blow the Coronavirus back to the stone age. Remember, science has no part to play in this administration, every option is on the table. Its true that such funding bills are generally a bucket list of pet projects, I still think that given the times, we could have held back on some of the pork temporarily. I think the more pertinent question is “what does this have to do with cars” aside from the roads that surround and pass through the park I suppose.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    If there ever were a state that needed good economic news, it’s West Virginia. Looks like a lovely area and I’d be honored to visit it.

    • 0 avatar
      SirRaoulDuke

      If you like outdoors activities, hiking, camping, fishing, ATV riding, mountain biking, etc. WV is a wonderful place to visit and get your head straight. Lots of natural beauty and very remote in places. I’d recommend the New River Gorge area in this article, as well as the Monongahela National Forest, which contains large areas of wilderness. Go there post-COVID and spread some money to the rural small businesses, they can use all the help they can get.

      • 0 avatar
        Old_WRX

        SirRaoulDuke,

        Been to WV a couple of times renting a cabin for a week. It’s a really nice way to get away from it for a time. And, it is beautiful country with some great roads, including some roads that would be fun at highly illegal speeds.

    • 0 avatar
      theflyersfan

      I’ve done some whitewater rafting on the New River and would do it again in a heartbeat. Plenty of Class IV rapids to speed up the heartrate a bit!
      West Virginia is blessed with some of the best scenery in the eastern half of the country and there are plenty of empty mountain roads to burn off some stress and a few gallons of gas.

  • avatar
    MoDo

    I went camping 5 times last summer, great way to get away from the virus BS.

  • avatar
    Rovercar

    Assuming the writer of this article knows anything about automobiles, he should stick to that subject and stop displaying his ignorance of how government works.

  • avatar
    Daniel J

    I’m not sure what the process is, but Little River Canyon or the Sipsey Wilderness area in Alabama really should be National Parks.

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