West Virginia’s New River Gorge will soon be redesignated from a national river to a national park and preserve, and with the new title will come some changes.
The redesignation was included in a COVID relief and end-of-year federal stimulus package passed by Congress late last night.
More than 60,000 acres will be declared a national preserve, with about 7,000 acres reserved for national park status. Being a national park can come with some stricter regulations, such as limiting drone usage, berry-picking, antler-collecting and hunting.
As for the New River Gorge area, 301 acres of the Lower Gorge will remain open for hunting at the request of local hunters, according to the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority. Also, an additional 368 acres will be open for hunting in Grandview for the first time.
While many national parks charge entrance fees, the New River Gorge will remain free for tourists to access.
There are more than 60 national parks in the country, but only six combined national parks and national preserves which are all in Alaska. This new redesignation will make southern West Virginia’s New River Gorge the seventh.
The redesignation to national park and preserve is included in the stimulus bill that President Donald Trump is expected to sign into law this week.