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Hearing held over national park designation for New River Gorge

FAYETTEVILLE, W.Va. (WVVA) A National Park & Preserve designation could soon be within reach for the New River Gorge.

West Virginia’s congressional delegation held a hearing in Fayetteville on Wednesday ahead of a push for legislation that would elevate the gorge to a National Park & Preserve.

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, (R) West Virginia, said during the hearing the designation could mean big bucks for the area with an estimated 21 percent increase in tourism.

“I think if you quantify that for restaurants, hotels, and camping, it will be huge and grow every year.”

At issue though is a stretch of the New River Gorge above Fayetteville that would be off limits to hunters. Sen. Capito said most of the 4,300 acres that would be off limits are already off limits due to being highly populated areas — such as Sandstone Falls and Grandivew.

“Some of these areas that are going to be more restrictive are steep and most often not used for hunting.”

As for the section North of the New River Gorge, all three members of Congress said at the hearing they are open to compromise and plan to take another look.”

“They’re not asking for a lot. A few adjustments here and there could make a big difference.”

The members of Congress say they plan to have another hearing on the matter before the bill moves forward in Congress.

Annie Moore

Multimedia Journalist

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