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W.Va. leaders unveil new National Park signs in Summers County

SANDSTONE, W.Va. (WVVA) Leaders in the Mountain State came together on Friday to unveil new signs at the New River Gorge National Park's Sandstone location. More than eighty new signs will be set up across the three counties that America's newest national park dissects.

At the unveiling, W.Va. Tourism Sec. Chelsea Ruby said the new designation is translating to tourism dollars. Last year, between January and June, she said the New River Gorge saw 17,000 rafters. This year, that number has jumped to 42,000. And it is not just rafters who are coming. She said the Mountain State recorded one of his highest levels of out-of-state travelers on record in June with 3 million visitors, a 40 percent bump from the year before.

"I still believe, even today, we're touching around the plate. And the real meat and potatoes are still coming," said Gov. Justice at the unveiling.

Earlier in the week, the New River Gorge was named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 Best Places to Visit in the World. Congresswoman Carol Miller believes strongly that the word is getting out.

"I hear people describe what the mountains are like...they come back and say I couldn't really understand it until I saw it...it's magnificent."

While West Virginia may be in the spotlight at the moment, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, (R) West Virginia, said there is important work ahead to keep it there.

"We've got to do this right. We've got to make sure we have the facilities, the restaurants, and the recreational opportunities. Our businesses are successful....we just need to keep that momentum going."

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Annie Moore

Multimedia Journalist

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