CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The National Park Service’s 2022 report on visitor spending has found that the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve in southern West Virginia generated $96.1 million in economic output and supported 1,044 jobs.
More than 1.5 million park visitors spent an estimated $79.3 million in local gateway regions in 2022 while visiting the Nepark and preserve, with 88.1% of visitors from out-of-state.
U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito celebrated the news and stressed that West Virginians benefited from $133.8 million in economic output across all national park units across the state, including Harper's Ferry National Historical Park in the state's eastern panhandle.
“It’s wonderful to see that the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve is maintaining the success that we saw immediately following its redesignation in 2020, and that it continues to make a major economic impact in our state," Moore said.
"When I began advocating for the redesignation, this was exactly the impact I knew the New River Gorge could make."
The New River Gorge National Park and Preserve was established through the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve Designation Act, legislation authored by Senator Capito.
Signed into law on December 27, 2020, the act led to the redesignation of the "New River Gorge National River" as the "New River Gorge National Park and Preserve."
The redesignation has helped promote the beauty and historical significance of the New River Gorge, she said, by making the site just the 63rd national park and 20th national preserve in the U.S. while ensuring that the longstanding hunting and fishing traditions are protected for generations to come.
Capito emphasized the influence of West Virginians as hosts.
“This would not be possible without the gracious hospitality and hard work from West Virginians in the gateway communities around the park," she said.
"From Hinton to Fayetteville, Meadow Bridge, and all places in between, residents of the region have been fantastic ambassadors for our state. I look forward to seeing the continued success of the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve and the economic ripple effect that it generates.”
Capito secured $7,424,198 through eight Congressionally Directed Spending requests included in the U.S. Senate passed the fiscal year 2024 funding bills that would have a direct impact in the New River Gorge region.
All Senate-passed FY24 CDS awards are subject to approval in the U.S. House of Representatives and will not be awarded unless passed by both chambers and signed into law.