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Saturday, June 19, 2021

New River Gorge Becomes Newest National Park

A popular rock climbing and whitewater rafting destination in southeastern West Virginia has officially become a U.S. national park, thanks to the latest COVID-19 stimulus package.

New River Gorge National Park and Preserve is known for its 53 miles of free-flowing whitewater that cuts through sandstone cliffs towering as high as 1,000 feet in the air. It boasts class III through V rapids and plenty of boulders to keep even the most experienced rafters engaged. The upper part of the river is calmer and more welcoming to new rafters.

The area also boasts more than 1,500 climbing routes, as well as a 12.8-mile system of mountain bike trails.

New River Gorge is about an hour’s drive from Charleston, West Virginia. It encompasses about 7,000 acres marked with trailheads and visitor centers, and another 65,000 for backcountry hunting. White-tailed deer, river otters, and bald eagles are among the wildlife regularly spotted here.

The gorge is the largest in the Appalachian Mountains.

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