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Gorge national park and preserve confab attracts overflow crowd in W.Va.

By Rick Steelhammer, Charleston Gazette-Mail

FAYETTEVILLE, W.Va. — Recently introduced legislation that would elevate West Virginia’s New River Gorge status from national river to national park and preserve drew a standing-room-only crowd to Canyon Rim Visitor Center on Wednesday to ask questions and voice opinions about the proposal.

Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., introduced a bill late last month that would re-brand the 78,808-acre National Park Service unit in an effort to draw more visitors to Southern West Virginia and spur the region’s economy.

Manchin and Capito led Wednesday’s meeting, joined by Rep. Carol Miller, R-W.Va., who introduced a companion bill in the House last Friday, co-sponsored by fellow Reps. David McKinley and Alex Mooney, both R-W.Va. …

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