By Steven Allen Adams, The Intelligencer
LANSING, W.Va. — State and congressional officials were on hand Wednesday as the New River Gorge National River received a long-sought upgrade to New River National Park and Preserve, the nation’s 63rd and newest national park.
U.S. Senators Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., joined Chelsea Ruby, the secretary of the new Department of Tourism, and Park Superintendent Lizzie Watts in pulling down a curtain revealing new signage for the park.
“We’re deeply honored, thrilled, delighted, and just plain happy that this day came,” Watts said. “Becoming a national park really is a true honor for all of us, for the people who live next to this park, for the people that work here, and the people and all of the citizens of West Virginia. They all get to know what we knew: that is really, truthfully is one of the most spectacular places on the face of the Earth.”
The event took place at the Canyon Rim Visitor Center overlooking the New River and just a mile from the world-famous New River Gorge Bridge. Both the New and Gauley rivers in Fayette County are known for their whitewater rapids, scenic trails, and beautiful views of the gorge…