The Newest US National Park Is in West Virginia
The United States’ newest national park is the New River Gorge in West Virginia, formerly a national river. It’s been upgraded to a national park and preserved thanks to last month’s COVID-19 stimulus package. It will be the 63rd national park in the country, and the 20th preserve.
The park is over 70,000 acres, along 53 miles of whitewater flowing through sandstone cliffs, and located an hour from Charleston, WV. The park and preserve will include three locations already managed by the National Park Service, including New River Gorge itself, the Gauley National Recreation Area, and the Bluestone National Scenic River.
The Appalachian canyon is known as a rock climbing and whitewater rafting destination, as well as for having several popular hiking trails. The park has over 1,500 rock climbing routes, Class IV and V whitewater rapids for truly adventurous and adrenaline-seeking visitors, and mountain biking trails. It’s also home to wildlife like white-tailed deer, river otters, and bald eagles, and flora like West Virginia’s white and pink state flower and the great rhododendron.