Crowd Mostly Favors Bill to Redesignate New River Gorge

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FAYETTEVILLE, W.Va. (AP) – A bill to redesignate the New River Gorge National River in West Virginia as the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve got a mostly favorable response during the first public meeting on the proposal.

News outlets report some expressed concerns about the amount of hunting land that would be withdrawn under the bill, but a majority of the overflow crowd raised their hands when asked if they support the direction of the bill.

The meeting on Wednesday was hosted by U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito and U.S. Rep. Carol Miller.

They said the redesignation was sought because rebranding as a national park is expected to increase visitation without raising costs. Hunting would not be allowed in the area designated as a park, but it would be allowed in the preserve.