CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — During its second year of operation, West Virginia’s only national park continued to bring in more than a million people and generated more than a thousand jobs in the area.

The New River Gorge National Park and Preserve was reestablished in January 2021 with national park status, but it seems that the hype of being the newest national park still hasn’t completely gone off.

According to the 2022 National Park Visitor Spending Effects report which was released in August of 2023, visitor, spending and output totals for the New River Gorge are just slightly down from 2021.

ParkTotal Rec. VisitsTotal Visitor SpendingJobsLabor IncomeValue AddedEconomic Output
New River Gorge NR1,593,523$79,238,0001,044$30,951,000$51,655,000$96,080,000
NPS visits, spending, and economic contributions to local economies – 2022.

In 2021, the park saw about 90,000 more visitors and generated an output of about $400,000 more.

In 2022, most visitors to the New River Gorge didn’t spend very much on their trip; based on the new data, on average, a park visitor spends less than $50. It’s not surprising that travel websites have named the New River Gorge one of the most affordable national parks to visit.

Most of the spending was by people from outside the area; more than 88% of the visitor spending in 2022 was from non-local visitors, according to the new report, meaning that $70 million in spending was brought into the Fayetteville area because of the park.

Although New River Gorge spending was down slightly from 2022, national parks in general actually saw an increase in visitors and spending, which was “largely due to service-wide visitation essentially recovering to prepandemic levels,” according to the report.