FAYETTEVILLE, W.Va. — A veteran travel writer calls the New River Gorge National Park a “major breaking travel news story.”
Richard Grant, a member of the Freelance Council of the Society of American Travel Writers, said his visit this week to Fayette and surrounding counties has been eye-opening.
“The people are just so friendly, the food is great and the scenery is a big surprise. Nobody had any idea that West Virginia’s this pretty,” Grant said during an appearance Wednesday on MetroNews “Talkline.” “The National Park designation is going to give you so much publicity around the world.”
Grant and 42 other travel writers are meeting in the area this week. They wanted to come and see the nation’s newest National Park. The New River Gorge received the redesignation late last year.
Grant said the area has a nice mix of everything needed to start to become a major attraction.
He said the area doesn’t have the infrastructure of The Great Smoky Mountains or Branson, Missouri but it has things those areas don’t have.
“You can’t beat what you offer for natural resources in sheer beauty, for hiking, waterfalls, all of the adventure activities, they’re all here,” Grant said.
He said the New River Gorge is in a “very exclusive club” with the National Park designation. He said there will be lots of visitors who will include a visit to West Virginia in their efforts to see all of the parks.
Grant said the timing for the change in designation from a National River to a National Park comes at a time when people want to begin traveling again after a year off because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“All of the studies say people are going to travel. They might travel longer this year but shorter distances,” Grant said. “They want to get away but it’s not the year to go to Europe.”
Grant said he’s been impressed this week with Fayetteville, Adventures on the Gorge, Greenbrier County and the Greenbrier Resort among other spots.
There’s a lot be optimistic about moving forward, Grant said.
“Outdoor activities are safe and people can come someplace new that’s exciting and different and it’s close by,” he said.
Grant writes for gonomad.com.