Adventures on the Gorge CEO Touts West Virginia National Park Units

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Adventures on the Gorge CEO Showcases National Parks of Southern West Virginia to North American Travel Writers


Travelers are being encouraged to “Find Your Park” with the National Park Service centennial in 2016, and the park they find may be in their own back yard. That was the message of Adventures on the Gorge CEO Dave Hartvigsen when he recently touted the National Parks of West Virginia and the broader theme of lesser known national parks to a group of travel writers attending the Society of American Travel Writers national convention. Hartvigsen was one of three experts serving on a panel highlighting national parks and next year’s National Park Service centennial.


“Most people already know the big parks like Yellowstone and Yosemite, but not everyone knows that there is probably a National Park Service unit in their own backyard or within an easy drive from home,” said Hartvigsen. “Even renowned travel writers who are experienced in communicating about the world’s destinations are sometimes not aware that there are so many national park designations.”

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With hundreds of members, the Society of American Travel Writers is the leading organization of writers, photographers, editors, film lecturers, broadcast/video/film producers, bloggers, website contributors and owners, creators of mobile apps and public relations representatives from throughout North America.


“The members were very receptive to our message about lesser known national parks and specifically, the National Parks of Southern West Virginia,” said Hartvigsen. “Journalists are naturally inquisitive, and I was delighted to share some of the reasons the national parks in Southern West Virginia are so special.”


Earlier this year, the National Park Service launched a marketing campaign to collectively promote the New River Gorge National River, Gauley River National Recreation Area and Bluestone National Scenic River. According to the National Park Service, the three parks combined welcomed some 1.2 million visitors who contributed $60.6 million to the economy of the four surrounding counties and supported 670 jobs in the region.

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Visitation surprises

Visitors came from near and far, literally. Hartvigsen habitually notes the license plates on vehicles parked in the adventure resort’s lots, and he reported that while a majority of the plates are from neighboring states, a surprising number are also from far away states like Texas and California.


“We expect that many of our visitors will be from West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and North Carolina, but it is a fun and pleasant surprise when we see vehicles from far away states,” said Hartvigsen. “And based on the numerous languages we hear in our boats, we also know that our guests come from many different countries and cultures, which suggests that the word is out about the natural beauty and adventures that can be found here in wonderful West Virginia.”

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More about the National Parks of Southern West Virginia

Established in 1978, New River Gorge National River encompasses more than 70,000 acres of land along 53 miles of the New River from Bluestone Dam to Hawk’s Nest Lake. A rugged, whitewater river flowing northward through deep and spectacular canyons, the New River is actually among the oldest rivers on Earth. Here in southern West Virginia, the New River has carved and continues to carve the deepest and longest river gorge in the Appalachian Mountains.


The Gauley River National Recreation Area includes 25 miles of the Gauley River, known as one of the best whitewater rafting rivers in the world. The river is particularly challenging and popular during the months of September and October, when water is released from the Summersville Dam, creating incredibly fast water and huge rapids, including nine Class V rapids.


The Bluestone National Scenic River includes a 10.5-mile section of unspoiled and protected river that is a haven for a vast array of plants and animals. The river is named for the deep blue limestone streambed.


About Adventures on the Gorge

Adventures on the Gorge provides an array of outdoor experiences including whitewater rafting on the New and Gauley Rivers, aerial adventures including two zip lines and a Bridgewalk, rock climbing, rappelling, kayaking, stand up paddleboarding, fishing, mountain biking and hiking. The resort also features lodging and restaurants.

3 comments for “Adventures on the Gorge CEO Touts West Virginia National Park Units

  1. December 12, 2015 at 12:57 am

    Beautiful photos… I want to visit West Virginia. I’ve only ever been in a few states here on the West coast. I dream of visiting everywhere! 🙂

  2. Sue E
    January 1, 2016 at 9:13 pm

    I would love to go to those beautiful places, but I can no longer participate in any of the physical activities, because I am disabled. Sometimes I feel bad that I let my busy life pass me by on what I really wanted to do!! I gave this advice to my kids and they do go on trips with their kids – instead of saying like I did – we’ll wait until they get older!! Well older is now out of the house!!

  3. Irene Pilato
    March 23, 2016 at 9:08 am

    This place is beautiful! I’ve never been out of Europe, I would love to visit!

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