America’s 63rd and newest national park was created earlier this year when the Congressional resolution authorizing it was buried deep in the text of legislation intended to address financial issues related to the COVID pandemic. Not one to look a gift horse in the proverbial mouth, I am just grateful that these 73,000 scenic acres have been awarded the nation’s highest level of protection. Just 10% of this territory is included in the actual national park. The remaining 65,000 acres make up a national preserve. So, what makes this area special?
The Mountain State of West Virginia was admitted to Union in 1863 at the height of the Civil War when the Unionists of the northern and western counties of secessionist Virginia themselves chose to secede from that Confederate state. It was a real public relations victory for President Lincoln and the Union. Don’t worry: That’s the end of the history lecture.