Secretary Bernhardt Wraps Up Visit to West Virginia

Visits Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge to tour construction of new facility, highlight boosted recreational opportunities with Senators Manchin, Capito

Last edited 09/29/2021

Date: July 15, 2019

Davis, W.V. – Today, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt toured the construction of a new multi-use facility at the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge with West Virginia Senators Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito.

“It was great to see the progress being made at the new facility at the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge with Senator Manchin and Senator Capito. When completed, the new facility will improve government efficiency, support local jobs and the economy in the Canaan Valley, and boost recreational opportunities,” said Secretary Bernhardt.

“A promise made is a promise kept - and today is evidence of that. In 2014, when my good friends Judge Pearson and Jack Rossi brought this to my attention, we got everyone together and worked to let the National Youth Science Foundation acquire the Canaan Valley Institute and we found the funding for a new Fish and Wildlife Service Visitor Center and Headquarters. We all worked towards a common goal – investing in our youth and in our state heritage. This facility shows that when we work together, we can make our state better. I’m so glad Secretary Bernhardt was able to be here today for this important event and I’m looking forward to having a great working relationship with him,” said U.S. Senator Manchin (D-WV).

“Securing funding for this new visitor center was a big priority of mine for a long time, and I’m thrilled to see this effort finally coming to completion. From attracting new visitors—which also helps drive economic growth—to making it easier for West Virginians and anyone else visiting our state to enjoy and appreciate this area’s natural beauty, this new center is going to be such an asset to the refuge and to our state,” said U.S. Senator Capito (R-WV).

“I am personally excited to see this new visitor center become a reality for the visitors and employees that love Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge as I do,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Principal Deputy Director Margaret Everson. “This refuge is a special place for me as it is where I grew up visiting as a child and where I now bring my children to watch them develop their own love of the outdoors. Once completed in spring 2020, we look forward to welcoming visitors to Tucker County as an outdoor recreation destination for hunting, fishing, hiking, watching wildlife, and enjoying nature.”

Using FY2018 Congressionally appropriated money, the new facility will include a reception, exhibit space, and multipurpose room for the public in addition to administrative offices to house staff from the refuge. It will also provide office space for the FWS West Virginia Ecological Services Field Office and Office of Law Enforcement – both currently located in Elkins, West Virginia – reducing overall Federal lease space. Construction is also underway to expand outdoor recreation opportunities and improve trails at the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge.

Following the site inspection of the progress on the new facility, Secretary Bernhardt met with FWS employees, refuge stakeholders, and elected officials.

Last month, FWS issued a new economic report titled, Banking on Nature 2017: The Economic Contributions of National Wildlife Refuge Recreational Visitation to Local Communities. According to the report, 53.6 million people visited national wildlife refuges in 2017, which had an economic impact of $3.2 billion on local communities and supported more than 41,000 jobs.

National wildlife refuges add tremendous value to our nation’s economy in the people employed and the money spent by visitors to support recreation and conservation activities. The U.S. economy added nearly 6 million jobs since January of 2017 and has an unemployment rate at 3.6%, which is the lowest rate since 1969.

Was this page helpful?

Please provide a comment