I believe that one of the 3 areas below will become the USA’s newest National Park in the not too distant future. They are High Allegheny, Mount St. Helens, and Crater Lake. I’ll even go so far as to predict which one might be selected first. I think that there will be a High Allegheny National Park soon. It will be chosen because it is east of the Mississippi River. Of the 62 National Parks in existence fewer than a dozen are east of the Mississippi for several reasons. I predict that West Virginia will be the new home of a National Park in the next few years, and it will be called High Allegheny.
West Virginia is still considered naturally wild with 37 state parks. It still has no major cities. West Virginia entered the union as the 35th state during the Civil War in 1863. Once part of the State of Virginia that became a slave state, West Virginia didn’t agree politically with Virginia and separated from it. Abraham Lincoln accepted it into The Union as a slaveless Northern State.
West Virginia already has 10 important National Park Sites including a small portion of the Appalachian Trail. Its 4 mile contribution to this national hiker’s dream is noteworthy. Often called the psychological half point, it includes ATCH, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy Headquarters and has a visitor center. Appalachian National Scenic Trail passes through West Virginia’s most important National Park facility, the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park where John Brown’s raid occurred. It has no campgrounds yet, which are becoming increasingly important National Park facilities, but commercial campgrounds are nearby. Other West Virginia National Park sites of interest involve Coal and the city of Wheeling. To host a National Heritage site devoted to a controversial industry that was locally important like coal is brave. Wheeling, WV is the last navigable Ohio River port and a scenically splendid town. The whole city is considered a National Heritage Area.
The relatively new Lewis and Clark National Historical Trail now includes West Virginia. This 4,900 mile trail has been extended to include 5 states that became involved in the planning of the Corps of Discovery. Instead of beginning in Wood River, IL, it now is said to run from Pittsburgh, PA to Astoria, OR. This inclusion occurred in 2019, and the West Virginia portion of this trail includes Grave Creek, the largest conical burial mound in the US. It is as significant as Illinois’ Cahokia Mounds, Georgia’s Ocmulgee, and Iowa’s Effigy.