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Real Madrid vs Sociedad Prediction: La Liga Match on 01.03.2021
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It’s the first day of March and La Liga champions Real Madrid return to league action following their midweek Champions League exploits. The home team are involved in a battle with city rivals Atletico Madrid and Barcelona to retain their crown and it’s a fight that is sure to go right down to the wire. We are entering a vital stage of the season. Can Real Madrid find the form needed to win the title? A competitive match is expected on Monday evening in Madrid after these teams played out a tense draw in their most recent meeting back in September. That game ended goalless, but it did extend Madrid’s unbeaten run against Sociedad to two games. Will that run continue? Madrid three off the pace Real Madrid entered round 25 of the La Liga season with stats showing 16 wins and four draws against four defeats, scoring 42 goals while conceding just 19. The 52 points gained leaves them three off the pace set by Atletico Madrid who also have a game in hand. Real have done well to fight their way back into it but know there’s now no room for error as the race gets serious. Confidence is high in the home dressing room after Blancos put together an eye-catching four-game winning run, moving them five points ahead of Barcelona in third place. The locals were last seen in domestic action beating Real Valladolid 1-0 away from home, claiming an important three points thanks to a goal from Casemiro on 65 minutes. More of the same is needed here. Sociedad have won their last three Sociedad are performing above expectations so far and sit fifth in the table with a strong chance of improving and grabbing a place in the top-four. Champions League football next season is a possibility if they can continue their form and that’s something the squad must keep in mind as the challenges continue to come at them thick and fast. The visitors arrive in town on the back of an impressive unbeaten run, drawing two and winning three of their last five games. Sociedad have also picked up each of the last nine points available to them in the league so face Madrid without fear. If they can get something out of this match it will seriously improve their chances of finishing in the top-four. Real Madrid vs Sociedad prediction Both teams find themselves in a fantastic position but that comes with pressure and the players know they must continue their impressive form until the end of the season. A slip up here could have a huge impact on their chances of winning the title or finishing in the top-four. That should make this a nervy game but both clubs are scoring for fun at the minute so armchair fans hope to see a few goals. La Liga odds Real Madrid are 2.14 to win with Sociedad priced at 4.2 with 22bet and the draw 2.71. Make sure to bet on Real Madrid vs Sociedad with 22Bet! The post Real Madrid vs Sociedad Prediction: La Liga Match on 01.03.2021 appeared first on 22bet.
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ออสเตรเลียนโอเพ่น 2021: สิ่งที่น่าจับตามองในคืนวันอังคาร
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Rod Laver Arena | 23:00 ของวันอังคาร Andre Rublev พบกับ Daniil Medvedev Andre Rublev และ Daniil Medvedev คว้าแชมป์ ATP Cup ให้กับรัสเซียเมื่อต้นเดือนนี้และไม่มีผู้เล่นคนใดแพ้แม้แต่นัดเดียว ในการประชุมสามครั้งระหว่างเอทีพีทัวร์เมดเวเดฟทำประตูได้ทุกครั้งรวมถึงรอบรองชนะเลิศของยูเอสโอเพ่นในเดือนกันยายน นี่อาจเป็นโอกาสของ Rublev ที่จะเอาชนะคู่แข่งที่เป็นมิตรของเขาได้ในที่สุด เขาดูโดดเด่นเป็นพิเศษโดยไม่ทิ้งเซตระหว่างการแข่งขัน การแข่งขันของเขากับ Casper Ruud จบลงหลังจากผ่านไปเพียงสองเซตเมื่อนอร์เวย์ถอนตัวด้วยอาการบาดเจ็บ เมื่อเข้าสู่รอบรองชนะเลิศ Rublev เป็นผู้นำในทั้งเปอร์เซ็นต์ของคะแนนเสิร์ฟแรกและคะแนนเสิร์ฟที่สองซึ่งเป็นสัญญาณว่าคู่ต่อสู้จะทำลายการเสิร์ฟของเขาได้ยากเพียงใด เมดเวเดฟยังเล่นได้ดีนอกเหนือจากการแข่งขันรอบสามที่วุ่นวายและไม่เป็นระเบียบกับฟิลิปคราจิโนวิช ตอนนี้เขาชนะ 18 นัดติดต่อกันโดยการแพ้ครั้งสุดท้ายเกิดขึ้นในเดือนตุลาคมที่ทัวร์นาเมนต์ที่เวียนนา แม้ว่าพื้นผิวที่เร็วจะตรงกับภาพพื้นฐานที่แบนของ Medvedev แต่ท่าทางที่เปิดกว้างของ Rublev ก็มีแนวโน้มที่จะป้องกันและแน่นอนว่าเราจะเห็นจุดที่มีพลวัตและดุดันมากมาย Rod Laver Arena | 03:30 น. ของวันพุธราฟาเอลนาดาลพบกับสเตฟานอสซิตซิปัสราฟาเอลนาดาลผู้เล่นหมายเลข 2 ผ่านรอบ 4 นัดแรกได้อย่างราบรื่นไม่แปลกใจสำหรับผู้เล่นที่มี 20 รายการในแกรนด์สแลม แม้ว่านาดาลจะคว้าแชมป์ออสเตรเลียนโอเพ่นรายการเดียวเมื่อกว่าทศวรรษที่แล้ว แต่เขาก็ผ่านเข้ารอบชิงชนะเลิศในอีก 4 ครั้งนับตั้งแต่นั้นเป็นต้นมาและเป็นทีมเต็งที่ชัดเจนในครึ่งหนึ่งของการเสมอกัน ช็อตเด็ดที่ทรงพลังของนาดาลเหมาะสำหรับสนามดินซึ่งเขาสามารถลากคู่ต่อสู้ด้วยการยิงเข้ามุมที่เคร่งครัด ความสามารถของนาดาลในการใช้ประโยชน์จากจุดอ่อนของคู่ต่อสู้ผ่านการกดดันอย่างไม่หยุดยั้งสามารถทำลายผู้เล่นส่วนใหญ่ได้ในช่วงเวลาที่ดีที่สุด Stefanos Tsitsipas ผู้ชนะ ATP รอบชิงชนะเลิศในปี 2019 เป็นการศึกษาเกี่ยวกับความคาดเดาไม่ได้ เมล็ดพันธุ์ที่ห้ามีความสามารถในการเล่นทุกคอร์ท แต่ขาดความสม่ำเสมอในการเล่นเกมหลังจบเกม นักเตะวัย 22 ปีพยายามปรับปรุงด้านนี้ในเกมของเขา แต่ต้องการห้าเซตเพื่อขับไล่ธานาซิค็อกคินาคิสที่ไม่ได้รับตำแหน่งในรอบที่สอง หลังจากผ่านเข้ารอบ 16 ทีม Tsitsipas จะพักผ่อนให้ดีและหวังว่าจะได้เปรียบกับหนึ่งในผู้เล่นที่แข็งแกร่งที่สุดในทัวร์
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European Team of the Week: Ilkay Gundogan and Lionel Messi join hat-trick hero Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
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Every week we pick 22 of the best performing players in Europe’s top five leagues and, with your help, narrow it down to the best XI. Using polls on our Instagram stories, we pit players in each position against each other and let you decide who deserves to make the cut. Follow our Instagram page to get involved. Here’s what our latest European Team of the Week looks like: GK: Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa) Earned his 12th clean sheet of the season and Villa a point in difficult circumstances. Brighton were well on top and exerted pressure on his goal, but a stunning nine saves kept them at bay. RB: Matthew Lowton (Burnley) Undoubtedly his best performances of the season, excelling at both ends of the pitch. Lowton made three tackles, three interceptions and five clearances in a fine defensive display but really caught the eye in attack with three key passes and one outstanding volley to score at the end of a superb run. CB: Lucas Martinez Quarta (Fiorentina) Solid at the back and certainly didn’t deserve to end up on the losing side. Stood out with 11 defensive actions in a 2-1 defeat to Sampdoria, including five interceptions and he even managed to hit the woodwork at the other end. CB: Diego Carlos (Sevilla) A rock at the back as Sevilla secured a 1-0 victory at home to Huesca. Made a staggering 11 clearances in the process and was good on the ball, boasting a success rate of 92.7 per cent. LB: Ola Aina (Fulham) Perfect ball across for Josh Maja to score the first goal at the end of a fluid Fulham attack. He put in a shift in defence as well. No one made more than his five clearances during the 2-0 win over Everton. CM: Ilkay Gundogan (Man City) The Premier League’s Player of the Month continued in his rich vein of form. He was excellent in midfield and tormented Tottenham with his well-timed runs forward, bagging a brace. He sat Davinson Sanchez down before slotting home for his second goal. CM: Toni Kroos (Real Madrid) Dictated the tempo of the game with his exceptional distribution. The German played 107 passes at 94.4-per-cent accuracy. He picked up an assist for the opener and then passed the ball into the back of the net with ease to get himself on the score sheet as well. CM: Nabil Fekir (Real Betis) Took his goal superbly, showing great strength to hold off the defender before checking back onto his weaker right foot and dispatching the finish with aplomb. He posed a constant threat with a game-high five shots in the 2-1 win at Villarreal. FW: Lionel Messi (Barcelona) Vintage Messi, skipping past challenges and scoring from range. He hammered in his first in emphatic fashion, but his second was a thing of beauty, curling a sublime effort into the corner from the edge of the box with minimal back-lift. He even bagged an assist, by setting up Trincao. FW: Romelu Lukaku (Inter Milan) Reached 300 goals for club and country by scoring a brace in a 3-1 win over Lazio that fired Inter to the top of Serie A. He made no mistake from the spot and then took advantage of some suspect defending for his second. He then showed immense pace and power to assist Lautaro Martinez on the break. FW: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal) Scored his first Premier League hat-trick in a 4-2 win over Leeds and even hit the woodwork. He cut in expertly to score the opener, converted a penalty and then headed home Emile Smith-Rowe’s cross. Know more about Sport360 Application
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Serie A Team of the Week: Lukaku lays waste to Lazio
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Romelu Lukaku leads the Serie A Team of the Week following his excellent performance for Inter at home to Lazio.Antonio Conte's men secured a vital 3-1 home victory which allowed them to leapfrog Milan into top spot in the table and into pole position to claim the Scudetto.Lukaku (8.4) played a part in all three goals, initially scoring from the penalty spot before earning his second with a flashed right-footed snapshot past the goalkeeper from the edge of the box which was only given after VAR Intervened.His best moment of the match was arguably his assist, though, as he showed devastating pace, power, and determination to barge down the right wing, leaving Marco Parolo for dead before setting up Lautaro Martinez for a tap in.Lorenzo Insigne (7.4) and Domenico Berardi (7.9) join the big Belgian in the front three after scoring for Napoli and Sassuolo respectively. The Napoli man converted from the penalty spot as the Partenopei defeated Juventus 1-0.Another Sassuolo player features in our XI in Manuel Locatelli (7.6), who completed 88/96 attempted passes and had more touches of the ball than any other player in this round of fixtures with 125.Jordan Veretout (7.8) scored two goals from midfield as Roma beat Udinese 3-0 with relative comfort.Making up the midfield three is Fiorentina's Erick Pulgar (7.7), who won an impressive 11/15 duels, albeit in defeat against Sampdoria.One of the most surprising results of the weekend saw Spezia defeat league leaders Milan 2-0. Simone Bastoni (7.7) scored one of the goals and slots in at left-back.Gianluca Mancini (8.1) and veteran defender Kamil Glik (8.0) feature in the centre of our defence.Berat Djimsiti (7.8) had 108 touches of the ball and completed 83/94 attempted passes for Atalanta.Napoli understandably had to weather a storm of sorts against Juve, but had Alex Meret (8.2) in goal to rely on as he made six saves to earn his clean sheet bonus.Serie A TEAM OF THE WEEK .
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WPT GTO Trainer Hands of the Week: Battling the Big Blind
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February 16 2021 LearnWPT With a 100 big blind effective stack, you open-raise to 3bbs in the Cutoff seat and get called by the player in the Big Blind. This scenario shows a common spot where you are in position against a tough opponent in the Big Blind on the flop after you were the preflop aggressor. Against a less-skilled opponent automatically c-betting a standard size is often the best play. These types of opponents are less likely to put pressure on your c-bets by making moves on the flop. Against tougher players you’ll need to focus on board texture to determine the best continuation bet sizing and identify flops where checking behind will be the best play. Generally you can use smaller c-bet sizes on dry, static flops that don’t have many equity changing turn cards. For example, larger c-bet sizing is not required on a flop of rainbow. On more coordinated boards that still favor you as the raiser, such as with a flush draw, you can use a larger c-bet sizing. Tough opponents will have robust check-raising ranges as part of their overall Big Blind Defense strategy, so be aware of not over folding hands with too much equity when your c-bet gets check-raised. You will often be put to tough decisions with marginal hands, with the correct decision often coming down to understanding the effects of blockers. If you hold cards that interfere with your opponent’s ability to have strong hands, you should be more likely to call down in the hand. If your cards interfere with their ability to have bluffs, you should be more likely to fold. For more GTO hand analysis, you can play through five solved random hands from this situation. To access the free five hands, visit this page. Regular play on the WPT GTO Trainer will help you adjust your decisions closer and closer to GTO strategy. You don’t have to be the world’s best player to use GTO Strategy, and thanks to the WPT GTO Trainer, now you don’t have to buy expensive software or have expert level knowledge to study GTO. Why use the WPT GTO Trainer? The WPT GTO Trainer lets you play real solved hands against a perfect opponent in a wide variety of postflop scenarios for cash game and tournament play. If your goal is to be a tough poker player then you should try the WPT GTO Trainer today. Register a free account here (it only takes your e-mail address to begin) to play hands and see true GTO strategy in real-time. The WPT GTO Trainer has over 4 billion unique solved flops, turns and rivers that are fully playable. As you make decisions in a hand, you receive instant feedback on the specific EV loss (if any) and Played Percentage for every action you take as compared to GTO strategy. The full selection of scenarios for the WPT GTO Trainer are only available to members of LearnWPT, however we’re giving PokerNews Readers free access to the Trainer on a regular basis with the WPT GTO Hands of The Week. Use this series of articles to practice the strategies you learn on LearnWPT (or at the table) and test your progress by playing a five-hand sample each week.
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Jalen Green leads Ignite to 4-0 start in NBA G League
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Team Ignite’s Jalen Green. G LEAGUE PHOTO MANILA, Philippines — Jalen Green sustained his torrid start to lead Team Ignite’s comeback win over the Iowa Wolves, 97-90, in the NBA G League Tuesday at AdventHealth Arena in Florida. The 6-foot-6 Fil-American fired a career-high 22 points as Ignite stretched its unbeaten run to four games. He has now scored at least 20 points for the third straight game. Green, who also collected six rebounds and five assists, capped off his solid outing with a layup for a 96-90 lead with 12.2 seconds left. #GLeagueIgnite remains undefeated at 4-0 take a look inside its hot start as told by head coach Brian Shaw pic.twitter.com/MVggNlGLR7 — NBA G League (@nbagleague) February 16, 2021 Ignite trailed by as many as 11 early in the fourth quarter before going on a 25-7 run to take control of the game. Donta Hall added 12 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks for Ignite, which still awaits the arrival of Filipino center Kai Sotto. UNCERTAIN However, coach Brian Shaw said he doesn’t have a say yet on whether Sotto will be able to play right away when he returns. “That’ll be something that will be determined by the people that are above my paygrade,” said Shaw during a media availability. Sotto came back to the Philippines hoping to suit up for the national team in the third and final window of the 2021 Fiba Asia Cup Qualifiers in Doha this month. But the tournament was postponed again with the Philippines back as the host. The 7-foot-3 Sotto is expected to rejoin Ignite in the G League’s bio-secure facility in Orlando as soon as he clears strict quarantine measures. Read Next Don't miss out on the latest news and information. Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000. For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.
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Jessica Pegula, daughter of Bills and Sabres owners, pulls off massive Australian Open upset
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Jessica Pegula. (Photo by Andy Cheung/Getty Images)Packers: 3 moves Green Bay can make thanks to David Bakhtiari by Rucker Haringey Jessica Pegula continues her magical run at the 2021 Australian Open, knocking off the No. 5 player in the world to get to the quarterfinals.Jessica Pegula is one match away from getting to the 2021 Australian Open semifinals. The daughter of Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres owners Terry and Kim Pegula just pulled off an incredible upset in the fourth round on Sunday, defeating the No. 5 player in the world Elina Svitolina 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals. Pegula faces No. 22 Jennifer Brady on Tuesday.This was the 26-year-old’s first victory over a top-10 opponent, as well as her first trip to a Grand Slam quarterfinal. It will be an All-American quarterfinal between Pegula and Brady on Tuesday.“It’s an opportunity for both of us,” said Pegula after defeating Svitolina on Sunday at Rod Laver. “I’m just happy I’m here. She’s been playing some good tennis, solidifying herself as a top player.”Perhaps the Bills’ success will continue to carry over to Pegula in Australia?The Bills are coming off their best season in Pegula’s lifetime. Buffalo had not hosted a playoff game since before she was born. While the Sabres continue to not do much of anything on the NHL side of things, the Bills were one win away from making their fifth trip to the Super Bowl in franchise history. The Bills should be one of the top five teams in the NFL again next season.While Pegula’s remarkable run in Melbourne may be coming to an end soon, being able to knock off the No. 5 player in the sport in such a high-profile event as the Australian Open is a huge accomplishment. Pegula is in her athletic prime and with one more victory over a ranked opponent, she will be one of the last four women’s tennis players remaining in this tournament.Pegula’s run in the 2021 Australian Open has been one of the better stories of the entire event.
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IND vs ENG | Wouldn’t call it a good pitch but it made for exciting cricket, opines Joe Root
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Following a shambolic loss, Joe Root opined that he wouldn’t call the Chennai pitch for the second Test as a ‘good’ pitch but insisted that it made for exciting cricket. He also admitted that it is a learning experience for the visitors to look at India and bat for long periods of time. After cruising past the hosts India in the first Test, where Joe Root led by example, England were looking to keep their momentum up for the second Test, at the same venue. However, right from the toss, everything went awry as they lost the toss and were made to bowl on a relatively flatter wicket. Eventually, that combined with their first innings batting display took the game away from the visitors, who ended up chasing the game from the second day. The visitors subsequently succumbed to a 317-run loss, during which the conditions in Chennai was a major part of the debate. Joe Root opined that he wouldn’t call it a good pitch but reckoned that the pitch did make for exciting cricket between the two teams. "It's very alien to what a lot of English guys will have experienced before, as are green seamers that you might across in the UK. Do I think it was a good pitch? I wouldn't say it was a good pitch, but it made for very exciting cricket,” said Root, reported ESPNCricinfo. "I do think that the toss was an important one to win but it wouldn't have guaranteed us to win the game either. India showed that you can score runs on it and found a way of managing a very tricky surface so we've got to learn from that,” he added.Despite the tricky surface, India through their two innings - showed England how to bat, scoring 614 runs. Root stated that it was something that the visitors would have to learn from and added that they needed bat for long periods of time like the hosts. "How they (India) didn't get away from their game plan, how they knew exactly the way they were going to score their runs. How they managed to bat at the other end for long periods of time.”"And as a batting group, how does that look for us individually? How I am going to manage these big turning deliveries and how am I going to stay really calm and clear under pressure? We've got to take bits from it and add it to our own games, and come back better for it as well," he added.However, next up for the visitors would be a day-night clash in Ahmedabad, where Root has his sights on, insisting that the break will help them regain momentum. "Day-night cricket offers something different again, so we are very much looking forward to that. We'll have a little bit of a break now to refresh and have a look at a few things, but it's exciting times.”Follow us on Facebook hereStay connected with us on Twitter hereLike and share our Instagram page here .
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Daniil Medvedev Finds Another Way of Playing Professional Tennis
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At 23, Rublev is two years younger than Medvedev and grew up playing junior tournaments against him in Russia. For a long time Rublev, seeded No. 8, and Karen Khachanov, 24, the third member of Russia’s latest golden generation, were better than Medvedev. The rise for Medvedev came in 2018 and 2019, when he nearly beat Rafael Nadal in the 2019 United States Open final.“He reads the game really well,” Rublev said of Medvedev. “It’s amazing, the patience he has to stay so long in the rallies, to not rush, to take the time, because in the end these little details, they make him who he is.”Russia is the only country with two players in the top 10. Khachanov gives it three in the top 20. Aslan Karatsev, 27, another Russian ranked No. 114, came out of nowhere to make the quarterfinals here in his first Grand Slam tournament.Medvedev comes into the quarterfinal on perhaps the best roll of his career. He has won 18 consecutive singles matches. He won the ATP Tour finals in London in November, pulling off the nifty trick of beating the world’s top three players — Novak Djokovic, Nadal and Dominic Thiem — in a single tournament. For Russia at the ATP Cup, he beat Alexander Zverev of Germany, a 2020 U.S. Open finalist, in a tight, three-set match in the semifinal round.Medvedev spent his early childhood in Moscow and played few sports other than tennis growing up. He worshiped Russia’s last golden generation, which included Marat Safin and Yevgeny Kafelnikov, who were in their prime when he was a young child. He moved to France to train as a teenager and became fluent in English and French.Medvedev could be heard screaming at his coach, Gilles Cervara of France, in French during his third-round match against Filip Krajinovic of Serbia, as he frittered away a two-set lead before recovering to win the final set, 6-0.
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Meet America’s 63rd National Park
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As Americans continue to weather the pandemic, the $2.3 trillion coronavirus relief and spending bill passed by the federal government in December brought an unexpected and lasting gift: a new national park.The 5,593-page spending package included a raft of provisions authorizing little-known projects — the construction of the Teddy Roosevelt Presidential Library in North Dakota, for one — and giving lawmakers a chance to advance a variety of long-delayed initiatives. Among them was the elevation of the New River Gorge, in southern West Virginia, to the status of Yellowstone, Yosemite and the country’s other most renowned outdoor spaces. The designation of the area — roughly 72,000 acres of land flanking 53 miles of the gorge — as a national park and preserve creates the 63rd national park in the United States and completes a multigenerational effort, started in the mid-twentieth century, to transform a tired industrial area into a national landmark.“Towards the end of this year, with these big bills coming down, I decided to strike,” said Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican and the state’s junior senator, who, along with Senator Joe Manchin III, a Democrat, introduced the New River Gorge legislation in 2019.“This was the right opportunity,” she said.A draw for rafters, kayakers and other outdoor enthusiastsThe gorge and its surroundings have been prized for decades as one of southern West Virginia’s more spectacular natural places.In 1963, the West Virginia House of Delegates passed a resolution seeking to designate the New River Gorge as a “national playground,” preparing to send the proposal to President John F. Kennedy, whose primary campaign was lifted substantially through support from West Virginia voters. But momentum to create a national recreation area stalled after Mr. Kennedy’s assassination later that year.Though the gorge remained a curiosity among rafters and outdoor enthusiasts, the area only received federal protection from the Interior Department in 1978, when it was designated a national river.Now, the outdoor offerings in the gorge have come to define the area as a premier destination for adventure sports in the East.The New River plunges 750 feet over 66 miles, resulting in long stretches of violent rapids that can reach a class five level, generally considered the most difficult that can be navigated by white-water boaters. (Licensed outfitters operate in several towns near the river, providing rentals and tours for rafting and kayaking.)The canyon walls, which soar as high as 1,600 feet, offer miles of cliffs that rank among the best in the East Coast for rock climbing. Sheer faces in the gorge made of robust Nuttall sandstone provide both traditional and sport-climbing routes across the difficulty spectrum.Bike routes are scattered throughout the park on both sides of the river, with options for both technical mountain biking and more casual pedaling along former railroad beds.A glimpse back in timeAccording to the National Park Service, geologists believe the New River — its name a misnomer used by early American explorers who often assigned the same name to any river they came upon for the first time — was a segment of the preglacial Teays River. This larger river, which traversed much of the current Ohio River watershed, was later diverted and broken up by glaciers. The age of the Teays is uncertain, but fossil evidence suggests it could be as much as 320 million years old, leaving its remnant, the New River, as quite possibly the second oldest river in the world.Beyond the millions of years of geological history on display, the gorge is also filled with signs of the region’s heritage as a major coal production hub.Miners once capitalized on the easy access to rich deposits of high-quality bituminous coal in the canyon, where the river had already shorn through hundreds of feet of rock. Especially after the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway linked the New River coal fields to markets in 1873, dozens of boom towns popped up along the river’s edge, thriving well into the 1920s.In 1963, a coal mine was still operating in the gorge, said Dave Arnold, a state tourism commissioner who operated a rafting company for more than 40 years.“In ’76 or ’77, if you were in my boat, we’d have been floating down the river and I would have been showing you, ‘here’s an old coal tipple, here’s the old hotel at Caperton, here’s this and that,’” he said.The demand for coal around the turn of the twentieth century was so high that towns existed every half mile along up the river, according to the Park Service. As the industry went into decline, however, by the 1950s many were already abandoned, leaving ghost towns scattered throughout the gorge. Additionally, logging during the late nineteenth century stripped vast portions of the gorge bare, clearing enormous swaths of virgin forest.The park contains the remnants of communities such as Nuttallburg and Kaymoor, which still stand near the riverbank and are accessible from points higher up. Seams of exposed coal are visible along some trails leading into the gorge and its towns, where abandoned mine portals and the foundations of coke ovens remain.Restoring an ecosystem with diverse wildlifeDespite the environmental degradation and pollution that industry unleashed, some unique ecological features make the gorge well-suited to a diverse combination of wildlife, which has slowly reappeared as time has passed.The river lies at the center of a migration corridor where plants and animals that typically range further north or south come together, including several federally endangered and threatened species, such as the Virginia big-eared bat and the Allegheny woodrat.According to Lizzie Watts, the park’s superintendent, the river itself is also notably warmer than surrounding areas, making it a popular warm-water fishing destination with more than a dozen public access points. The river is one of the premier spots for smallmouth bass fishing on the east coast, and muskellunge and walleye are common in the park today.“The next generation will have the opportunity to see what, in the last 150 years, it looks like when an area goes from being logged and mined to left alone,” Ms. Watts said. “The ecosystem has come back to full trees and mature forests.”As federal protections took effect after the Park Service began overseeing the area as a national river in 1978, wildlife has largely recovered, and many see an opportunity to showcase the region’s natural elegance.“To show off our rock climbing, our extreme sports availabilities in that area, is just really exciting,” said Ms. Capito of what she described as a “kind of wild and wonderful part of our state.” ‘The cream of the crop’The National Park Service, created in 1916, oversees more than 400 areas across the country, including national monuments, seashores and battlefields as well as parks, which together total more than 85 million acres.While the new title for New River Gorge does not fundamentally alter the area’s day-to-day operations, both lawmakers and the Park Service tend to view “national parks” as the crown jewels of the park system — a protection granted to some of the largest and most prized tracts of the country.“National Park status is usually considered like the cream of the crop,” Ms. Watts said. “But it really is just another one of those names.”The New River Gorge does not match the scale of many national parks in the western United States, where Death Valley, the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone sprawl over more than 1 million acres each.Nevertheless, officials expect the new designation to bring a substantial influx of travelers, boosted in part by a dedicated set of enthusiasts who strive to visit every national park.In typical years, around 1.3 million travelers visit the gorge, according to the Park Service’s tourism data. Based on studies of other areas that received national park status, Ms. Capito said she expects to see visitors increase by as much as 20 percent.“It does feel like the very beginning stages of transformation for the whole area,” said Becky Sullivan, the executive director of the New River Gorge Convention and Visitors Bureau. “I’ll be very, very interested to see where we are in about 10 years.”Maintaining the community and its favored pastimesAs unique outdoor attractions throughout the Appalachian region have gained more national visibility, some concern has grown over the idea of a wealthy and mobile set from out of state trampling the communities adjacent to these places.West Virginia remains the second-poorest state in the country in terms of median household income, according to data collected by the United States Census Bureau. And while tourism has brought a needed injection of wealth to areas all around the gorge, it has also changed the makeup of neighboring communities, as more people have come to visit the park or settle down near it.Interest in the natural offerings around the park has brought slow but measurable change for small towns nearby like Fayetteville. Officials say that the advent of remote work during the pandemic has only hastened a trend of properties in the area being repurposed for vacation rentals and outsiders snapping up second homes.“You cannot find a house for sale in Fayetteville, because they’re just in such high demand,” said Sharon Cruikshank, the town’s mayor. “So that definitely changed the budgeting of the town as well as the county.”When legislation was first introduced to designate the area as a national park, pushback came from some locals. Hunters have long enjoyed access to secluded sections of woods around the gorge, and with hunting prohibited in federal parks, some protested the potential loss of thousands of acres of hunting grounds.In a compromise, more than 65,000 acres of the total area were designated as a nature preserve where hunting can continue as before, and only roughly 7,000 acres directly within the canyon are officially off limits as national parkland. A provision was included to empower the park to acquire more than 3,000 acres of private land around its current boundaries as well, to expand the size of the preserve and add public hunting grounds.In a nod to tradition, the legislation also enshrines the right for visitors to continue to make use of one of the park’s most famous features — the New River Gorge Bridge — at least once a year.BASE jumping, an extreme sport in which jumpers parachute from elevated structures or cliffs, is banned in every other national park.But, since 1980, BASE jumpers have been permitted to plunge from the top of the 876-foot-high bridge and parachute down toward the river once a year, on Bridge Day, held one Saturday in October. The legislation designating the area as a national park allows that tradition to continue.As many as 100,000 people typically come to watch the jumpers plunge, according to Ms. Sullivan, providing a major boost for businesses in the region. The event has only been canceled twice, including last year because of the coronavirus.Bridge Day’s organizers advise jumpers that the only dependable way to touch down safely is to plan to land directly in the river. In normal years, hundreds do so, often multiple times that day, gliding down and softly hitting the New River’s waters.
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