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Recreation-Recruiting Thrillseekers

In this Oct. 9, 2019, file photo, the New River Gorge Bridge is seen from Fayette Station in Fayetteville, W.Va. A program launched Monday, April 12, 2021, will try to lure outdoor enthusiasts to live and work in West Virginia with enticements of $12,000 cash and free passes for a year for recreation destinations such as whitewater rafting and golf.

CHARLESTON — West Virginia received 2,000 applications in the first two days after announcing it is recruiting remote workers, Gov. Jim Justice said Wednesday.

On Monday, Justice and tourism officials announced the program that would give participants $12,000 cash and free passes for a year to recreational destinations such as whitewater rafting, golf and rock climbing.

Justice said state Tourism Cabinet Secretary Chelsea Ruby told him the state had received 55,000 inquiries into the program since then.

The program is accepting applications for the first 50 openings in Morgantown, home to West Virginia University. There will be openings later this year for remote worker spots in Shepherdstown in the state’s Eastern Panhandle, and for Lewisburg in the southeastern corner of the state.

The program was kickstarted in October by a $25 million gift to WVU from Brad Smith, the executive chairman of Intuit’s board of directors, and his wife, Alys, for an outdoor economic development collaborative.

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