<h1>Friends of New River Gorge National River, Inc. (Friends) has launched its first-ever song-writing competition to honor the milestone \u201cbirthdays\u201d of the National Parks of Southern West Virginia this year.<\/h1>\r\nSongwriters from West Virginia and beyond are invited to write and submit an original song inspired by some aspect of New River Gorge National River, Bluestone National Scenic River and\/or Gauley River National Recreation Area. Submissions are due by June 26.\r\n\r\nThe competition will conclude with a public performance by the top ten submissions at the Historic Fayette Theater in Fayetteville on Saturday, July 28. Attendees at the event will vote for their top three favorites, and winners could receive up to a $250 cash prize for their song. All musical styles are encouraged to participate, however contestants should keep in mind that they must be available for the day of the performance to qualify, and that they must perform with a minimal setup.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe\u2019re excited about the opportunity to host musicians from all over the region, and that we\u2019ll get to hear such an array of songs about the parks,\u201d says Friends president Anna Ziegler. \u201cAny chance to showcase the parks\u2019 stories and local arts is wonderful.\u201d\r\n\r\nNew River Gorge National River was established in 1978 to protect 53 miles of the New River in West Virginia. Bluestone National Scenic River and Gauley National Scenic River joined the National Park Service in 1988 to protect more of the state\u2019s popular waterways.\r\n\r\nFor contest rules and submission guidelines, visit friendsofnrgnr.org\/song or email firstname.lastname@example.org for information. Proceeds from the contest will benefit Friends to help carry on the group\u2019s mission of enhancing, supporting, and promoting the three rivers.\r\n\r\nFriends of New River Gorge National River, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that provides valuable support to all three national parks of southern West Virginia. Memberships are accepted at three levels. Level one members receive a members-only newsletter and sticker. Level two members receive a members-only newsletter, sticker, discounts at local businesses, and access to members-only events and programs. Lifetime members receive all the benefits of level two. To learn more about Friends or to become a member, visit www.friendsofnrgnr.org. To learn more about the three parks, visit www.nps.gov\/neri, www.nps.gov\/blue, or www.nps.gov\/gari.