Improvements enhance experience at West Virginia State Parks

The future is bright for West Virginia’s state parks and forests, which are undergoing numerous improvements ranging from lodging upgrades to the addition of a new spa, gift shop, restaurant and more.

Visitors can also expect to find improvements in recreational activities from hiking trails to game courts. Many of these projects have already been completed while others are underway or planned for the near future.

Multipurpose event shelter

With its picturesque, rolling hills and historic homestead, Watters Smith Memorial State Park is ideal for picnics and other special events. And now, a $1 million improvement project will bring upgrades, including the addition of a new multipurpose event shelter with a kitchen and restrooms.

Additional projects include updates to the Smith Home, repairs to the 1835 Log Barn and the addition of the Barn Burner NICA Mountain Bike Trail. Future projects include renovations and an expansion to a pioneer museum.

New gift shop

Looking for a West Virginia themed gift for a special occasion? If you live in the Charleston area, visit the new Kanawha State Forest gift shop. Located at the former pool area, the shop opened earlier this year as part of a $1 million improvement project.

Other improvements include the addition of an ADA-accessible playground and electrical upgrades at the campground. Additional projects, including a disc golf course, trail kiosks, and bathhouse renovations are underway. Future projects include upgrades to the forest’s shooting and archery ranges, access road, restrooms and picnic shelters.

Lodging and recreation improvements

Set in the high country of the Monongahela National Forest, Blackwater Falls and Canaan Valley Resort state parks offer four seasons of recreation ranging from skiing and sledding to hiking and mountain biking. A $12 million investment at the two parks will bring renovations to lodges and cabins and improvements at the campgrounds. Improvements also are planned for bike trails, tennis courts and the sled run at Blackwater Falls.

A spa experience

Pipestem Resort State Park has undergone exciting expansions in recent years with the additions of a new splash park and adventure lake and the aerial zipline tour.

But there’s much more to look forward to at this scenic Bluestone River Gorge retreat. Nearly $12 million in improvement projects are underway and include the addition of a spa, conference room renovations and other facility upgrades. Mountain Creek Lodge is closed during the winter, but McKeever Lodge remains open during renovations and the park cabins are open year-round. Renovations should be complete by August 2021.

Lodging upgrades

Known for its beautiful mountain views and lakeside lodging, Tygart Lake State Park is a favorite getaway for boaters. The park us undergoing $6 million in enhancement projects, including upgrades to the lodge, cabins and campgrounds. Additional improvements are underway and the park will soon receive recreational additions, including game courts and a trail to the lake.

Lodge expansion

Set in the Eastern Panhandle, Cacapon Resort State Park is a popular getaway for commuters in the busy DC-Baltimore area. A new, four-lane highway, called the Berkeley Springs Bypass, will improve traffic flow for travelers to both Cacapon and nearby Berkeley Springs State Park.

The lodge at Cacapon is undergoing a $25.3 million project. Improvements include the addition of 78 guest rooms, a dining room, lounge, spa and an indoor pool. Existing facilities are also receiving major upgrades, including remodeled guest rooms, new conference space, renovations to the lobby and other facility enhancements. Cacapon also is expected to break ground this coming spring on a 26-slot RV park. The new lodge opening is anticipated by April 2021.

Cabins overhaul

Nearly $14 million in cabin renovations are underway across the West Virginia State Park system. Projects range from installing new furniture, upgrading bathrooms and kitchens and improving ADA access to many facilities. Visit your favorite park to see the improvements.

Planning safe travels

Whether you’re looking for a place to getaway this winter or planning ahead for summer 2021, West Virginia State Parks offer wide open spaces where you can enjoy nature. Safe travel is encouraged. If you’re visiting West Virginia, check the status of individual businesses before taking a trip. For your safety, a statewide indoor face covering requirement is in effect and visitors are encouraged to maintain a safe social distance from others.

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