Gov. Justice celebrates completion of over $8 million in upgrades at Pipestem Resort State Park

PIPESTEM, WV – Gov. Jim Justice today joined West Virginia Department of Tourism Secretary Chelsea Ruby, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Director Brett McMillion, West Virginia State Parks leaders and other local officials at Pipestem Resort State Park for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of over $8 million in upgrades at the park. 

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“The renovations at Pipestem are incredible. I congratulate everyone who played a part in making all of these improvements possible,” Gov. Justice said.

“Just look at this place right here. I don’t care where you go in this country, it doesn’t get any better than right here where we’re at right now,” Gov. Justice continued. “We’ve always known how good we are. But the outside world didn’t buy it. Someway, somehow, we had to change our image in West Virginia. Through projects like this, it’s working.”

Upgrades at Pipestem include nearly $4.4 million in renovations to the park’s two lodges, cabin upgrades, and more than $3.6 million in infrastructure improvements to the park’s tram, wastewater treatment plant, and campground waterline.

In addition to the completed improvements celebrated on Wednesday, Gov. Justice highlighted other major upgrades at Pipestem Resort over the last four years. Since Gov. Justice took office, Pipestem Resort has also added a ziplinesplash park and adventure lake, and an adventure zone, solidifying the park as one of the state’s best family travel destinations.

“Pipestem Resort has always been one of West Virginia’s most popular state parks and these upgrades we’re celebrating today and all of the incredible additions we’ve seen happen since Governor Justice took office have made Pipestem a place people all over the world want to visit,” Secretary Ruby said. “On behalf of our state’s tourism industry, I just want to thank Governor Justice for everything he’s done for our beautiful state and the state parks system.”

Pipestem is the latest state park to reopen facilities after major renovations.

In recent months, Gov. Justice has hosted similar ribbon-cutting ceremonies at North BendHawks NestBlackwater Falls, and Canaan Valley state parks to celebrate more than $24 million in improvements.

These upgrades represent a small portion of $151 million in improvement projects that have been completed or started at every state park and forest in West Virginia since Gov. Justice took office.

“As a former superintendent here at Pipestem and as someone who has spent their entire career working outdoors in West Virginia, I can’t begin to tell you how incredible it is to look at all of the things we’ve been able to accomplish under Governor Justice’s leadership,” Director McMillion said. “If it weren’t for his support, we wouldn’t be here today and we wouldn’t be in such a favorable position when it comes to increased tourism and economic growth.”

On average, about 7 million people visit West Virginia’s state parks and forests each year, but park visitation surpassed 9 million in 2021, the highest number on record in state history. In addition to increased visitation, annual revenue at state parks has grown by 52% over the last four years and summer reservations for 2022 are 31% higher than the summer before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The completion of these upgrades and all of the improvements at all our parks and forests couldn’t have come at a better time,” Secretary Ruby said. “As more and more people are making travel plans, the world is taking notice of West Virginia. Not only are we seeing an increase in tourism, but nearly every major tourism magazine has said West Virginia is one of the best places to visit in 2022.”

“In my opinion, we’ve always been the best of the best. We’re in the right spot with all the right stuff, all the right people, all the right seasons, and everything else under the sun,” Gov. Justice added. “All we had to do was tell our story to the outside world. That’s exactly what we’ve done and the results have been off the charts.”

Located on the east rim of the Bluestone River Gorge on the border of Summers and Mercer counties, Pipestem Resort State Park has been West Virginia’s premier family adventure resort since Memorial Day 1970, when it opened to the public. The park features stunning views, offers exhilarating zipline tours, guided trout fishing trips, mountain bike excursions, a championship golf course, 82 campsites26 cabins, and two lodges, one of which can only be accessed by riding the park’s aerial tram to the bottom of the Bluestone River Gorge.

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