Solar Eclipse Parties at West Virginia State Parks Aug. 21, 2017
Media Contact: Samantha Smith, 304-957-9364, Samantha.Smith@wv.gov
Contact: Ken Zebo, Naturalist, North Bend State Park, 304-643-2931, Kenneth.T.Zebo@wv.gov
SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia state parks are planning to celebrate the solar eclipse that will darken most of the country on Monday, Aug. 21 by offering special parties and reduced lodging rates at select parks.
Park naturalists at Pipestem, Cacapon and North Bend state parks will help visitors learn more about this rare natural occurrence. Other parks, including Beech Fork, Blackwater Falls, Canaan Valley Resort, Hawks Nest, Twin Falls Resort and Tygart Lake, Chief Logan and Cabwaylingo State Forest, are offering reduced lodging rates and areas to watch the eclipse.
“Although West Virginia isn’t in the path of totality that stretches from Oregon to South Carolina, we still will experience more than 80 percent obscurity. Some parks will see 90-91 percent obscurity, which is an awesome natural phenomenon,” said Ken Zebo, a naturalist and sky watcher at North Bend State Park known for his nighttime sky watching parties and STARLab programs in cooperation with the NASA IV facility in Fairmont. “What makes this solar occurrence special is the last time a total solar eclipse was visible from coast to coast was almost 100 years ago, on June 8, 1918.”
Learn more about solar eclipse activities at West Virginia state parks on the event calendar at www.wvstateparks.com.
Beech Fork State Park (near Barboursville) and Cabwaylingo State Forest (near Dunlow), both on the western border of West Virginia, are close to the path of totality. Beech Fork will experience 90 percent totality and Cabwaylingo will experience 91 percent darkness, both peaking at 2:34 p.m. Beech Fork Camper Corner Store will be open with ice cream sales to celebrate the event.
Visitors to Blackwater Falls State Park in Tucker County on Aug. 20 or 21 will get a discount if staying overnight at the lodge. The “DARK” rate is $69 plus applicable taxes. The Davis area will experience an 85 percent obscurity at the maximum eclipse at 2:36 p.m. The best area to gather and view is the Nature Center at Pendleton Lake. Naturalist Paulita Cousin says that, in addition to the sun being obscured by the moon, people likely will notice a decrease in wildlife sounds, a temperature change and a general quieting as the afternoon light becomes nighttime lighting for a few minutes and then returns to day. For Blackwater Falls activity information or for reservations, call 304-259-5216.
Canaan Valley Resort State Park, also in Tucker County, will allow visitors to view the eclipse from the scenic chairlift. It runs daily from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Riding the lift could be a perfect setting for the afternoon of eclipse watching. Lift tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for Juniors/Seniors. The last ticket sale is at 3:45 p.m. The lift offers views of Canaan Valley at 4,280 feet on top of Weiss Knob Mountain. Visitors can enjoy walking on the top of the mountain and ride back to the bottom on the lift or hike the Bald Knob Trail to return. Lift tickets are available at Bear Paw Gift Shop at the ski area. For Canaan Valley Scenic Chairlift information, call 304-866-4121 ext. 2616.
Cacapon Resort State Park near Berkeley Springs will experience more than 80 percent obscurity during the eclipse. Logan Rothstein, summer naturalist, will be the eclipse host at the lodge, from 2 to 2:45 p.m. Rothstein will help visitors learn about and view the solar eclipse. Proper eclipse glasses will be available for a safe view. Learn more about Cacapon State Park at www.wvstateparks.com or call 304-258-1022 about this and other planned activities scheduled year-round at the park.
Chief Logan Lodge near Logan will offer special “DARK” discounts and refreshments during the event, which will have about a 92 percent totality during the solar eclipse.
Light and dark beverages (lemonade and iced tea or grape juice) will be available in the lodge lobby. Lodge employees recommend arriving around 1 p.m. to watch the eclipse. The maximum obscurity will occur around 2:35 and, in a matter of minutes, the sun will reappear.
Chief Logan Lodge has a special room rate of $69 per night plus applicable taxes for the nights of Aug. 20 and 21. The rate includes express breakfast. For Chief Logan Lodge information or “DARK” reservations call 304-855-6100.
Hawks Nest State Park near Ansted welcomes visitors to enjoy the day’s sky event with a two-for-the-price-of-one tram ride on eclipse date, Aug. 21. The aerial tramway, open from 10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., starts at the lodge tram station and descends 500 feet into the New River Gorge and Hawks Nest marina area. Riders may exit the cars at the marina station to enjoy the lake and setting. A gift shop is located at the tram base station. Trip rates are $7 for adults and $5 for youth ages 5-16 and seniors. Learn more about Hawks Nest Lodge and amenities at www.wvstateparks.com or call 304-658-5212.
North Bend State Park near Cairo will have an Eclipse Party from 1 to 3 p.m. on the back deck of the lodge and the adjacent lawn. During the eclipse, visitors can learn about solar eclipses and the science behind them. Special glasses will be provided so observers can view the phenomenon safely. Outdoor games, crafts and light snacks and drinks will be on the deck of the lodge for the celebration. The Eclipse Party is free and open to the public.
Pipestem Resort State Park near Pipestem is offering a Summer Blues Package rate of $64.99 from Aug. 20-24 as part of its eclipse celebration. The package includes overnight lodging at McKeever Lodge, two tram ride tickets and two rounds of miniature golf. The park will also offer Shadow Projection Cards for the eclipse.
On Sunday, Aug. 20, the Pipestem Nature Center will be open from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m., and guests may stop in to learn about the next day’s solar eclipse.
Naturalist Julie McQuade will share a “naturalist” method of viewing a solar eclipse–the pin hole and shadow projection card technique. Visitors may join a short walk from the Nature Center to Gatrell Overlook from 2 to 3 p.m. Parking is available at the Nature Center with limited parking at the overlook. Guests should bring a chair or blanket to sit on. The activity is free and open to the public.
The lodge will have “moon pies” in the lodge lobby from 10 a.m. to noon on Monday to celebrate the solar event. Folks can decorate the edges with yellow icing to create a “corona.”
To learn more about Pipestem Resort State Park, visit www.wvstateparks.com or call 304-466-1800.
Twin Falls Resort State Park near Mullens offers “the best seat in the South” for the solar eclipse at its ballfield. The moon will obscure about 91 percent of the sun with the darkest time occurring at 2:37 p.m.
Twin Falls will feature a “DARK” rate special for room rentals on Aug. 20 and 21. To learn more about Twin Fall State Park, visit www.wvstateparks.com or call Twin Falls at 304-294-4000.
Tygart Lake State Park Lodge has a discounted “DARK” rate of $69 for overnight stays on Aug. 20 and 21. The sun will be obscured by about 84 percent at the Grafton location. For information about Tygart Lake State Park interpretative activities and information call 304-265-6144.