By now, you’ve probably heard a thing or two about the so called Great American Solar Eclipse on Monday, August 21. This rare astronomical event is especially exciting because it’s the first total solar eclipse to cross the continental United States since February 26, 1979. For that eclipse, the path of totality — a 70-mile stretch of land where the moon completely obscures the sun — only passed through a few northwestern states. Not since June 8, 1918 has an eclipse crossed the country from coast to coast.
While the path of totality will not pass through the Mountain State on August 21, West Virginia’s state parks and forests are perfect places to watch the eclipse and observe how nature reacts. Several West Virginia state parks are planning special parties to celebrate the solar eclipse. Many parks will offer spectacular views of a near-total eclipse for those who are not able to travel into the path of totality, which will stretch from Oregon to South Carolina and will come as close as Kentucky and Tennessee.
Park naturalists at Pipestem, Cacapon and North Bend state parks will help visitors learn more about the eclipsee. 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.
Whether you enjoy the eclipse from your backyard, a state park or from the path of totality, don’t miss out on this rare natural occurrence. Even an eclipse with 90 percent obscurity is a sight to behold and something you and your family will remember for a lifetime. Just remember to wear protective eyewear that will block out harmful sunlight.
Learn more about West Virginia state parks’ solar eclipse activities on the event calendar at www.wvstateparks.com.