CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Jim Justice said late Tuesday he is ordering a cancellation of scheduled users fees at seven West Virginia state parks.
The Division of Natural Resources announced Monday it would charge visitors a $2 per car fee starting Memorial Day. A $12 annual pass would have also been available for purchase.
In a statement released at a few minutes before midnight Tuesday, Justice said the program was put into place without his okay.
“West Virginians are struggling and at this time there is no way I can go along with charging a fee to enjoy our state parks,” Justice said. “The move was announced without my approval. It’s a bad idea and I’m going to fix it.”
Division of Natural Resources Director Stephen McDaniel said Monday on MetroNews “Talkline” the fees were part of a pilot program that would have generated $1.6 million for the park system budget.
The affected parks would have been Babcock State Park; Blackwater Falls State Park; Cacapon Resort State Park; Coopers Rock State Forest; Little Beaver State Park; Pipestem Resort State Park; and Valley Falls State Park.
“West Virginia’s state parks will remain free and open to the public. When I see a mistake, I make it right,” Justice declared.