CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A strong out-of-the-gate showing for the state Division of Tourism-WV State Parks new partnership with online reservations of camping sites.

“Since Friday, when we launched, we have sold more than 4,500 guest nights,” state Tourism Commissioner Chelsea Ruby said during an appearance Monday morning on MetroNews “Talkline.” “We’ve got reservations from 26 states.”

Those interested in camping at the state parks and state forests in West Virginia haven’t been able to make those reservations online until now. Ruby said the camping and picnic shelter online registrations join previous online offerings of state park cabins and lodge rooms.

Ruby said the new 4,500 guest nights sold represent reservations from residents in more than two dozen states with West Virginia leading the way, Ruby said.

“We also saw reservations from California, Wyoming, Washington and Ontario,” Ruby said.

The total number of sessions on the state park website over the weekend was more than any single day in the site’s history.

Ruby said trying to get camping reservations in West Virginia parks has been more like a blackout zone.

“People didn’t know if they could get a reservation here,” she said.

The reservations are available at wvstateparks.com.

Friday’s announcement about the online camping reservations also included a marketing announcement. The state parks marketing division is being under the Department of Tourism’s marketing.

“Moving forward you’ll see a much more integrated strategy when it comes to marketing of these two products,” according to Ruby.

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