SENECA ROCKS, W.Va. — The popular Seneca Rocks Discovery Center in Pendleton County reopened a day ahead of Independence Day for the first time since Sunday’s flash flooding in northeastern West Virginia.

The holiday is typically a busy time for the location.

“The Discovery Center is fully staffed and we have people there to talk about what’s available to do,” said Kelly Bridges, public affairs officer for the U.S. Forest Service’s Monongahela National Forest.

Because of damage to the center’s water system, no drinking water was available at the Seneca Rocks Discovery Center and temporary restroom facilities were available.

As of Wednesday morning, Bridges reported all forest trails were open, according to their damage surveys, along with all forest roads with the exception of Whites Run Run, a county road which runs from Route 33 to the intersection of Rich Mountain Road.

There are alternative access roads for Spruce Knob.

For holiday travelers, “We just ask people to be careful when they’re traveling because some of the roads did get damage from the flooding on Sunday,” Bridges said.

“There may be soft shoulders. There might be trees down in some locations.”

Pendleton County was one of the five counties included in a State of Emergency Declaration from Governor Jim Justice after the weekend storms which dumped more than five inches of rain on some communities over a span of several hours.

The other counties were Randolph, Tucker, Grant and Preston.

Possible additional showers and storms were in the forecast for the Monongahela National Forest and much of the Mountain State into the weekend.

“Sudden and severe thunderstorms are common in West Virginia,” Bridges cautioned.

“We ask people to check the forecast regularly and plan ahead if they’re coming to the Forest. You need to know that cell service is intermittent. You need to plan ahead for a variety of conditions.”

She also offered another safety reminder.

Possessing, igniting, discharging or using any kind of fireworks, including sparklers, is prohibited on National Forest land.

Two years ago, illegal fireworks served as the starting point for a forest fire at Seneca Rocks during the Independence Day holiday period.

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