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State Parks look to cater to top outdoor activities

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The top man with the West Virginia State Parks told lawmakers Tuesday the Mountain State is a treasure for adventure seekers and the parks are trying to do more to accommodate those looking for adventure activities.

Sam England detailed a list of the top ten outdoor pursuits ranked by the amount of money spent to pursue them nationally during an appearance Tuesday before a legislative interim committee. The top listing was trail sports, which includes hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, and horseback riding. The category also included rappelling and bouldering as well as trail running.

“We have over 12 hundred miles of trails used for hiking, biking, and horseback riding and other things,” England said. “But it’s exciting to us because our number one gateway activity to state parks is hiking.”

Camping is second on the national list when it comes to spending money. England said the category encompassed everything from tents up to full sized recreational vehicles like the 2004 Airstream Bambi. Those R-V’s are where the prices tended to climb–and those driving them tended to be willing to spend a lot more. If you’re interested in getting your own, check out rv services in CA.

“As a result, our desire is move into that arena and be able to take care of that segment of camping as well,” said England of the growing number of R-V’s traveling into West Virginia.

The high ranking of R-V camping is causing the park system to look at improving and expanding the offerings for those large motor homes. England said the master plans call for more spaces, improved access to parks, and more campsites with full utility hookups.

The rest of the top ten in order of money spent included water sports, wheel sports (biking), snow sports, motorcycle riding, off roading, fishing, wildlife watching, and hunting.

According to England the state parks or state forests have some level of accommodation for all of those user groups. Long range plans call for improvements to specifically cater to all of those user groups.


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