State parks remain open, with few physical amenities

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State parks remain open, but things have changed considerably in the unfolding response to the Covid-19 pandemic in West Virginia.

“You can still come to a state park to go hiking, you can still come to a state park to go fishing or view wildlife or you can still come to a state park to play golf if you have your own equipment,” said Acting State Parks Chief Brad Reed.

What you can’t do is use any of the physical amenities. All park lodges, cabins, headquarters, restaurants, and even the restrooms are closed.

“We’re following the spirit of the governor’s orders to limit opportunities for people to congregate and protect our employees at the same time,” Reed said.

He admitted shutting down park restrooms might be an issue and indicated depending on how long the situation lasts, they may consider bringing in temporary, portable facilities.

Gov. Jim Justice has been adamant from the start of the emergency, outdoor recreation is not only allowed, but encouraged so long as people maintain their social distance. Hours in the state parks remains 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. for day use visitors. There are very few who are not day use visitors now, but there are a few who will be allowed to continue to stay in the park campgrounds.

Reed said they have halted taking reservations, but drive-ins are welcome on a first come, first served basis. He stressed, it can’t be a tent camp and you must bring your own facilities.

“If you come into a campground with a self-contained R-V with its own plumbing systems, we’ll let you camp,” said Reed.

Otherwise the parks are day use only until the end of the State of Emergency and Stay At Home orders are lifted.


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