State Parks rebound after difficult start to the season

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Despite a slow start to the season for the West Virginia State Parks, the summer has picked up nicely in the last couple of weeks.

“We have had a very successful entry into summer, particularity as we went into the last week of June and first week of July,” said State Parks Chief Brad Reed.

“We’ve been very busy, particularly our camping and cabins as well as our day use facilities,” he said.

Initially when the Covid 19 pandemic broke out, State Park facilities were closed although the parks themselves remained opened. Governor Jim Justice’s reopening plan included State Park cabins and campsites initially for West Virginia residents only. The lodges were eventually added to that list and in later days out-of-state guests were welcomed back. However, Reed said the climate of things at the moment is making for a much larger number of in-state visitors.

“We have the 30 percent discount going for our in-state residents. That’s been very successful and it has moved the marker toward probably serving way more resident customers and guests than we normally do,” Reed explained.

Parks are following the guidelines of the C-D-C and state health officials in all facilities. Deep cleaning, hygiene, and social distancing are being practiced at all locations. The additional cleaning has made for more work on Parks’ staff, but Reed said they were getting the job done.

“We have pretty much all of our facilities open, but we’re not at full capacity. We have social distancing guidelines at things like meeting rooms, swimming pools, and anywhere people might congregate in a group we have to be extra careful,” he said.

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