DAVIS — Gov. Jim Justice recently joined West Virginia Tourism Office Commissioner Chelsea Ruby and Division of Natural Resources Director Steve McDaniel to announce $12 million in bond improvement projects at Blackwater Falls and Canaan Valley Resort state parks.
“Today is a great day for West Virginia,” Justice said. “I’ve said many times that our state parks are the jewels of this state and I’ve always believed that, as we make our parks better and show the world how proud we are in what we have, people would come in droves and bring all kinds of opportunities to us, and that’s exactly what’s happening.”
The event was held outside of the Blackwater Falls State Park Lodge, which Gov. Justice announced is set to receive nearly $4.7 million-worth of improvements; one of the most extensive renovations projects as part of the package.
“What we’ve got planned for this lodge and this park is really special and we’re doing the same kinds of projects in all of of our parks across the state,” Justice said.
According to a press release from the governor’s office, the overall $12 million investment covers a variety of projects at both parks, ranging from lodge and cabin renovations, campground expansions, and improvements to popular activities such as bike trails, tennis courts, Blackwater Falls’ world-class sled run, and much more.
“Lo and behold, as we’ve added greatness into our parks over the last four years, we’ve started exploding with business,” Justice said.
DNR Director McDaniel announced that, under the Justice Administration, major improvement projects have now been completed or started at every state park in West Virginia.
“Since Governor Justice took office, we’ve been able to invest $100 million into improving our state parks in just the last four years and I think that’s just incredible and we’re seeing the results of that investment,” McDaniel said. “In the month of August alone, we had 529,000 vehicles visit our state parks at an average of 3.2 people per car. That’s almost the equivalent of the entire population of West Virginia visiting our state parks in just one month, and that momentum all started with the Governor. Under his direction we’ve been able to do a lot of great work.”
“Governor Justice is the most unbelievable advocate for the tourism industry that West Virginia has ever had,” Commissioner Ruby said. “I do lots of calls with my colleagues in other states and right now, West Virginia is the envy of all of those states.
“For too long, we didn’t have the support to market ourselves properly,” Ruby continued. “Today, not only are we reaching people, but we’re also doing the part that’s even harder; we’re building up the infrastructure,” Commissioner Ruby said. “These parks haven’t had the money to invest in improvements in years. And now, just think about what $100 million is going to bring to these parks for West Virginians to enjoy every day.”
“I truly believe that we need to be proud of who we are as West Virginians and where we come from,” Justice said. “If you just step back and look around, you see how fabulous and beautiful our state is. Then you add on top of that that we have the greatest people and the greatest resources anywhere, we’re a rock’s throw away from two-thirds of the population of this country, we have the most unbelievable seasons and the most unbelievable beauty. Who wouldn’t want to come here?”
Information provided by the office of Gov. Jim Justice.