TAYLOR COUNTY—Governor Jim Justice visited Tygart Lake State Park to discuss improvements that would be coming in the future, as a way to help increase tourism in the state and Taylor County.
Surrounded by the scenic beauty provide by Tygart Lake, Justice, alongside West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Director Steve McDaniel and other local officials, made the announcement that more than $2.8 million dollars would be funneled into projects for the park.
According to McDaniel, Delegate Amy Summers has been instrumental in the ongoing upgrades and development of the park.
“I think she has my number on speed dial,” he jested. “When she thinks of something or hears an idea that could improve Tygart Lake State Park, or if she finds an issue that needs addressed, she doesn’t hesitate to pick up the phone and call.”
Justice welcomed Summers to speak to attendees at Tuesday afternoon’s gathering saying, “I know this young lady is from this area and does great work for you all.”
Summers said that she was excited to welcome the governor and McDaniel to Tygart Lake, an area that is one of the county’s shining stars.
“With your help we are hoping to improve it and make it better. Director McDaniel has a vision for this park that is like no other,” she voiced. “I am so glad to be able to work with him. These are good things for the state of West Virginia and good things for Taylor County, too.”
These proposed projects represent the latest phase of improvement work at the park, which has a total of $6 million-worth of enhancement projects either already completed, currently underway, or set to begin in the near future.
“If you just look around at places like this and think about all the beauty we have in West Virginia and all the great people we have, you realize we have an incredible opportunity we have here,” Justice expressed. “All we have to do is invest the dollars and tell our story.”
McDaniel shared that Tygart Lake State Park has always held a close place in his heart, sharing that his grandfather worked for the WPA and helped to build the dam.
He explained that the work being done at the lake is a three-phase project, and this is the beginning of phase three.
“We first had to address the marina here at the lake,” McDaniel explained. “The WV DNR made a $2.3 million investment in the marina’s boat ramps and parking facilities.”
In phase two, the campgrounds and cabins were the focus of improvements. With the addition of air conditioning, updated cabins and the addition of courtesy docks for each cabin, that phase was completed.
In phase three, approximately $2.5 million dollars will be spent to upgrade and update the lodge and the dining facility it houses.
At today’s event, McDaniel announced that, when all is said and done, this one park alone will see over $6 million-worth of total improvements completed.
“With Governor Justice’s support, we’ve invested over $100 million combined in our West Virginia state parks and it’s paying dividends,” Director McDaniel continued. “We are breaking attendance records every weekend. It’s amazing what we’ve been able to do.”
Justice commended the efforts that have been made to the park.
“From the boat docks to the roads and the improvements at the lodge, we’ve invested real dollars and, lo and behold, do you know what his problem is right now? He doesn’t have a parking lot big enough to hold all the people,” he said. “Isn’t that a great problem to have? He’s doing so well that he needs more room for people to visit.”
He said that efforts such as the ones underway at the park have led to a boost in tourism for not just the county, but the state as a whole.
“Tourism is exploding because people from the outside world are beginning to realize that we’re the diamond in the rough that they missed,” Justice added. “They’re finally seeing it because of all the great work that’s being done at places like Tygart Lake State Park, and the really great part is that this is just the beginning. We’re going to keep going. We’ve got all kinds of great announcements coming around the bend and we’re just going to keep knocking it out of the park.”