Tomblin cuts ribbon at Canaan

DAVIS – Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin joined hundreds of Tucker County residents at a ribbon-cutting ceremony officially unveiling a $24 million revitalization and construction project at the Canaan Valley Lodge in Davis Tuesday.

“It is indeed my honor to be here today,” Tomblin said. “I have been coming here for many years and there is a lot of wear and tear on a facility like this and you have to put the money back into it if you want to keep it alive. For the $24 million we have put into this building, it is well worth it.”

Tomblin said when people visit the park and see the shiny new rooms and lodge, they will want to make return trips.

“We, as a state park system must be able to offer camping facilities, and new, modern rooms,” Tomblin said. “We need to offer this to the people who visit West Virginia.”

Tomblin thanked everyone who helped make the project a success.

“Hopefully, we will see a great return on the money we spent for this,” Tomblin said.

Canaan Valley Resort State Park Superintendent Robert Gilligan welcomed those gathered to the newly constructed facilities.

“These are here for your pleasure and use,” Gilligan said. “We welcome all of our attendees here today on this special occasion. “

Gilligan congratulated those guest service employees who worked through the first demolition and construction on the lodge.

“They have performed wonderfully,” Gilligan said. “Imagine – construction to existing facilities while you are still open for business and accepting guests was no easy task. They need to be commended for their hard work.”

Ken Caplinger, chief of West Virginia State Parks, thanked Tomblin and Sen. Joe Manchin, legislators, State Parks sub committee members, Finance Committee members and all those who helped pull the funding together for the endeavor.

“It’s not easy to come up with $36 million for a project,” Caplinger said. “We have also renovated the ski area as well. I think what we have done is set the table to restore Canaan Valley State Park to its glory days, and even exceed this with the new highway coming into Canaan and Davis. This is great for the region.”

Frank Jezioro, director of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, said the event was meaningful for the county and the state.

“This is a true four-season resort,” Jezioro said. “It’s going to bring people in from across the country.”

Jezioro presented Caplinger with the 2013 West Virginia Tourism Oshel Craigo Lifetime Achievement Award for his many years of dedication.

“Visitors are now able to enjoy modern and comfortable facilities in the new 168-room lodge,” said Jezioro. “The nearly four-decade-old lodge structures this replaces served the public well beyond expectations, and we invite visitors who haven’t been to Canaan in a while to come back and enjoy the improved complex any time of year.”

The revitalization of the lodge began May 2012. The structures were completed in August, and decorating is ongoing in some areas.

The north and south wings of the new lodge are four stories, each with 42 rooms. Some guest rooms include fireplaces and balconies. All rooms have flat screen TVs, individual climate control and wireless Internet access.

The additions and renovations utilize 94,637 square feet of new guest room and public space that transform Canaan Lodge from a sprawling collection of detached units with exterior walkways into a grand resort hotel of great convenience and comfort for individual vacationers, skiers and groups alike.

Four elevators, updated fire protection, electrical and plumbing updates, parking lot repairs, landscaping loading dock and meeting room upgrades are also part of the renovation process. The project covers approximately 3.5 acres.

Other recent improvements to Canaan Valley Resort include $3.4 million for a new snowmaking system, $372,000 for new waterlines for snow making, $450,000 for passenger ropeway renovations, $3 million for a tubing area, ski school and sporting clays shooting range and $1.5 million for renovations at the Bear Paw Lodge.

– Contact Beth Christian Broschart by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter at ITM_Broschart.