W.Va. park sites facing challenges
As residents of Tucker County, we have a sincere appreciation for the great outdoors and enjoy getting out and exploring nature’s playground. Luckily, we have an abundance of options in our state.
West Virginia boasts eight incredible national park sites perfect for hiking, biking, camping, fishing, and more. And, they deserve to be protected and maintained for all to enjoy.
However, our parks are suffering from a variety of deferred maintenance needs. They face a whopping $62 million collectively in overdue repairs and infrastructure updates. If left unchecked, our tourism industry stands to suffer, as will the many whose livelihoods are connected with the sector.
Federal lands provide important opportunities for outdoor education and act as a huge tourism driver for the state. They bring jobs and boost our economy by directly hiring local residents and supporting local businesses. This extends to employment opportunities such as hotels, restaurants, outfitters, and eco-tourism ventures.
In the Mountain State, over 1.6 million visitors come to enjoy our sites every year. In 2018 alone, these visitors spent nearly $74 million in our parks’ gateway communities. That spending supported over a thousand jobs and added $85.8 million to the state’s economy– money that was put back into businesses, schools, and families. Tourism here continues to be a leading industry, having produced nearly $12 million in daily economic impact, according to a 2017 report by Dean Runyan and Associates.
Federal legislation to fix our parks (S. 500 and H.R. 1225) and secure them through dedicated federal funding is currently being championed by our entire congressional delegation. Their efforts shall hopefully keep our parks operational and accessible for years to come.
Our thanks to our delegation for their support as we look forward to the impact their good work will yield!
Tucker County Cultural District Authority