Summersville Lake is now West Virginia’s 36th state park

By Stephen Baldwin, RealWV

Proposed by Governor Jim Justice and approved by the West Virginia Legislature, Summersville Lake is now the state’s newest state park. 

Governor Justice proposed Senate Bill 1024 in the special session beginning August 7. The bill consists of one paragraph and adds “Summersville Lake” to the list of existing state parks. In total, the state now operates 36 state parks: 

“(1) Audra; (2) Babcock; (3) Beartown; (4) Beech Fork; (5) Berkeley Springs; (6) Blackwater Falls; (7) Blennerhassett Island Historical; (8) Bluestone; (9) Cacapon Resort; (10) Camp Creek; (11) Canaan Valley Resort; (12) Carnifex Ferry Battlefield; (13) Cass Scenic Railroad; (14) Cathedral; (15) Cedar Creek; (16) Chief Logan; (17) Droop Mountain Battlefield; (18) Fairfax Stone Historical Monument; (19) Hawks Nest; (20) Holly River; (21) Little Beaver; (22) Lost River; (23) Moncove Lake; (24) North Bend; (25) Pinnacle Rock; (26) Pipestem Resort; (27) Prickett’s Fort; (28) Stonewall Resort; (29) Summersville Lake; (30) Tomlinson Run; (31) Tu-Endie-Wei (Point Pleasant Battle Monument); (32) Twin Falls Resort; (33) Tygart Lake; (34) Valley Falls; (35) Watoga; and (36) Watters Smith Memorial.”

Gov. Justice released the bill along with 43 others an hour before the special session was set to begin. His office issued a press release Sunday afternoon titled, “Gov. Justice announces Summersville Lake to become West Virginia’s newest State Park.” State law can only be changed by an act of the legislature, though. 

The bill was not considered by the Finance Committee and did not contain a fiscal note. Typically, any bill involving an upfront and/or ongoing cost to the state is assigned a fiscal note. Since no fiscal note was assigned, the costs of adding an additional state park to the system is unknown. In explanation of the bill on Tuesday, Senator Jack David Woodrum (R- Summers) said, “The bill has no fiscal impact.”

The bill passed both the House and Senate unanimously, with a number of legislators absent.

According to Gov. Justice, the project is a public-private partnership. Citizens can expect a private company to operate the planned outdoor recreational activities for a fee including kayaking, climbing, hiking, water activities, aerial sports, camping, and cabins. 

A public meeting run by the Division of Natural Resources will be announced in the future, though the state park designation is now already official. Stay tuned to RealWV for updates. 

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