Weekend getaway to Calhoun County Park

A Starry Weekend of Astronomy and Astrophotography

By Jonathan Eggleston for RealWV,

In a picturesque setting around three and a half miles south of Grantsville, West Virginia, Calhoun County Park is preparing to host a celestial celebration!

(The above beautiful star trail image was captured by amateur astrophotographer Delford Chaffin.)

This hidden gem, sprawling over 200 acres of pristine land, offers a variety of recreational opportunities and is maintained and operated by a dedicated volunteer Board of Directors appointed by the Calhoun County Commission.

Within the Park’s boundaries, a world of activities awaits visitors. From a winding walking and bicycling trail to a vibrant ball field, volleyball and basketball courts, playgrounds, picnic shelters, and no less than five picturesque ponds, the park has something for everyone. 

The Jewel in its crown: The park offers up a chance to experience the night sky under truly dark skies.

For those who gaze upward in awe of the cosmos, the park is one of just a few “dark sky parks” for stargazing and astrophotography,  an escape from the ever growing light pollution. Camping facilities also offer a chance to immerse yourself in nature.

Boy Scout Troop #39 of Grantsville, WV, has been an important part of the park’s journey since its beginning. Scouts participated in clearing roads and trails and constructing the essential structures. As years passed, the scouts organized many activities and outings within the park. Some even pursued their Eagle Scout status, dedicating their efforts to enhancing and adding to the park’s beauty.

 

Meanwhile, Calhoun County Middle/High School Cross-Country Team finds the park’s 3.2-mile walking trail ideal for practice and hosting cross-country meets. It’s precisely the right length for a 5k race, ensuring a challenging yet scenic course.

Exciting news looms on the horizon as the West Virginia Astrophotography Association, (WVAA) is gearing up for its first official public star party at Calhoun County Park on November 17th and 18th. The entire community is invited to join in for this extraordinary weekend of astronomy and astrophotography. 

The WVAA has plans to host many more community astrophotography events throughout the state in the upcoming year, making this event just the first of many to come.

But what exactly is a “Star Party”? 

A star party is a gathering of stargazing enthusiasts, where people come together to observe and capture the beauty of the night sky. At these events, attendees can expect to witness celestial wonders, learn about the cosmos from experts, and share their passion for the night sky with like-minded individuals. Providing a place to learn and have fun. 

While the weather might be chilly, the cold air actually improves astronomical views, resulting in crisper and clearer observations. As the sun dips below the horizon, the true spectacle begins, and the night comes alive with stars.

To provide a glimpse of the breathtaking views to anticipate, WV photographer Jesse Thornton has shared three captivating images. Two of these showcase the majestic Milky Way rising over Calhoun County Park, revealing the park’s enchanting connection with the cosmos. The third image unveils one of the serene ponds nestled within the park, reflecting the landscape surrounding it.

For those new to the world of astrophotography or astronomy, seasoned astrophotographers will be on hand to answer questions, share insights, and guide those looking to embark on this captivating journey into the night sky.

So, mark your calendars for the star-studded weekend of November 17th and 18th at Calhoun County Park, where you’ll discover the wonders of the universe and make memories that will last a lifetime. Don’t miss the opportunity to become part of this incredible stargazing community, and let the night skies of Grantsville, WV, leave you in awe!

For anyone interested, Kitty Wilson Campground is located behind the Community Building and is one of the newest additions at Calhoun County Park. The campground contains eight campsites with electricity, a gravel parking area, and a picnic table. There is also a refurbished barn with a full sized kitchen that can be rented out as well. For reservations, you can contact them using this link.

Facebook
Twitter
Reddit
Email

Related stories

Give us your feedback