Gov. Justice signs bill officially designating Summersville Lake State Park
SUMMERSVILLE, WV — Gov. Jim Justice today signed HB 124 officially designating the state’s 36th state park, Summersville Lake State Park. The Governor was joined for the celebration by hundreds of excited West Virginians on the site of the future park, just off US-19 in Nicholas County.
The 177-acre property on the northern shore of Summersville Lake will soon be transformed into one of the nation’s premiere outdoor adventure parks. Some outdoor recreational opportunities were opened to the public immediately following the ceremony.
“I couldn’t be more proud to sign this bill and officially designate our newest State Park,” Gov. Justice said. “Summersville Lake is an iconic place in our beautiful state filled with a lot of special memories that span generations of families. Now, all those who travel to Summersville Lake will be treated to the greatest outdoor adventure park in the country on the shores of our state’s largest lake.
“The opportunity to add another State Park is a testament to the major impact that our investments in tourism and in our parks is having in West Virginia. I thank the Legislature for agreeing with me and supporting these investments, and I thank all those that work hard every day to operate our parks and market our state to the world. I can’t wait to see people from far and wide enjoying Summersville Lake State Park very soon.”
The designation marks the state’s first new park added in over three decades, a testament to the recent growth and success of the West Virginia tourism industry.
“State Parks are not formed overnight,” Tourism Secretary Chelsea Ruby said. “It takes agreement among several people and agencies that a specific place is so unique and so exceptional it deserves the status of a state park. There is no confusion why we made this place a state park because it absolutely deserves recognition. I cannot thank Gov. Justice enough for his leadership to get the designation for Summersville Lake State Park across the finish line.”
The new park will expand the outdoor recreational opportunities currently being offered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on West Virginia’s largest lake. The lake has been a national and international destination known for its clear blue waters and unique rock formations since opening in 1966. Estimates show more than one million visitors enjoy watersports there each year.
Officially opened to the public this morning are recreational activities including two hiking trails, a picnic area and a new, expanded parking area off of US-119. An “Almost Heaven” swing crafted by students at Nicholas County Career and Technical Center has also been installed for those wishing to snap a picture in the state’s newest park.
“Before Gov. Justice took office, our state parks were dilapidated and getting worse by the year,” Commerce Secretary James Bailey said. “Now, because of his vision and leadership, Gov. Justice has been able to turn our parks around in an incredible way. We are seeing record visitation, and West Virginia is becoming the center of outdoor recreation for the entire country. I know this park will be incredible, and Summersville is the perfect community to host it.”
The site is slated to be developed through a public-private partnership and the amenities will make it a top outdoor adventure park destination in the country. Planned amenities include additional climbing and bouldering opportunities, hiking and biking trails, water activities, aerial sports, camping, cabins, and more. The Division of Natural Resources will host a public meeting in the near future to receive input from the public.
Climbers and outdoor enthusiasts from all over the world flock to Nicholas County to experience this natural wonder. There are over 350 climbing routes around the lake, and many more will be added with the creation of this new state park. This acquisition by the state will greatly expand public recreational opportunities around the lake by adding additional facilities for rock climbing and bouldering, hiking, and biking. Other planned amenities include water and aerial sports, as well as adding overnight accommodations.
“We could not have selected a better location than in the heart of Nicholas County,” WVDNR Director Brett McMillion said. “From the clarity of the water to the world-renowned rock climbing, we will tell the world that Summersville Lake State Park is a place everyone needs to visit. We have seen amazing teamwork to get here, and I especially thank Gov. Justice for being our leading force.”
West Virginia State Parks are completing more than $150 million in improvements, which include upgrades at every single state-operated lodge and every cabin across the state. Last year’s state park revenue marked the fourth year of record-breaking revenue, showing growth both in in-state visitation and out-of-state visitation.
Stay up to date on the newest announcements surrounding Summersville Lake State Park by visiting WVstateparks.com/Summersville.
This post was last updated on August 11, 2023