West Virginia state parks are meccas for people who love the natural beauty on display there. Many also patronize the parks - part of the state’s important tourism industry - because of special activities such as skiing, hiking, fishing and whitewater rafting available at the facilities or nearby.
At North Bend State Park, the North Bend Rail Trail has been a boon, bringing in bicyclists and horseback riders every year.
But if more visitors - and more money for the state’s economy - are to be brought to the parks, new and different attractions will be needed.
One state facility, Pipestem Resort in Mercer and Summers counties, has taken a step in that direction. The park has opened two racetracks for radio-controlled cars. One is a 277-foot concrete oval modeled on a NASCAR track.
That should attract more visitors to Pipestem.
Both public and private recreational areas are expanding their offerings, with new activities ranging from trap shooting to zip lines.
State officials should look into new specialty activities at other parks throughout West Virginia, with both cost and attractiveness to visitors being top considerations.
— Distributed by The Associated Press