CHARLESTON, W.Va. — On the north shore of Summersville Lake, West Virginia will soon open its 36th state park. Summersville Lake State Park will transform the northern shore of the state’s largest lake into an outdoor adventure park.
The park is a 15-minute drive by the US-19 expressway from the nation’s newest national park, the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve.
A bill that will officially designate the land as a state park was sent to the West Virginia Legislature on August 6, 2023, Gov. Jim Justice has announced.
Once the bill is passed and signed by the governor, new recreational opportunities at the park will open to the public.
“Summersville Lake is an iconic place in our beautiful state filled with a lot of special memories that span generations of families,” Justic said. “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 our parks are 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.”
About Summersville Lake State Park
The 177-acre park will follow the northern shore of the state’s largest lakes, known for its clear blue waters and unique rock formations, a national and international destination for boaters, divers, and rock climbers.
Estimates show more than one million visitors enjoy watersports there each year. The new park, just off US-19, will immediately open the lake to additional recreational activities such as hiking, biking, and picnicking.
The park also includes an additional parking lot for those coming to enjoy the incredible views and world-class outdoor recreation.
The site is slated to be developed through a public-private partnership, and 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.
This development comes on the heels of a historic investment in the state park system, which is completing more than $150 million in improvements, such as upgrades at every lodge and every cabin.
Last year’s state park revenue was the fourth year of record-breaking revenue, showing growth both in in-state visitation and out-of-state visitation, according to Justice.
An event will be held in the near future to designate the park and open it to the public officially, according to Chelsea Ruby, secretary of the West Virginia Department of Tourism.
“Our state parks would not be where they are today without Governor Justice’s vision. When he came into office, we had tens of millions in deferred maintenance and declining revenues,” Ruby said.
“I’m thrilled to stand beside him today as we celebrate more than 150 million in investments, record revenue, and our first new state park in more than 30 years. We could not be more appreciative of the Legislature’s continued support of our investments in expanding and improving recreation in our great state. West Virginia has truly become a national leader.”
Brett McMillion, director of the W.Va. Division of Natural Resources, echoed Ruby’s support for the governor’s efforts to build the state’s tourism infrastructure.
“Under the governor’s leadership, West Virginia State Parks just finished another record year, and I’m just thrilled to see us add another 177 acres into our state parks system,” McMillion said.
“We are looking forward to adding Summersville Lake as our 36th park and spending the next couple of months hearing from West Virginians on the amenities they’d like to see added in Nicholas County.”
James Bailey, secretary of the West Virginia Department of Commerce, stressed the nationwide recognition of the lake as a destination.
“Summersville Lake already has internationally-known amenities, and we are looking forward to greatly enhancing the visitor experience with this park,” Bailey said.
“With Governor Justice’s vision, we’re going to develop this site to make it the nation’s premier outdoor adventure park.”
Sign up to receive a FREE copy of West Virginia Explorer Magazine in your email weekly. Sign me up!