Gov. Justice announces an outdoor facility to be built at Watters Smith Memorial State Park

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LOST CREEK, W.Va. – Representatives of Watters Smith Memorial State Park in Harrison County and Governor Jim Justice announced Thursday that an outdoor event center will be built on the park’s grounds.

Representatives of the West Virginia State Park systems also said they had spent more than $100 million in making improvements to parks across the Mountain State. Governor Justice explains the multipurpose facility will improve Watter Smith State Park for family outings and other events.

That new facility will be named for Rachel Smith Hershey, who gave the park 254 acres upon her death. The governor explained approximately 7 million visitors come to state parks annually.

“Tourism that spends on tourism within our state right now is $4.6 billion dollars. Absolutely tourism is growing in leaps and bounds, the attendance and the people that are wanting to come to our parks,” Justice explained.

Governor Justice also stated that he is looking into finding funding to be made able to build an RV park at Watters Smith Memorial State Park. He stated the need for the RV park is to create an income stream for the park itself.

“You can’t even hardly rent a cabin in our parks. There is a waitlist that is a year old or a yearlong. And so, there are so many good things, and I have said it over, and over, and I mean it, the director of our DNR the biggest problem he has with our state parks is he has to build a bigger parking lot, that all there is to it. And what a great problem to have,” said Justice.

Also, Governor Justice stated that the state is doing well from the standpoint of economics, and he will find the funds to build the RV park. The governor explained that his mission for the state parks is to keep expanding and building while making them more modern and up to date.

“Upgrade from the standpoint of broadband, do the things that make our parks more, you know, in demand for people to come to and everything. But we are all over that from the standpoint of the broadband initiative that we’re doing right now. We are going to cover up the state with broadband in the right, next very few years,” said Justice.

Governor Justice explained that there are many outdoor recreational opportunities in the state with the vast streams, lakes, and forested areas.

“We have so much to be proud of in West Virginia. We need to be carrying our heads so high and be so proud of who we are. We don’t need to be in a race with Mississippi on who is going to be dead last and 50th in the country. Really and truly, what we need to do is continue to shine, bring people to our state, and absolutely all those that are at home they don’t need to walk with their head tilted down, they need to walk proudly,” said Justice.

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