Spring nature hikes are among popular activities available at West Virginia State Parks and Forests. (Photo Courtesy of the West Virginia Department of Commerce)
Spring wildflower walks, birding programs and quiet cabin settings are spring tonics at West Virginia’s State Parks and Forests. Many spring-related events, programs and discounts are available to visitors in April and May.
A mid-week cabin rental promotion that reduces costs and recognizes the amazing quiet of mountainous West Virginia appeals to travelers looking for fewer distractions. Fifteen parks and forests offer a 20 percent discount mid-week from dates in April through May 2014.
“Migration of birds is an April-through-May anticipation,” said Sissie Summers, programming coordinator with West Virginia State Parks. “Winter feeders have hosted cardinals, juncos, various woodpeckers and more; but in spring, the treetops burst with song as migrants return. Songbirds and warblers returning from their winter locations create excellent bird watching opportunities statewide.”
A banding program at Tygart Lake State Park May 2-4 and spring bird walks at Prickett’s Fort State Park on three separate Saturdays are some of the nature-based activities scheduled. Spring wildflower walks showcase the vast numbers of species that can bee seen in spring. Kanawha State Forest and Chief Logan State Park offer excellent hikes. Special events and nature-based activities are posted on the State Park calendar of events at www.wvstateparks.com
Beginning Memorial Day weekend (May 24, 2014) through August, special entertainment and educational programs are scheduled at West Virginia State Parks. Pipestem Resort State Park’s outdoor amphitheater has a full schedule of evening programs that start at 8 p.m. The admission is $6 with some evening programs at no charge. For the first time, the park is offering a Summer Season Pass that includes all shows and also allows the pass holder can bring a friend or guest at no additional charge. Other parks with amphitheater programs in the summer include Chief Logan State Park, North Bend State Park, and Prickett’s Fort State Park.
Campgrounds in West Virginia’s state parks and forests typically open mid-April through October. Online reservations are available at Pipestem Resort and Beech Fork state parks. Other areas have an application process or phone reservations for reservable sites from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.
Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park, the only West Virginia state park that is a river island, opens for the season May 1. Access to the island is via the sternwheeler Island Belle. Blennerhassett Island is located in the Ohio River near Parkersburg. This island features special events such as Brunch with Margaret and Mansion by Candlelight. Horse-drawn wagon rides are some of the activities groups and individuals enjoy when they come to the island. www.blennerhassettislandstatepark.com
Cass Scenic Railroad State Park gears up for the 2014 season with Rail Fan Weekend May 16-18, 2014. The popular event is dedicated to train enthusiasts and photographers. Advance registration and payment required. Train season begins a week earlier in 2014 at Cass Scenic Railroad with the first trains departing for Whittaker Station a 1 p.m. Tuesday, May 20. A full schedule is posted online at www.cassrailroad.com
or call 304-456-4300.