State Parks: Revitalization plan is good for economy

West Virginia is full of natural treasures. Many of them are on display in our state parks and forests. That is why it is good to hear Gov. Jim Justice announce the sale of up to $80 million in excess lottery revenue bonds to pay for repairs, maintenance, and improvements in those facilities.

“We now have concrete plans on the table to do a major modernization of facilities in nearly all of our state parks over the next three years,” the governor said last week.

Good. According to Justice, all 35 of the state’s gorgeous parks, seven state forests and two rail trails will see improvements.

This is not simply gilding the lily. Visitors are far more likely to make return trips if their experiences are comfortable and convenient (as much as possible — three are some rugged, wild places in the Mountain State that simply should not be tamed).

Improved signs and maps — we do not want those unfamiliar with our terrain getting lost, clean modern restrooms, plenty of parking, ADA accessibility and many more enhancements are important. So is an improved online presence, and a streamlined ability for those who wish to spend some time in our parks (and the rest of our state) to plan their trip.

This is another vital piece in the puzzle to help our travel and tourism industry reach its potential for playing a huge role in West Virginia’s transitioning economy.