Published January 1973 — Download PDF of the original newspaper column
Byrd's-Eye View By U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd Tourism Wave Beginning to Roll It is frequently said that West Virginia, for its economic future, must develop its recreational and tourism potential. What many may not realize is the extent to which this potential is already being developed. Much more needs to be done, of course; but recent years have seen considerable expansion and improvement of the state's vacation facilities. West Virginia has a very great deal to offer the vacationer now. Most West Virginians can probably name some of the state's major recreational areas. But how many West Virginians realize that our state now boasts the impressive total of 36 state parks and forests? Or that these areas take in a surprising 138,884 acres, ranging from 42 acres at Mont Chateau in Monongalia County to more than 13,000 acres at Coopers Rock in Preston County? The facilities and activities available to the visitor in these and other West Virginia vacation spots not owned by the state-such as Oglebay Park in Wheeling, The Greenbrier at White Su1phur Springs, or the state's vast national recreation and forest areas-run the gamut from golf on championship courses to skiing in winter. This latter sport is now available at no Jess than four places in the state: Oglebay, Canaan Valley in Tucker County, Alpine Lake at Terra Alta, and Chestnut Ridge at Morgantown. There is much more for the visitor to see and do in West Virginia than perhaps even its own citizens realize. There are dozens of festivals, fairs, and special events to attend each year; there are scores of historic and other points of interest to be seen; there is the Cass Scenic Railway to be travelled; and some of the most exciting whitewater boating in the East to tempt the expert and thrill the spectator. There are, in the Northern and Eastern Panhandles, the horses to be played; everywhere there is the state's unsurpassed natural beauty to be enjoyed; and there is camping, hunting, and fishing in the state sufficient to satiate even the most ardent outdoorsman. New motels and restaurants dot the fine highways which increasingly are opening West Virginia to visitors. And luxurious new lodges such as the one at Pipestem Park in Summers County are attracting groups which may never have considered visiting the state before. If tourism is West Virginia's wave of the future, it is already beginning to roll in upon our state.