GRAFTON, WV – Tygart Lake State Park’s new Adventure Lake is officially open to the public, following a ribbon-cutting ceremony held Tuesday with State officials.
West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Director (WVDNR) Stephen McDaniel, Department of Tourism Secretary Chelsea Ruby, State Parks Chief Brad Reed, Tygart Lake State Park Superintendent Jim Browning, and ACE Adventure Resort Chief Financial Officer Paul Buechler participated in the ribbon-cutting.
“Governor Justice and the the rest of us are so excited for some of the wonderful things that are getting ready to happen this summer at Tygart Lake,” Director McDaniel said. “This addition to the park is a collaboration. It’s a public and private partnership, and one of the things that the Governor loves to see is when we go out and we involve people in the community; the entrepreneurs, the experts that know how to put stuff on.”
The Adventure Lake, made possible by a partnership between the West Virginia State Parks system and ACE Adventure Resort, features 25 slides, obstacles and other inflatables, as well as a sandy beach area with lounge chairs. Tickets are now on sale at WVstateparks.com and cost $16 for an all-day pass and $12 for a half-day pass. The lake has capacity limits and day-of tickets will be limited, so guests are encouraged to book reservations in advance. It will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Half-day pass session times are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. All participants must wear a life jacket and complete a waiver form to enter.
“I want to thank Governor Justice…and everyone who has been so helpful to make this happen,” Buechler said. “I truly believe that, with the investment being made in state parks to upgrade them, as well as adding activities – people want to do something when they come to a state park or when they go on vacation – the State is really setting itself up to have world-class adventure resorts.”
This is the latest of several enhancements at Tygart Lake State Park. Recent improvements include $3 million in upgrades to the park’s cabins, campground and lodge, which are expected to be completed this summer. Additionally, more than $100 million in major improvements have been completed or started at every state park and forest over the past four years.
“I want to say thank you to our Governor because we are in the middle of a State Park evolution,” Chief Reed said. “The overwhelming majority of it has happened over the past four years. That’s a direct credit to our Governor.”
“All the innovation and things that we are bringing, not only to the good folks here of Taylor County, but also across the state, I’m very happy to be a part of it,” Chief Reed continued.
During the grand opening ceremony, it was also announced that year-to-date online reservations at West Virginia State Parks increased by 119% compared to the same timeframe in 2019, despite four park lodges being closed for renovations. So far this year, online reservations have brought in more than $4.5 million in revenue, an increase of $2.68 million compared to the same timeframe in 2019.
“If you think about four years ago when Governor Justice got here, the first thing he said is ‘We’ve got to play in the big leagues.’ So he said that we were going to triple the advertising budget,” Secretary Ruby said. “We did that and we started playing in the big leagues; we started competing with the states around us.”
“We had all-time record-breaking attendance in our state parks last year. We blew every record out of the water, and this was coming off of three years of a 20% increase in revenue, and we started blowing out those records, so it has been an amazing amazing ride,” Secretary Ruby continued. “And I’m here to tell you I think we’re just at the beginning of this. Every survey that has been done on travel and tourism in the U.S., they all say one thing, and that’s that people want to be outside; they want to be in the great outdoors and we all know that we’ve got the best playground in the U.S., so I’m thrilled for what the future holds.”
For more information about the Adventure Lake at Tygart Lake State Park, visit WVstateparks.com/tygart-adventure-lake.
About West Virginia State Parks
West Virginia’s state parks and forests are the vacation destination of choice for more than 7 million people each year. Made up of 35 parks, 9 forests and two rail trails, the West Virginia State Parks system provides endless opportunities for family fun and adventure. Make memories that last forever. Book your adventure at WVstateparks.com.
West Virginia State Parks is managed by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, a division of the West Virginia Department of Commerce.