HILLSBORO, W.Va. – Beartown State Park in Pocahontas County will close temporarily for repairs and improvements beginning Sept 6, according to Park Superintendent Mike Smith. The park traditionally closes for winter at the end of October, but will close early this year so the work can be accomplished before the weather changes.
“Our goal is to have the work list accomplished by the time of our traditional opening in April,” said Smith, who also is superintendent at Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park.
The major portion of the construction will involve replacement of about 350 feet of the wooden boardwalk that has deteriorated in the 25 years since its construction. The 800-foot boardwalk completes a half-mile loop trail through the park’s sandstone rock formations. The remaining portion of the boardwalk is in excellent condition. Due to the rough terrain at Beartown, and also to protect the natural appearance of the area, all materials necessary for the project will have to be moved manually by a very limited work force, which may require several months.
Also, about a dozen trees killed by the hemlock wooly adelgid must be felled due to their proximity to the boardwalk. Some of these are quite large and could create a serious hazard if left to deteriorate naturally. The main entry path has eroded, requiring water bars and a new crushed limestone surface. Aging interpretive signs will be replaced.
“These improvements will help ensure that Beartown State Park will remain a safe and natural haven, a place of restful solitude, and source of natural wonder for visitors needing respite from their multitude of daily concerns,” Smith said.
Beartown is a natural and day-use area with no facilities, but it is a favorite area among state park visitors who enjoy the serene combination of towering hemlocks, the stone pillars, rugged terrain, and extensive boardwalk. It attracts 25,000 to 35,000 visitors annually.
For more information about Beartown State Park, visit www.beartownstatepark.com.