State unveils travel guides and improvements to Hawks Nest

West Virginia officials have unveiled collectible travel guides at the Hawks Nest lodge. (Photo courtesy W.Va. Dept. of Commerce)

West Virginia officials unveiled the state’s new vacation guide and road map for 2022 this week during a ribbon cutting at Hawks Nest State Park on the New River Gorge in Ansted, West Virginia. .

Governor Jim Justice was joined by Brett McMillion, Director of the Department of Natural Resources, and Chelsea Ruby, Secretary of the Department of Tourism to unveil the guide.

Instead of the traditional one-copy guide, the ministry publishes a four-part guide that should be collectible.

Justice, Ruby and McMillion also celebrated with a ribbon cutting to unveil the $5 million in upgrades to Hawks Nest Pavilion and more than $2 million in upgrades to its museum.

Improvements include new landscaping, a new lobby, new reception, new public restrooms and a new outdoor swimming pool with a children’s pool. The lodge rooms have been renovated with new furniture and wheelchair accessibility has been expanded.

Ruby hailed the guide and map as one of the most important tools in the state’s tourism suite. Ask for copies of the vacation guide.

“About 10 years ago, the vacation guide looked like a yearbook,” Ruby said. “The state wasn’t investing. And I’ll never forget that one of the first things the governor said was, ‘We have to do better than that.

“Two years ago, we made a flipbook. Last year we did the 50th Anniversary Special Edition “Country Roads”. And this year, we’re thrilled to become the first state in the country to publish a collection of guides instead of just one.

The four guides each highlight different aspects of what makes West Virginia one of the nation’s top vacation and travel destinations.

  • The Natural Wonders guide features stunning landscapes easily displayed – from rushing waterfalls to mountain views, lush forests, caves and starry skies.
  • The Outdoor Recreation Guide focuses on the vast amount of outdoor activities and public lands found in the Mountain State.
  • The Mountain Culture coin creates a sense of place and showcases the authentic flavors, art and heritage of the Mountain State.
  • The collection also includes a fourth guidebook to the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, detailing the park’s history, recreation opportunities and surrounding mountain towns.

Each of the vacation guides features QR codes that expand on the published articles and provide online access to exclusive content and travel inspiration from hundreds of tourism businesses across the state.

This special travel series was produced in partnership with Dotdash Meredith, one of the leading publishers of major brands such as People, Martha Stewart Living, Shape, Better Homes & Gardens and more.

As part of the partnership, more than 100,000 West Virginia vacation guides will be included with subscriber copies of Southern Living and Real Simple magazines to encourage travel to the mountain state.

Justice and Ruby also gave travelers a sneak peek at the all-new 2022 Road Map, which features all of West Virginia’s state parks and forests, as well as important traveler information, must-see stops, and back roads. scenic spots to travel all of West Virginia.

“It’s also something the governor pushed us on,” Ruby said. “He wanted it to be a memento – a collector’s item – and together with our friends at the West Virginia Highways Division, we created an absolutely beautiful map.”

McMillion took to the podium at the event to celebrate major improvements at Hawks Nest State Park.

“This facility had been inactive for many, many years. It deserved a lot of attention, and our governor responded,” McMillion said.

“What a centerpiece we have here now. These restorations will serve West Virginia for years and years.

The upgrades are part of $151 million in improvement projects completed or begun at every state park and forest in West Virginia since Justice took office, McMillion said.

“Governor Justice’s commitment to our entire park system gives us the opportunity to create great memories for people for generations to come, and it doesn’t stop at Hawks Nest. Next door at Babcock State Park, we’ve invested $1.8 million in cabins and infrastructure,” McMillion said.

“I cannot thank the Ministry of Tourism enough for the work it does in connection with us at the DNR. The things we all do together are amazing.

The governor thanked his team and everyone involved with state tourism for their efforts, which have boosted the state’s visibility as a travel destination.

“We’ve invested and all of a sudden you turn around and there’s money on money coming our way,” Justice said.

“All of a sudden this state is now known far and wide as the diamond in the rough that everyone missed.”

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