Kumbrabow State Forest

Wow this week we celebrated Father’s Day on Sunday and the first day of summer on Tuesday.  The first day of summer is a day I look forward to but also dread at the same time.  I love summer and everything that comes along with it the longer days the warmer weather and getting out in nature and enjoying all the greenery.  However, with the first day of summer also means the days are slowly getting shorter and leading us up to the winter months when things are miserable and cold and the places I love to visit are shut down for the year.  Anyways today’s topic is about a little state forest that is near my parents that we would always go visit for a little picnic on hot days because it always seemed so much cooler there.  I have a lot of memories from camping, playing in the creek, having a picnic with my dad, mom, and brother, or family gets together with my mom’s side of the family.

Kumbrabow State Forest is located outside of the town of Huttonsville, WV.  The Forest itself is not the biggest Forest in WV, however, it is 9,474 acres of forest.  The Forest elevation ranges from 3,000 feet above sea level at the lowest point and 3,930 feet above sea level at the highest point.  This gives the forest the title of the state’s highest forest.   The forest was acquired in 1934 with the help of three prominent families the Kumps, the Bradys and the Bowers, which is where the forest got it the unusual name.

The forest is managed by the multiple-use concept which helps provide recreation and watershed protection while allowing the state to practice the principles of forestry and wildlife management.  The forest has a diverse habitat of black bear, turkey, deer, grouse, and even bobcat sightings.  The State Forest facilities include fully equipped pioneer cottage and cabins, campsites, bathhouse, and picnic areas.

The cabins located in the forest were built in the late 1930’s by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and feature stone fireplaces, wood burning kitchen stoves, gas lights, and refrigerators.  The cabins no running water and like the other facilities in the forest make use of pit toilets (also known as outhouses) and hand pump wells for water.  The cabins come equipped with cooking utensils, dishes, flatware, bed linens, towels and outdoor charcoal grills.  You can rent the cabins from the second Friday in April to the first week of December.

Camping is available at the Mill Creek Campground there are 13 sites available for use for camping.  The sites are rented on first come first serve basis and only one tent or trailer is allowed per site.  However, families may have one or two small tents in addition to the main unit.  Please note though that if you have a trailer larger than 20 feet you may have trouble finding a suitable site.  The sites feature picnic tables, fireplace, pit toilets facilities, hand pump well for drinking water

The picnic area features picnic tables, fireplaces, hand pump wells for drinking water pit toilets, playground equipment, and pavilions that are available for daily rental.

The forest also features 8 different trails ranging from a ½ mile long to 3 ½ miles long and a small waterfall below the cabins called Mill Creek Falls.

 

 

 

Blackwater Falls State Park

Hope everyone had a wonderful week last week.  This heat is really starting to get to me but my favorite things about this time of year are the Lightning Bugs (aka Fireflies) and the Thunderstorms.  I have always loved thunderstorms and some of my best memories are sitting on our front porch back home with my parents watching them.  Oh, the good old days when I had no responsibilities but school.  😦

Before we start today’s topic I would like to wish all the Fathers, men who have stepped in to be Fathers a Happy Fathers Day.

Today’s topic is about one of the state parks in the great state of West Virginia that I love to visit.   Blackwater Falls State Park is in Davis, WV in Tucker County.  The main fall stands 62 feet and is the largest fall in the state of West Virginia.  The name of the parks is for the falls of the Black Water River.  The water has an amber color to it and after plunging five stories from the main fall travels through an 8-mile-long gorge.  The amber water color the park is known and named after comes from the tannic acids from fallen hemlock and red spruce needles.  The park itself protects 2,358 acres of forest.  There is a trail to this fall along with a boardwalk and steps down to several landings near the falls.

The park features many nature trails along with wheelchair-accessible trails.  One of the main overlooks in the park is Lindy Point located near the park lodge.  The park also features several other smaller falls on Falls Run which is a multi-ledge 30-foot drop.  Shay Run which features the Elakala Falls which drop 40 feet and are also located near the lodge.  The Pendleton Run Falls have a 20-foot drop plus cascades above and below.  These falls are accessible by trail.  As many times, as I have been to this wonderful park I have only been to the Elakala Falls and the Blackwater Falls.

The park began in the early 1930s with various leases and donations to the state from the West Virginia Power and Transmission Company, which owned most of, the canyon.  The first lease began in 1934 and established 446 acres overlook at the head of the canyon which featured the mains falls itself.    In 1937 the park was formally established as a State Park, and the rest of the 1, 912 acres were donated in 1953 and 1955 by the power company, the US Forest Services donated 744 acres in 1957 and the last donation of 100 acres from Allegheny Wood Products was received in 2000.  The rest of the property was purchased by two state Governors 2000 the West Virginia Governor Cecil Underwood purchases 25 acres and added it to the state park along the second governor Bob Wise buying an additional 500 acres to add to the park in 2002.

Up until the mid-1950s the park was day-use only and in 1955-56 25 cabins were constructed, a fishing/skating lake was built.  In 1957 the park lodge which features 55 rooms was opened.  By 1960 the park was seeing annual visitor numbers around 240,000 with 18,000 staying overnight.  The lodge is still in service today along with 39 cabins, 65 campsites, a restaurant, picnic areas, pavilions, and a Nature Center.  Other activities found in the park are mountain biking, cross-country skiing, Hiking, and Fishing in Pendleton Lake and Blackwater River.

The park is a perfect place to capture your fall photos, and if I am ever brave enough I would love to get out to the park in the winter for some snow photos.  In the spring you can capture the Mountain Laurel and Rhododendron blooming.

Hope you enjoyed this little history lesson on this state park.  I know I enjoyed learning a lot about the park in my research.  You never realize what went in to make such a wonderful place to visit and take things for granted.  I know I do.  Hope you have a wonderful day and would love to hear from you.

Swallow Falls State Park

Hope everyone is having a fantastic weekend.  The weather here has been wonderful the past few days.  Although it is starting to get a little too hot for my liking.  If I could live some place that was 75 degrees year round I would.  😊

For this week’s blog post we are going to be traveling outside the wonderful state of West Virginia and we will be traveling to Garrett County in Maryland.    There is a state park that is not too far from the West Virginia Stateline called Swallow Falls State Park.  The park is located around 9 miles north of Oakland MD.  The drive from West Virginia to the park is a very lovely drive especially once you hit the Deep Creek area and drive past the lake.

The park was donated in 1906 by John and Robert Garrett of Baltimore and is 1, 917 acres, and includes the areas that became Swallow Falls and Herrington Manor state parks.  Both parks were developed in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps.  I have yet to visit the Herrington Manor state park.

 

The Muddy Creek fall located in the park is the highest free-falling waterfall in the state standing at 53 feet.  The Muddy Creek Falls are similar to the falls at Blackwater Falls State Park in WV so much so that sometimes I must look at the dates to figure out which park they are from.  The few times I have visited it is not unusual to see people swimming near or under the various falls in the park.  The Muddy Creek Falls are accessible at the top and people do walk across it when the water levels are not too high.  The park features three other falls, the Upper and Lower Swallow Falls, and the Toliver Falls. This park is also noted for its stand of old hemlock trees, some more than 300, years old and are considered the last stand of its kind in Maryland.  I would recommend you visiting this park to see these wonderful trees before they are killed out from the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid which is wrecking havoc on the Hemlock trees in the surrounding states.  The park also contains campsites, a picnic area, as well as a mile-long hiking trail around the falls, and a 5.5-mile trail for hiking and mountain biking.

 

I love going to this park and walking the trail, the beauty of nature, the relaxing atmosphere and the wonderful sound of water running.  Make this the perfect place to go and unwind from a stressful week, and become one with nature again.  Spending time at each falls gives a person time to reflect and think about things in life.

 

I have only been there during the spring and I would love to get out there this fall and winter to see what kind of photos I can capture.  I love being out in nature and I love waterfalls and this place ticks off both of those for me.  So if you are ever in the area stop by and visit the park.

 

Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park

Hope everyone is having a wonderful Sunday.  Been a busy week for me with work, and then spending all day Saturday at an amusement park and, I am a bit worn out and sore today.  Anyways I am going to give a little bit of background on a State Park my family has visited several times.  We always stop by and see the overlook and typically have a picnic there.  It is a very peaceful area even though the history has not always been that way.

Droop Mountain Battlefield is in Hillsboro, WV north of Lewisburg, WV.  The battle of Droop Mountain occurred on November 6, 1863, during the American Civil War.   To give a little background West Virginia was admitted to the Union as a state on June 20, 1863, due to Virginia and the South succeeding from the Union.  The Confederate army lead by John Echols was attacked on Droop Mountain by Federal forces lead by W.W Averell when the Federal troops were trying to ruin Confederate railways.  Droop Mountain was one of the largest engagements in West Virginia during the war.   Once the battle reached a violent breaking point, many of the Confederate soldiers fled for safety retreating to Virginia and throwing away their arms during the retreat.  The Federal forces pursued until dark and captured many prisoners and gained many arms, ammunition, and materials.

The Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park is an official Civil Ware Discovery Trail site and was purchased by the state in 1928 and dedicated on July 4, 1929, as a memorial to the casualties of the battle.  During the depression, the Civilian Conservation Corps built a Museum, and lookout tower in the 1930’s.  All which are still available to the public.  The park features Playgrounds, Picnic areas with shelters, hiking trails, a Cannon, and Confederate Graves.

The park features a re-enactment of the famous Civil War battle and is held in alternating years complete with small skirmishes, lady’s social, and period worship service.  There have also been reports of ghost and voices from the Civil War period.  There have been reports in the more recent years that include people stating they have heard galloping horse and seen headless Confederate specters.  One year after uploading my photos I had a few minutes of my hair standing up on my neck.  I am not sure how much I believe in ghosts but some of the pictures I captured seems to convenience me that there may be some truth to these stories.

If you are ever in the area check the park out.  It is fun to see the beauty of nature but also learn some of the histories of our Nation.  Not all history is good, but it helps us remember where we come from and hopefully will help us to never get to this point again.