Watoga State Park and Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park along with Calvin Price State Forest became West Virginia’s first International Dark Sky Parks. These special places join an elite group of communities, parks, reserves, sanctuaries, and planned developments that have met the program’s rigorous standards. The name Watoga actually comes from the Cherokee word for “starry waters.” Since their dark sky designation in 2021, these public lands have drawn amateur and professional astronomers and photographers who enjoy the quiet and clear skies.
But the peace and tranquility we get from these remote parks and forests are in jeopardy, as are our other state parks and forests throughout the state. The Senate Outdoor Recreation Committee was considering provisions that would open our state forests, such as nearby Cal Price, and possibly other state lands to off-road vehicles.
With off-roading would come all the noise, mud, dust, and damages to our streams and habitats, not to mention disruption of the peaceful nature and dark skies that these areas offer. Anyone who values the peace and serenity offered by our state public lands in the Nature’s Mountain Playground – looking up at the night sky in wonder, listening to the birds and wind rustling the leaves – should thank our Senator Deeds who serves on the Senate Outdoor Recreation Committee and voted to keep off-road vehicles out of special places like Calvin Price, Watoga, and Droop.
Greenbrier River Watershed Association