Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

July 2, 2012

Tazewell officials eye state park designation to boost tourism

NORTH TAZEWELL, Va. — Officials in Tazewell County are looking to get a state park designation for a local recreation area in the hopes of cultivating more tourism, economic development and interest in the Spearhead Trail system.

Tazewell County Administrator Jim Spencer said the county attempted to get a state park designation for Cavitt’s Creek Park almost a decade ago, but were turned down. With new and planned improvements on the horizon for the park, Spencer said he feels the park is now an even stronger candidate for becoming a state park.

“We wrote letters and the board issued a resolution nine years ago trying to get the state to consider that as a state park,” Spencer said. “We were turned down, but we would like to pursue getting a state park designation for Cavitt’s Creek. The park itself is 164 acres and has a 54-acre stocked lake, nine full-service camping sites with laundry, primitive camping with bathhouse and shower house. It would be a great boost for our economic development and tourism to get that designation as a state park. Getting the state involved would help bring more tourism to the state park.”

Spencer said county officials are beginning process of seeking the designation after getting approval from the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors.

“We will be petitioning the state department of parks and recreations,” Spencer said. “We will be doing a similar process to what we did last time. We will get the state to come in and look at it, to see if it would be something they would want to do. Tourism and recreation are a big aspect of economic development. We are just starting the process right now and are taking it from there. We are trying to do some research on everything we need to do to pursue this further. We are going to be learning more about the procedural process. It will take a little bit of time.”

According to Spencer, there are already plans underway for more improvements at Cavitt’s Creek.

“We have a master plan our recreation development authority is working on, looking at seasonal cabins there,” Spencer said. “It’s a beautiful facility. I could envision nothing but great things for it. Part of our master plan is an amphitheater there. We have boat rentals there.”

Additionally, Spencer said a state park would be something new for the area.

“The closet state parks to us are the Breaks Interstate Park on the Buchanan- Dickenson Border and Hungry Mother State Park near Marion, Va.,” Spencer said. “This would be something new for this area. It is a very well utilized park, but this could bring more people to Tazewell County there. I would envision if this becomes a state park the state would be spending more money to enhance the amenities that are already there. This has great potential.”

Northern Supervisor Dr. Tom Brewster said getting a state park designation could also be beneficial for the Spearhead Trail system coming to the counties.

“We recognize with the trail system coming in to Tazewell that certainly having a state park would be beneficial not only to the county’s economic development and tourism but important to attract new visitors and new businesses into the area,” Brewster said. “We certainly feel the improvements and our master plan would assist in earning that designation. I think the ability to draw people into to the area with the trails may also give the state something else to look at.”

Brewster said officials are looking into improve infrastructure at the park as part of the process to garner a state park designation.

“Right now we are looking at doing some expansion work at the park, so this is the perfect opportunity to make another attempt to secure that designation from the state,” Brewster said. “The biggest thing Cavitt’s Creek needs right now is sewer. That has to be looked at as well. These things will aid in the process of getting that designation and benefit the park either way.”

— Contact Kate Coil at

kcoil@bdtonline.com

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